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.
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.”