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.