Underhay Oil…

Ten years ago, Don Bull published a story from Mark Woodard about his new discovery; that of a Underhay Oil corkscrew, which was a new discovery from the back of O’Leary (or  BOO as we affectionally refer to it).  The patent was an A.W. Stephens patent for a cigar perforator.  You can read about Mark’s discovery here.

Now, the Stephens is definitely rare.  Shortly after Mark’s piece was published on Don’s site.  Barry Taylor submitted a photo of his Stephens.  And, beyond those two, no others had turned up.  And, not for a lack of trying to find them.  Whenever a Clough sheath turns up on eBay, I give it a second look.  And, whenever I see them laying at a booth whilst hunting, I am sure to check.

That constant checking finally paid off a few years ago, when I managed to find a Stephens patent at Brimfield.  This one is an advertisement for John the Shoeman…for those that missed that blog, you can read it here.



The Stephens made my best 6 for that year!


Still, I keep looking at each Clough when I am out hunting.  And on occasion, when the sheath looks correct* on an online listing, I will message the seller and ask if there is a little spike in the hollowed out end opposite where the corkscrew is inserted.

I will add here, that regardless of how I try to word that question about the would-be-Stephens, it is usually met with a little confusion on what I am asking about.

And, the fact is that for all of the asking, not that there is a lot of asking, no one to this point has said, “Yes.”

Recently however, a seller on eBay listed a wooden sheath corkscrew that looked more than correct.  In fact, it had the marking of Underhay Oil on the sheath.  Well, more accurately, the seller said it was marked Underhay Oil as the images didn’t really show any markings.  And, they were blurry at that.


With a buy it now of a pretty fair price, was it worth taking a chance?  Would a company that advertised on a Stephens patent also advertising on a Clough?

Fortunately, the seller also referenced that it read A.W. Stephens…

Okay…all these things would suggest that it is the Cigar Perforator patent with corkscrew…except, the year the seller was giving wasn’t correct; mentioning 1906.

Now it is entirely possible that the right date of 1908 was just hard to make out, but as one would see above, the pictures weren’t really clear.  Given that everything else looked correct, I went for it.

It arrived on the island today.

And, wouldn’t you know it, there is a little spike in the hollowed out end opposite where the corkscrew is inserted.


And, there is indeed the correct patent date…


A nice addition to the collection!


*But, what do you mean by looking correct Josef?

For those of you wondering, if you have a Clough corkscrew with wooden sheath, when you look at the piece in profile, you will note that the end (opposite where the corkscrew is inserted) is usually chamfered; having a slightly rounded edge before coming to the end, whereas the corkscrew side does not have that chamfer.

chamfered copy


On the Stephens, it lacks that chamfer on the end of the sheath, with both ends of the sheath being at a right angle.  Lacking that chamfer doesn’t mean it is going to definitely be the Stephens patent, but it is something to look for…before you ask, “Is there is a little spike in the hollowed out end opposite where the corkscrew is inserted.”



Mr. Nobis, I presume…

From the February 3, 1907 issue of The Houston Post


Combination Stopper Extractor, Cork-screw and Pocketknife

Ever since the crown cork has been in use there has been a demand for a conveniently carried appliance with which to open it. To fulfill the want there has recently been invented by a Philadelphia man a combination stopper extractor, corkscrew and pocketknife. Its man varied uses are shown in the accompanying illustration. In endeavoring to remove the crimped metal corks with table knives of other articles injuries to the hands or fingers often result. The pocketknife portion of the implement consists of one blade. For extracting ordinary corks a common corkscrew is provided. One part of the device can also be used to open bottles having the enameled stopper, with wire to close it. The greatest usefulness is in the ease with which the patent stoppers at present in use can quickly be removed. The device



is just as convenient to carry in the pocket and as compact as the ordinary pocketknife, while its operation is simplicity itself.


And, who was this man from Philadelphia that came up with this stopper extractor?  That would be Frank Paul Nobis, whose was awarded patent number 825,929 on July 17, 1906 (some three years after his filing).


The F.P. Nobis a tough corkscrew to find, and only a few have turned up. Fortunately, one that recently found its way into TWJ’s hands, will soon be added to our collection.


An advertising piece for the “American Cork and Seal Co.” I had to trade away a few good things to get it, but it will be a nice addition to the American corkscrew patent collection, and very well could make the best 6 for the year.


Thanks for the trade Tipped Worm Johnny!

Kinsey Knight Part II

3 years ago, I blogged about a Syroco Knight corkscrew that had turned up on eBay with a steal of a buy it now at $125.00.

What was interesting about this particular corkscrew, besides the fact that it was the Syroco Knight, was that it came with what the seller described as the original box. And, it came with a business card for Kinsey as well.


You can read that blog entry here.

And, why are you revisiting this Josef?, you might be asking yourself.

Over the last day or so, another boxed Kinsey Knight corkscrew has turned up.  This one als0 on eBay, but sans the great buy it now price.

While we know that this is definitely a Syroco Golden Knight, it looks like the Kinsey Distilling Corporation of Linfield,  Pennsylvania makers of Linfield Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Maywood Brand Straight Rye Whiskey, and Kinsey Blended Whiskey (or perhaps Jim W. Frazier of Seattle Washington (as a representative for Kinsey Distilling Corporation) was giving these out as a presentation piece.


Of course, with another Kinsey knight turning up on eBay (here is the listing)


how could I not do a little more research?  With two boxed examples found, there has to be a connection between Kinsey and Syroco.

And, what would turn up…but an advertisement for Kinsey Silver Whiskey

And, more importantly, Kinsey Gold.


A pretty striking resemblance…





Back from Brimfield

Yes, it is that time of year again.  Starting the second Tuesday in May, the Brimfield Antiques Show attracts collectors and dealers from all over the world.

This year, we rented a house again within relative proximity to the show, and the lovely personal personal trainer and I were joined by our friend AA and Tommy.

AA and the lovely drove down together.  I drove down earlier to drop off P-Doggy to be boarded, and then headed to Hartford to pick up Tommy who was flying in.

With everyone arriving safely, it was time for a bit of wine, catching up, and a little corkscrew show and tell.

On the first morning, Tommy and I got up early, and headed out.  And, after a few hours of hunting, I got a message from Tommy about a “score!”   This was followed by another message,  “Major Score!”  Wondering what it was, he shortly sent a picture; a miniature pair of legs with mother of pearl scales.  Wow!  And, with a whopping price of 35 dollars–I had no doubt he talked the seller down–it surely would be the find of the show.

It goes that way at Brimfield.  There are lots of interesting pieces that we can pick up, but almost always there is one standout piece that shows up.  A Tucker, Chippendale, Sperry, the Stephens patent, a Kummer for 15 dollars, Satyr legs for a song, a Geissen, signed Henshall patent: these have all turned up.  And, this time around it was Tommy’s turn to get the piece of the show.

Congrats TC!

Of course, there were many other corkscrews that were acquired over the last few days.

On the first day, I had picked up a couple of direct pulls, and was super excited for Tommy. And, as we entered one of the fields, I was going through a booth and saw a small grouping of corkscrews; all in decent shape. After asking about them, the dealer responded with the fact that he knew nothing about them, and hoped his prices seemed fair.  I selected a couple of them, and said he was pretty spot on.

He further explained that he had just found a small collection, and when I asked if he had any more, he reached into his truck and retrieved an entire box of them.

Going through the box, I picked out a couple of pieces, and he explained he left the mechanical ones at home.  And, he promised to send pictures at the end of the show.

Nothing really rare within the box, except he did have the Rudy Dolberg Weinke patent–with the American patent date.  I have owned this piece in the past, but gave it up to a German collector a couple of years ago, as he didn’t have this variation.  Weinke’s do turn up pretty frequently, but with the American patent date, not so much.


About this time, my phone rang…actually as I was peeling off a few bills to give to the dealer, and while two friends came up behind me, my phone rang.  It was the lovely who had found an old factory cart that we had been looking for for the wine shop.


(For those wondering, the wine shop is rather small, and I wanted an old industrial cart that would serve as a place to stack wine for display, but it would also give me the ability to roll the display out of the way when we host wine tastings.  And, I wanted that old industrial look–that said, the prices on these are pretty high at Brimfield and the like, the lovely found this one for about a third of what they were selling for at other fields within the show).

So, for the rest of the day, I was pushing a cart around from booth to booth.

After we exhausted the field, we said goodbyes to the various friends that we had met up with over the course of the day, and headed back to the house; only to be joined by BT for dinner later on that evening.

The next day, was another early one, and Tommy and crisscrossed the fields, messaging each other to see where the other way, and were there any finds.  I managed to pick up a couple of odd Anri pieces, and a pretty nice T & C silver overlay piece.

As an aside, over the two days, there was an interesting phenomenon taking place.  On the first day, I happened upon a booth, and the seller had corkscrews; zig zag, flash, Le Presto.  I don’t remember all of his pricing, but he was at about 100 on the Le Presto.  By the time Tommy got to the booth, the price dropped to 50 dollars.  Tommy picked it up.  On the T & C piece, Barry had seen that one earlier in the day, but passed on it.  By the time I got there, that dealer also dropped price by just about 50% of what he was asking earlier.  Price it high and hope, but after getting a couple of collectors to walk away…

After exhausting the various fields on Wednesday, Tommy and I headed off to hit a few antique malls on our way to Springfield where the lovely, AA, Tommy , and I would be meeting friends for dinner.  But, since we are in Springfield, and we had a half hour or so to kill, why not visit the Student Prince for some libations and some corkscrew viewing?

After dinner, we headed back to the house, and over wine had a little show and tell of the days finds.

The next morning was another early one, with Tommy flying out at 6:00 in the morning.  After saying our good byes and dropping him off, I headed back to the house before making the trek back to the show for one more walk around.  Not much at May’s field that morning, but I did manage to fine one of those French eyebrows with mother of pearl inlay.  And, for a nice price.

With the lovely and AA already on their way back to the island, and knowing I have a few hours of driving a head of me, I started making my own way back home.

A fun trip to Brimfield!






The Corkscrew Room

Not too long ago, the lovely personal personal trainer and I decided to dormer out one of the upstairs bedrooms, as in their infinite wisdom the person(s) that built our house some 125 years ago didn’t feel compelled to take advantage of the fabulous view.

So after a bit of discussion, some measuring, a bit of drawing on the wall that would be demolished, and ordering the requisite window to take advantage of the aforementioned view, demo started, construction followed, and it turned out quiet well.


Except, this particular room is adjacent to the guest room–sometimes referred to as Tommy’s room–and we had toyed with taking down that wall and making a rather large guest room, and thus providing a view for the guests…  

Not that there isn’t a view from nearly every room in the house.

Over the recent weeks however, we have been leaning towards keeping the rooms separate, and then the other day, the lovely suggested we turn the newly dormered room into The Corkscrew Room

A room full of corkscrews?

Sounds like an outstanding idea!

Looks like it is time to start choosing paint colors, building cabinets, and finding some appropriate decor…





Pictures to follow as progress is made… and as corkscrews are acquired to fill said corkscrew room.