“…the wants of many a poor and unfortunate who finds he has too short a hold on some choicest blessings of life.”

From the August 2, 1876 issue of the Steuben Republican (Angola, Indiana).

Israel Kemery, Esq., of this place, has invented and is about to have patented, a very ingenious device for extracting corks from bottles. The model we saw was rather a rude affair, yet showed at once the utility as well as simplicity of an article long needed, and one which will very certainly be brought to great use. Mr. Kemery will, by this little instrument, meet the wants of many a poor and unfortunate who finds he has too short a hold on some choicest blessings of life. Call Kemery’s harness shop, south-east corner of public square, or at Blass & Aldrich’s clothing store, where can be seen and explained the operation of Kemery’s new cork puller. Mr. George Blass is to be the principal agent for the sale of territory. It will be best for you to take your own bottle along.

Kemery is about to have a patented cork puller?  I searched Google Patents…nothing.  I went to the waaaay back of O’Leary where there is an index of patentees:






Nope, no Kemery listed.

According to the article, there was an example/model made and demonstrated.

What did Kemery come up with in 1876?  Was he ever granted a patent, that we don’t know about?

Let the hunt begin?


You can sell cork screws

From an 1889 issue of The House Furnishing Review:


You Can Sell Cork Screws at 100 per cent. Profit by displaying this beautiful nickeled enameled Stand on your show case. Furnished free with order for Cork Screws. Each Screw tested and put up in printed cartoons. Every one sold creates demand for more. Write for catalogue and prices.

So…do you think they meant that each one would be put in a carton?

Or, were did they intend the advertisement to read cartoon?

I am guessing carton, as every once in a while one turns up with its original packaging.


After looking at other advertisements from that time, albeit a bit later, they corrected the error:


Either way, carton or cartoon, I would be rather animated if someone had one of these for sale or trade. I would love to add the display stand / advertising piece to the collection.


If you have one, or any other corkscrews with which you would like to part, drop me a line.

Silver Wing Tap, No. 14199

After posting the blog regarding the tap the other day, I received the following email from Richard Stevenson

Good Morning Josef,

Good to see the champagne tap on your blog.

This is of course the patented Silver Wing tap No.14199 and is a lovely tap. My two seem to be silver plated brass.



Thanks for the email Richard!  After a bit of searching the past collector corkscrews auction, I found an example…


A really neat piece!

Tapping a Bottle of Wine Without Losing Its Sparkle

From the October 27, 1894 issue of The Cincinnati Enquirer:


Tapping a Bottle of Wine Without Losing Its Sparkle

The accompanying illustration represents an elevation of a compact, neat, and efficient little tap to be inserted in corked bottles or receptacles containing aerated waters, sparking wines, &c. so as to place their contents under convenient control.


It will be seen at a glance to consist of a tap, designed after the form of a corkscrew. By the use of this appropriate use of this device it will be readily understood that there need be no escape of gas or liquid or dripping from bottles charged with effervescent drinks, and undoubtedly, with sound corks, it should answer its purpose admirably.

The construction will be seen to consist of a screw formed shank, which is bored to communicate with the transverse tubular handle, which is controlled at one end by a miniature plunger tap or valve.

It may be formed of white metal plated with silver, which gives it a very smart finished appearance and prevents any corrosion of the metal. By its employment a spoonful of liquid can be as easily withdrawn from a bottle or receptacle as a glass or tumblerful.

three Murphys


As mentioned in the Brimfield post, I picked up the early example of the “challenge-type” Murphy corkscrew.   It is a welcome addition to the collection, and soon enough will be added to the Murphy page.

But, for kicks, I thought I would show three Murphys together.  Each has different markings.  Two with the arched frame, and one with the squared frame.  The one on the right has marking on the handle as well.



As you all know, I like Murphy corkscrews!


And, while I would love to add another Ivory handled one to the collection…



what I am really after is an unusual Murphy that has little teeth below the button.


Do any of you have this?  I would love to trade!

Stealing away to Brimfield

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely personal personal trainer asked if I was going to go to the September Brimfield show. And, I had been thinking about it. But, with the wine shop, I was a little unsure if I could get away. Still, with a little change in the schedule, we worked it out, and I would be able to go. But, only for one day.

So, on Monday morning I headed south. And, given it was Labor Day, there were several million tourists also heading south and leaving Maine. Okay, maybe not several million, but the 95 was a parking lot, so I chose to meander down the 1, and hit traffic there too.

Knowing I didn’t have to get to my hotel until that evening, I just decided to hit a few antique stores and enjoy the slow and leisurely ride.

At one stop, I managed to uncover a few treasures under a whole lot of corkscrews.


The corkscrew whistle was the best in the lot, but also there was a corkscrew that American Pickers Mike might want, as it carries an advertisement for Columbia Bicycles and Fowler Wheels.  The Walker Hallboy is in pretty nice shape as well.


After wading through traffic, I headed off to an antique store in Wells, Maine. I have always found corkscrews here, and I have been refraining from buying one particular piece for the past three years.

Three years? you ask.

Yes, every time I have visited, I have resisted paying the asking price for a wooden sheath corkscrew with advertising. But, this year, I knew I would finally give in, as not only is it an advertising corkscrew, it is an advertising corkscrew advertising “advertising cork screws.”

And, it happens to be an advertisement for A.W. Stephens, whose company I have been researching recently.  Interesting to note, it is actually a Clough patent, and is marked with Cambridgeport as Stephens’ address, which would predate his move to Waltham, when he went into production of his own patents.

It was still there.

And, I did buy it.  The lettering could be better, but given that I have never seen another…


As I left Wells, I headed further south, and it quite literally took me 30 minutes to travel 5 miles. And, as I got towards Portsmouth, one of the bridges was closed, so, I snaked my way around backstreets, avoiding those that are less familiar with area, eventually hopping onto the 95 some miles later avoiding the lines of traffic at the tolls.

By late afternoon, I was pulling into the hotel in West Springfield, and set my alarm for the early morning.

Before daybreak, I was gearing up, and heading to Brimfield. Flashlight at the ready, I made my way to my normal first stop. What was going to be interesting this time around, was there was going to be less competition. Barry wasn’t going to be there. Tommy wasn’t going to be there. I haven’t heard if KC was going to be there. Could I be the only corkscrew collector hunting the fields?

Doubtful, but one could only hope.

So, when I made my first stop and JR’s tent (a KOOK, and collector of can openers), instead of hurrying off, we had a conversation, a cup of coffee, and discussed latest finds.

Of course, it also occurred to me that I am only here for one day, so perhaps I should start hunting.

Off I went, and soon enough happened upon a small grouping of corkscrews. I picked up the zig zag and a clough.


And, there were other corkscrews about. Lots of Cloughs and Williamsons. At another booth, I picked up a Bennit for a fair price.

As the morning progressed, and there was more coffee, a couple of dealers that know both Barry and I, joked around that this was the first time in years that they didn’t tell me that, “Barry was just here.” Or, “the British guy was just in a little while ago.”

Of course, at those particular booths, there weren’t any corkscrews either.

Sometime before 11, I was walking through another field, and I saw a Murphy with the challenge-style handle. I picked it up, and noticed it looked different. In Bob Nugent’s article on Murphy, he mentions variation. I have long been looking for this version; for over a decade mind you, and a have never seen one. Just to be sure I wasn’t wrong about the variant, I pulled up my Murphy corkscrew page on my iPhone, and there it was:

The Challenge and the Victor models are usually marked R. MURPHY BOSTON across the top of the open frame which is usually arched.  On example has square cut openings and is marked ROBERT MURPHY.  It is probably an early example.


This may well make the best 6 of the year!

Shortly thereafter, I hit the booth where Tommy got his MOP mini legs in May. No rare legs there. I did pick up a few bits, and on a whim the slide mechanism and helix from a roundlet. Not that I really need it, but you just never know…

Looking at my watch, I headed off, hitting Dealer’s Choice at 11, and having exhausted that field, headed over to the last field of the day. And, whilst in line, who should come over to talk to me, but Mike Gordon. Of course, the field wasn’t open yet, but Mike was already inside. And, he explained that he had previously been in Dealer’s Choice, and found nothing in either.


Still feeling optimistic, I waited for the gates to open, and made my way through the aisles. Nothing in the first few, and then I ran into a dealer friend who historically has corkscrews—albeit expensive corkscrews. He explained he hadn’t picked up anything, but an adjacent dealer had a pair of legs. The dealer-friend had said he had offered x for them, but told me I could have them if I matched his price. During the conversation, it was explained they weren’t striped, but instead a gold flecked finish. Suddenly, even without seeing them, the price, which was fair, became a pretty good deal.

After searching his van for 15 minutes, the aforementioned adjacent dealer presented the corkscrew to me…

Apparently there were indeed corkscrews to be found in the field…


Not a bad day at Brimfield; The Murphy, the gold legs…

With 2/3 of the field done, I turned a corner, and saw what looked like a Clough. But, the shadows in the booth, made it look like it could be the Lowenstein patent of 1903.  After retrieving it from the case, it was indeed the Lowenstein, with an advertisement for Humphrey & Martin’s Whiskey, and a whopping price tag of 9 dollars.



After paying 8, the dealer asked if I wanted any of the others.


I went back to the same case, and saw a few wire Cloughs, and then an advertising Clough for Lactopeptine for Dyspepsia / For Indigestion. I picked up that one too, for the same price.


Quite pleased with the Lowenstein and the Clough, I headed off again, visiting the rest of the booths, passing on an overpriced Mabson, and repeatedly checking the time. I needed to hit the road, as I had a 4 + hour drive back to Rockland.

Visiting the last booth, I headed back to the ATCPV (all-terrain-corkscrew-pursuit-vehicle) and started the drive back home. The lovely was there to meet me upon my return, and over wine had a bit of show and tell, and tales of the adventure.


There surely are other corkscrews at Brimfield this week, and with several fields opening this morning, I am sure there will be other treasures to be had. As for my one day at Brimfield, it was a pretty darn good one.

“Self-pulling cork screw…of new and ornamental design…”

May 30, 1986 issue of The Metal Worker


The self-pulling cork screw illustrated in figure.3 is of new and ornamental design, and has a wire cutter attached. It is finished in nickel plate, and in operation, turns the cork out.

Of course, the self-pulling illustrated above, is made by Walker.  And,  it is one that I do not have.  And, I could really use one.


Anyone have one to trade?  It will fit nicely into the collection…