Slow news days…

I recognize that it has been a few days since I last blogged, but there hasn’t been much corkscrew news to share.   I have been spending a fair amount of time at the shop, and when not at the shop, I have been working on our house on the mainland.

Yes, if I failed to mention this, a year ago the lovely bride and I put in an offer on a fixer-upper in Rockland, and after the offer was accepted, it took several months to iron out the legal side of things –clear title etc…

And, of course in between running a few businesses, heading off to Europe for corkscrew meetings and the like, every once in a while we would be able to get into the house and do a little work–and it needs a lot of work.

But, we have made progress.  Three of the rooms have been stripped of old plaster, sheet rocked, mudded, and primed. Floors have been sanded and oiled.  New windows installed.    Trim has begun to go up, and we have new electrical and plumbing.

Thus far, in opening up walls, ripping out insulation, clearing out the basement, etc… no corkscrews have been unearthed from the new project.

Not that there haven’t been a few corkscrews acquired via the usual channels; a Rohac Parrot missing his stand, Gemelli Bar Maid, signed Goodyear Patent roundlet.

Still, the construction work has taken over the corkscrew work.

That is until tomorrow.  Tomorrow the lovely and I head down to Portland, and then will be hopping a plane to Toronto.  Visiting the Paradis, the MacLeans, and possibly the Cutajars, there will probably be a corkscrew or two found.  I haven’t planned on taking any tradebait with me, but you just never know.

I will update the blog accordingly, and who knows, we might find a rare and unusual corkscrew on our drive tomorrow…

Stay tuned.



The latest auction

The latest Collector Corkscrews Auction will soon be upon us, and I have been putting together a small group of corkscrews that will be hitting the auction block.

And, since things have been a little slow in the corkscrew news world as of late (and while that can change any minute), I thought I would share some pictures of a few that will be put up for auction in April.

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And, there will be others as well…

The auction always provides a great venue to buy and sell some interesting pieces.

You just never know what rarity will turn up!

Chas. J. Novotny… part II

I should add that the Chas. J. Novotny can opener with corkscrew is the first example of the patent wannabe that I have ever seen in person (now that it is here on the island) and the only example that I had seen previously was in the back of O’Leary’s book.

And, then…

Fellow collector, trading partner, and friend, Bob Gilbride sent an email yesterday with a picture of his example of the patent wannabe can opener.

And, what would you think was the advertisement across the handle?

None other than Chas. J. Novotny–undertaker with a shop full of radios and refrigeration.


Bob’s example, has a green paint, while the one that I just picked up is red.  Anyone have another color with the same advertisement?

I will add, that when I received mine yesterday, the return address was from Clarkson Nebraska, where Chas J. Novotny’s business was located.

Thanks for the email Bob!




Chas J. Novotny

It isn’t that I have completely memorized the images that exist within O’Leary’s tome on American corkscrews…

Perhaps nearly completely…

Okay, probably not completely, but I do have a pretty good idea of what corkscrews exist within the patent section and those that exist within the patent wannabe section–those that were apparently not awarded a patent, but are marked Patent Pending or Patent Applied For, or some variation thereof.

And, the other day one of the patent wannabes, happened to pop up on eBay.  This wasn’t the first time it was up for sale, but the price was dramatically reduced.  And, this time around, it had a buy it now attached to it.

Knowing that I didn’t have it, I quickly clicked the button.

This can opener carries an advertisement for Chas. J. Novotny Furniture and Undertaking…


Furniture and Undertaking…


And, apparently refrigeration…

Frigidaire & Radiola?

And, radios?

It would seem that Chas J. was kind of a one-stop–and perhaps last-stop–business!


The can opener, besides the Novotny ad, is marked DOUBLE ACTION CAN OPENER, CUTS UP OR DOWN,  PAT. APPL’D FOR, GELLMAN MFG. CO.  ROCK ISLAND, ILL


A really neat addition to the can-opener-corkscrew-patent-wannabe collection.




I always wanted to be a wine writer…

When I was in college, studying journalism, my goal was to write about wine.

I know, I was young and naive, and I thought that drinking and writing would make for an interesting, and lucrative, venture.

Of course, I did actually drink wine and write, with some of those stories not really being much about wine, or sometimes being less than coherent, given the amount of wine consumed, but I did put forth a valiant effort.

At least it seemed valiant at the time.

Eventually, I was given a job at a magazine, and I did get to write about things surrounding the wine world, and that brief stint at a wine publication piqued my interest in corkscrews, which I often write about…and, with corkscrews you open wine…and, so…it kind of all worked out, except for the lucrative thing.

Still working on that.

That said, today I found the perfect vintage corkscrew for one who aspired to write about wine, and who will often start an article, with a pad of paper and a pencil rather than simply booting up a laptop.

A mechanical pencil with bottle opener, eraser, and fold out corkscrew.


Now, this mechanical pencil / bottle opener / corkscrew hasn’t made it to the island yet, but this will definitely make a nice addition to the collection–and it may even result in an article about corkscrews, and pencils, and it will probably involve some wine.

Anyone seen a similar piece?  Drop me a line!



Have Trunk Will Travel…

One of the corkscrews that was long on my wishlist was the Anton Trunk patent.  And, I added it to the collection a couple of years ago, and it made my best 6 of the year.


Anton Trunk Patent



It is a pretty awesome corkscrew, and one of my faves.

This afternoon, a seller on eBay listed an example of the Trunk patent with a whopping buy it now of 45 dollars.

No, I wasn’t the one to get it, but wow, was that a deal!


Now, from the description, it seems like the worm is loose, and it does look that there may be a crack that is contributing to that looseness, and the worm looks to be short, but still, this is a very rare thing that was gotten for a steal.

Congrats to whomever clicked first!

On another corkscrew note, the Frary that was mentioned the other day arrived, and it will soon be added to the Frary page!


For those wondering, the worm is actually a little off center.  It was drilled incorrectly in manufacturing.  It isn’t an optical illusion.   A welcome addition to the Frary collection!


Over the recent months another collector-friend and I have been exchanging corkscrew images and making a few trades.

It then occurred to me that given neither of us have ever visited each others’ respective collections in person that maybe we should take a few group shots and send photos to each other.

And, soon enough the pictures were being exchanged.

It never ceases to amaze what unusual pieces will turn up in another person’s collection.  Yes, there are lots of similar pieces that we will both have, but inevitably in that other collection there will be a corkscrew (or corkscrews) that you have never seen before, never been able to handle, or never had the opportunity to acquire.

As the photos went back and forth, there were many corkscrews that I would love to add to the collection, and I assume the aforementioned trading friend would feel similar.  The two “hard to find” pieces that I really wanted are not available–not to my surprise, but I asked anyway.

There was one piece that I did inquire about, and the response was promising.

He could be persuaded…

Of course, the advantage in getting a glimpse of another person’s collection, is not only do you get to see what they do have, you get to see what they might not have.

Let the trading commence!

So, we started with my offer of the integrated handle Curley (the recent acquisition) for a few corkscrews and cash.  The cash being the sticking point in the beginning.

Well, that and I also asked for the two hard to find pieces to be thrown in.

You gotta try…right?

As we went back and forth, via messenger, we tossed out questions about this and that.  More photos were sent.  And, more photos were sent. Clarification would be sought, and in the end–not that this is the end as there surely will be more trades to be made–a deal was struck.

So, why #22 you ask?

Well, amongst the corkscrew collection was a single Frary corkscrew with the tell-tale decorative handle, but in this instance a direct pull.


And, the Frary is part of the trade (with several corkscrews changing hands) and will make the 22nd variation of a Frary corkscrew in the collection.

Thanks for the trade!  Your collection is awesome!