It saves serious damage to our bottlers who drew the corks by hand and in many instances the heads would break and lacerate their hands,

From the July 15, 1903 issue of American Carbonator and American Bottler:



Here are a few of the endorsements that appear with the advertisement:

Gentlemen:–Enclosed you will fid a check to pay for the Cork Extracting Machine we purchased from you. We risk to say that we are entirely satisfied with every respect. It fulfills every requirement and renders accident from broken bottles almost an impossibility.

Yours respectfully.

Burkhardt Brewing Co.

Thomas J. Sproul, Treas

Dear Sirs:–We have used you National Corkpuller for several months and it is great labor-saving device. It pulls the cork quicker, and more easy than the old style way. It saves serious damage to our bottlers who drew the corks by hand and in many instances the heads would break and lacerate their hands, whereas the corkpuller saves all accidents and liability to the employer.

Frank M Doyle

186 Commercial St.

Gentlemen:–The National Cork Extractor that you sold to us, we have found to come up to our expectation and we would be unable to get along without it in our bottling establishment.

You can use our name in recommending it to anybody, as to us it fills a long felt want in the bottling business.

Yours Truly,

Diet, G.L.W.

Beret & Co.


Underhay II

As mentioned earlier this year, I managed to pick up a wooden sheathed corkscrew marked Underhay Oil.  And, for those of you that are regular readers, I shared with all of you that this particular wooden sheath corkscrew wasn’t a Clough, but was instead an A.W. Stephens patent cigar perforator–one that is pretty rare in the grand scheme of things, with only 3 (and now 4) having been found.


As it happened, 10 years ago when Mark Woodard wrote his article about finding the Stephens patent, shortly thereafter I managed to find a matching advertising corkscrew also patented by Stephens.  This time it isn’t the cigar perforator, but instead the “ALL-WAYS” with the Underhay Oil Advertisement.


I can’t remember if I bought it and sent it to him, or if it was online, and I told him about it.  Either way, I thought it was a neat thing that the Underhay Oil Co, was using two different A.W. Stephens patent corkscrew to advertise their company.

The other day, I found another example, and picked it up.


In nice shape, it has the Underhay Oil ad, as well as the patent information: A.W. STEPHENS MFG. CO. WALTHAM, MASS PAT. APRIL 30, 1901.


Not a rare corkscrew, but a nice companion piece to the Underhay Oil cigar perforator.

Now, as it happened, I sent the Underhay Oil cigar perforator corkscrew to TC, as I already owned the same patent with a different advertisement.  So…what do to with this one.  Throw it in the TC drawer for his next visit?  I am thinking so.

It’s yours TC!

“…the small boy squooshing his nose against a toy shop window grows into a man gazing wistfully at the wondrous contrivances that he’d never buy for himself.”

From the November 21, 1935 Wilkes-Barre Times Leader – Evening News

Gadgets Works Best As Man’s Christmas Gift 

A man’s Christmas morning without gadgets to the right of him and gadgets to the left of is all folly and blunder. So a word to the wives is sufficient to remind them that the small boy squooshing his nose against a toy shop window grows into a man gazing wistfully at the wondrous contrivances that he’d never buy for himself. 


There are marvels to delight the ritualistic hobbyist and surprisingly simple solutions of gift “problems.” Consider the homely coathanger. No longer a thin wooden slat or a shoulder poking wire legacy from the dry cleaner, it is now a scientifically designed device whose wishbone wings hold the coat without damaging the set of shoulders. Painted or plain, they come six in a smart triangular box, and can be monogrammed to make them snitch proof.

 Bridge-hounds on your list will like the new automatic dealer, which speeds up the game. In shape, a miniature cash register, it has a hopper in the rear where a pack of cards is inserted. You turn the crank and in six seconds produce four mathematically shuffled hands. New washable and practically indestructible cards will make the same hit with your friends that they have made with professional players.

 For the Tabacco Addict

Santa Claus must be a great tobaccophile, judging by the number of gifts his gadgeteers have created for the worshipers of the weed. Cyril Gorainoff, noted painter of sporting subject, has decorated a whole line of smoking accessories, from tile-topped leather cigaret boxes to pocket match cases and table lighters. Speaking of automatic lighters the popular flameless flintless one that actually works better in the wind appears in some new models; a key chain combination handsome enough for evening wear, and a cigaret case containing a lighter.

The pipe-smoker who dislikes having his pipes exposed in an open rack will welcome a new one of fine walnut with a closed front and a porcelain lined compartment that holds a pound of tabacco.

For the outdoor, all-weather smoker, there’s the “hurricane pipe, whose closed bowl is guaranteed not to shower sparks like an acetylene torch. The latest model has a grinning golf ball bowl for linksman 

Ways to Please Golfer

Golfers will go ga-ga over the new nub iron, with a 12-inch handle. This short grip is perfectly legal, as the U.S.G.A. says it’s quite O.K. to use for those “impossible” shots. It is also handy to throw garrulous galleries.

Golfers who prefer open-top bags will be delighted with a set of soft leather hoods line with flannel to protect the wooden club heads. A bouquet of four of these is stemmed on a steel spring that holds them taut.

If you want to go to town in a big way for a horseman pal, get him one of the brand new riding crop racks. Gun racks provided the inspiration for this grand gadget made of fine leather with spur steel hooks that are removable for cleaning.

There will be an end to boot wrestling by the horseman to whom you give a “rider’s companion,” a compact pigskin case containing boothooks, jockey lifts and everything needed for donning boots with ease and dispatch.

A hunt-breakfast host who receives a set of beautiful dinner plates, decorated by Gorainoff, will be your friend for life. The set includes twelve different sketches each depicting in color an incident in the life of a foal.

For Fisherman

About all a fisherman needs except tackle, bait and luck seems to be contained in a new angler’s pocketknife. IT has a broad blade, a corkscrew, and such unique features as a pair of scissors and a tiny scale that weighs up to twelve pounds (but takes no affidavits!). 

If you know a bait fanatic who mush have minnows where no minnows grow, make him happy with a few jars of pickled minnows. No relation to vinegary delicatessen herring, these are pickled in brine, and are supposed to be Hot Stuff. The same shop has whole dried grasshoppers in packages.

The ideal gift to a hunter is, of course, a gun. If you can afford that splurge, your Nimrod can profitably practice bulls-eyes with an automatic target which operate like a paper cup dispenser, supplying a fresh colored wafer “pigeon” the instant its predecessor is blown to smithereens.

For duck hunters there’s a closed season reminder of their hobby in a series of metal duck-head paperweights, painted in he natural iridescence of mallard, teal, and red head.

A clever addition to a yachtsman’s flag-locker is the new cocktail flag. A cocktail glass silhouetted in red against a white background is a masthead signal to thirsty friends (and gangway crashers) to organize boarding parties.

First aid to such convivial goings-on is the clever “Hootch-owl” corkscrew and bottle opener. This and a swell French wooden corkscrew have the flat, wide blades that pull a cork with a minimum of effort and no damage.


I would love to add the bladed worm version of the Hootch Owl to the collection…




PAT APL’D FOR can opener with corkscrew


The other day I mentioned an unusual can opener with corkscrew that I picked up on ebay. It recently arrived, and it is indeed pretty cool it is marked on the can opener PAT. APL’D FOR.


As you can see, there is a crack in the handle, but given that neither Barry or John have seen this piece before (we talked about it at the meetings) it was still worth the price of admission.


While I was talking with Barry about the piece, we both thought it looked familiar.

While cracked it doesn’t look broken or missing anything, and we both thought it looked remarkably similar to the can opener with pie crimper on the end.

In examining it closely, there is no breakage at the end of the handle, it is rounded and smooth, but the rest of the piece indeed is a dead ringer for the pie crimper version.

The picture below is from John Morris’ presentation on patent wannabes (updating O’Leary) in 2012 in Chicago at the ICCA AGM.


The search for the patent drawings will continue, and perhaps we will find something on either example.  That said, I would love to add the pie crimper version to the collection.  So, if anyone has this, drop me a line.

Indispensable to the Automobilist, the Householder, the Farmer, the Mechanic-The Layman-everyone!

Several years ago, I picked up a Handy-Man Combination Tool Kit.  An interesting multi-tool, it had a handle which would hold several tools in the handle, and a chuck into which a tool would be attached for use.

This particular tool kit made its way into someone else’s collection, and I have been looking for another one ever since.

Yesterday, a deal was agreed upon for another Handy-Man Combination Tool Kit.

Now, for those of you that are long time readers, I wrote about this back in July of 2010, you may recall that the handle of the tool kit is marked PATS. APPLD FOR  (I am guessing, that would indicate multiple patents were applied for).

It also is due that particular mark, that John Morris included this in his latest O’Leary update–just the other day in Nanaimo.

I have tried multiple times to figure out if a patent was awarded for this piece, but to no avail.  What I have found are two advertisements for it.  One from 1915 and another from 1918, which helps to provide a date of manufacture.




An interesting tool, that was featured in an article by Don Bull in the Winter 2012 issue of The Bottle Scrue Times.  If anyone has any clues as to a patent for this tool kit, it would be greatly appreciated.

CCCC AGM, Union Antiques Fair, and back on the island

The lovely personal personal trainer and I arrived back home on Saturday, and have been catching up with things that last few days.

The CCCC meeting was fabulous, but it really started a day early with several of us hopping a seaplane from Nanaimo to Vancouver.


After landing in Vancouver, and hopping in a taxi, soon enough we found ourselves on Granville Island.

Interesting to note, that we had the exact same room the last time we were in Vancouver for the CCCC AGM in 2005.


Given we had a bit of time that first day, we spent the afternoon meandering around Granville Island, and of course this would include a trip to the market there–how could you not want one of the sausage?


The following day, we headed off to Kitsilano for a bit of exploring.  Breakfast at Sophie’s was excellent, and dodging a bit of rain, we put in a fair amount of miles checking out the environs.

After our walking adventure, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our registration information, and to get ready for the reception to follow.


It was quite fun to see old friends!

The opening night reception, held in the hotel, was followed by dinner on your own.  We headed over to Cat’s Social with a small group and had a fabulous time.

The next morning was the buy and sell, followed by the auction.  And, as was the theme at the ICCA meeting, there were lots of corkscrews changing hands.

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Following the buy sell and auction (and lunch, and Earl’s which on Wednesdays happens to be half price wine day), we headed over to the Corkscrew Inn and Wayne and Sal’s for a corkscrew viewing, wine and cheese, and a demonstration of Wayne’s steam engine corkscrew.

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Earlier in the day, I had spoken to Wayne about corkscrews and the like, and mentioned that I should go through his junk box; not that there were any junk boxes laying around the house.  Still, I did ask him where his duplicates/surplus was, and he explained in two drawers in the shop.  I rifled around, and what would appear, but a Twigg and Bateman patent.  With everyone else admiring the fabulous collection, I inquired as to whether this would be available.  Given he had just upgraded on that particular corkscrew, he asked me to make an offer.  I did, he countered, and a deal was done!


And, for the rest of the visit, I carried said Twigg and Bateman around with me–this prompted several other collectors to check out the aforementioned two drawers.

After the W & S visit, we headed back to the hotel, which was then followed by a gala dinner, which was also followed by a little wine in our room.  As mentioned above, we had the same room as 11 years ago, but it is a bit bigger than the other rooms, not that we requested  that it would be.  And, with Tommy’s room actually connecting to ours, the L’Africain room became the location for happy hour the entire time we were in Granville Island–with much of the wine coming from Liberty Wines also located on Granville.

The following morning was the second chance buy and sell, the show and tell, and the official AGM.  Once again, lots of corkscrews changed hands, corkscrews were shown and talked about, and the at the AGM we were given a preview of the upcoming meeting, as well as a bit of information regarding the new CCCC website which is under construction.

After the meeting, it was time for a farewell luncheon, at which time–after a bit of messaging with TC as he had to leave early to catch a plane, it was announced that the 2018 CCCC–if members approve–will be hosted in Portland, Maine by the newest CCCC member Sue L’Africain, myself, and Tommy Campnell.  We will be hosting the ICCA that year, so why not do both : )

As lunch came to a close, there were lots of hugs, handshakes, and good byes.  A fabulous meeting, and we look forward to next year.

The next morning, the lovely and I hopped a plane to Toronto, then another to Boston, and after a bit of driving made our way to a hotel for the evening.  And, after a few errands the next morning, made our way to the Union Antiques Fair.  Not many corkscrews to be had this year, but you just never know what might turn up.

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There was also a broken four pillar king’s rack, that I did pick up.  Not that I really need a broken corkscrew, but at 20 bucks, it was a good conversation piece.


After Union, the lovely and I hopped the boat back to the island.  And, now it is back to personal training and selling wine.  If any other corkscrews turn up, I will report back here.
Stay tuned…

We interrupt these updates from the meetings…

While the fun and frivolity continues, about 10 days ago, an unusual patent applied for can opener was listed on eBay.  The opening bid was a little high, but I have been keeping my eyes on it.

It ended yesterday during happy hour–not that we haven’t been having a continuous happy hour during vacation–and as it happened, I was the high bidder.

An interesting piece, and a nice addition to the collection–it should also make John Morris’ new discoveries or patent wannabe  section should he choose to provide an O’Leary update in the near future.


A cool looking corkscrew/can opener that will require some research once it arrives, or rather when I arrive back on the island to pick it up.

and even more updates…

After a lovely dinner at a local Italian restaurant, and probably a glass of wine at the hotel, we called it an evening.  The following morning was going to be a fun day, as after breakfast we were to board four different busses, and head into the wine country for a bit of tasting.  And, taste we did.


Four different wineries and a cider place were the venues for the tastings, and we had a genuinely good time enjoying the wines.  Meanwhile, Tommy was making friends with our driver and tour guide.


After lots of tasting, a bit of lunch, which was followed by more tasting, we made it back to the hotel–with about an hour before were were going be heading out to dinner.  A great day filled with laughter, followed by a bit of wine and more laughter.

The next morning it was auction time.  And, we during breakfast we dutifully filled out auction forms, and set out our available items.


The auction went well, with most lots selling.  And, there were a couple of bidding wars.  The highest price item was an unusual example of the Lew patent prongs with an atypical bottle opener on the side.

Though Tommy wasn’t involved in this that auction, there were a couple he was after but given he was up against Fotodeal, he lost out; not for a lack of trying, mind you.

As for me, this time around, I was was more of a seller than a buyer.  Still, I was pleased with the results, and it was good to see so many corkscrews changing hands.

Following the auction, there were a couple of presentations; most notably, as Fred O’Leary was in attendance, an update on the patented American corkscrews found in the last few years.  It is also 20 years since the publication of O’Leary’s book, and the first meeting he has attended 2008.


After John Morris’ presentation on American patents, Don Bull presented on Corkers, as well as provided some comic relief.  This was then followed by our AGM.

The AGM had much information, and there were some exciting announcements.  Our 2017 meeting will be held in Mainz, Germany, and Sue and I proposed hosting in Maine for 2018.  Also, there were new officers elected, and the new Right of the ICCA is Barry Taylor, with the new Chief Correspondent Ian Hunter.

Following the AGM, it was a bit of time on your own, which was followed by the annual gala.  Tommy was master of the punch, which was enjoyed by all, and after dinner and conversation there was a bit of music and dancing.  A great time was had by all.

Today, after breakfast and goodbyes and farewells, several of us boarded seaplanes bound for Vancouver–followed by taxi rides to Granville Island, where the CCCC meeting will begin tomorrow.

Tomorrow we will start the festivities, and I will report back here soon enough.  Stay tuned.


And, more updates

Following a brief celebration, having both acquired original Henshalls, amongst other treasures, it was time to get ready for the official DD collection visit, and after everyone was ready, we headed down to board busses over to the house.  A lovely buffet was offered by a local caterer, and Addicts and Go-Withs enjoyed viewing the collection, and looking at some unusual versions of the Thomason (Dave loves Thomasons).




Conversations were had, stories were shared, and the attendees were in a jovial mood.  Corkscrews were retrieved from the cases and examined, and having remembered that Dave had mentioned that he was looking for a Crosby Pup (and having just acquired a second one) I asked about a piece to which he didn’t seem that attached.


Deal done again…

A nice Twigg, it is well marked, and will be a nice addition to the collection.

As the viewing came to a close, and there were a few other corkscrews that exchanged hands at DD’s house, we made it back to the hotel.  Still, early, TC, the lovely, and I headed out to a little Italian place for dinner.

A fun day, with some nice corkscrews added to the collection.

And, there is so much more to tell.  Stay tuned.

updates from the ICCA AGM…

On day one of our Nanaimo adventure, Tommy had already landed in Vancouver, and after we landed and our luggage arrived, the driver we had contracted, picked us up and drove the hour plus to Horseshoe Bay, where we boarded at ferry, and made the 1.5 hour crossing to Nanaimo.

We passed the time by catching up on the latest, discussed future travel plans, and just enjoyed the beauty of the area.

After disembarking, we hopped into a taxi, that took us to the Coast Bastion Inn. A lovely hotel, with fantastic views.

While I will provide a more detailed description in the days to come, I figured a few photos might provide a glimpse into the adventure thus far.


As we arrived a day early, but also having been traveling for two days, we decided to have dinner that hotel, and call it a (relatively) early evening.

The next day we wandered the area, having lunch at Palapas (good Mexican on the water), and decided to take a seaplane tour of the area.  As it happens, Klaus (who is also here for the meeting) was going to be not the same flight.  It was quite a fun way to see Nanaimo and the environs.

Following the flight, it was time for registration for the meeting, which would be followed by the Right’s Reception.




It was great to reconnect with old friends, and to welcome a new member into the ICCA.

Following the reception, it was dinner on our own, and TC, the lovely, and I headed up to a nice little Greek restaurant that we had discovered earlier in our wandering around.

The next morning was the buy and sell and show and tell.  And, corkscrews were bought and sold, and shown and talked about.  While there were many interesting pieces, John Morris had a cool little U-Neek looking T.  Very Cool!


While we were buying and selling, our host DD, had asked if there was anything I was looking for.  I mentioned a few.  And, he said he might have a few for me.  Then, as we were cleaning up after the buy and sell, I got word that Tommy and I were invited to DD’s house to look at his junk.  We went!

As it happened, the plan was to have everyone over to the house at 4:00 for a buffet, and a viewing of the collection.  And, after getting our preview, we headed down to the lower floor to see the “junk.”

We all have junk.  Corkscrews that we bought that mean less to us now than when we bought them.  Corkscrews that came in a lot, where we were only after the hard to find piece, but had to buy the entire lot to get it.  And, over time it just grows and grows.

Truth is, Dave didn’t have much junk.  Still, I picked up a couple of pieces, and asked about a Mumford patent that we had talked about earlier in the day.  He gave a price, we negotiated a bit, and we agreed.  And, I headed upstairs to retrieve it.

By the time I had gotten back downstairs, apparently another deal had been made.  And, Tommy had made a trade for some Syroco pieces that DD was enamored with for a nice English piece.  And, in short order, another deal was done.  Throwing caution to the wind, I made an offer of my own.  Done, again.


With trades and deals made, we finished a glass of wine and headed back to the hotel.

The lovely was waiting for us, with chilled champagne.  We stopped by the bar, and picked up some champagne flutes, to celebrate the trades/deals made.


Returning with a treasure trove of corkscrews…

And, this is only the beginning.  Plenty more stories to tell about the Nanaimo adventure…  Stay tuned.