Synvita Products Are Best

A while back, RL messaged me asking if I was interested in a Clough medicine band corkscrew, with an advertisement for Synvita.  I responded in the affirmative, but then we moved on to other subjects; wine, corkscrews, auctions, travel, etc…

The other day, he mentioned the Synvita again, and again I responded in the affirmative, but this time remembered to send a little PayPal funds his way.

Thanks for the deal RL!

So, what is Synvita?  And, why are their products “the Best.”  Synvita was a producer of medicines and food products back in the day.  And, from what I we can ascertain from the advertisements of the time, their Blackberry Blocks were a staple of their company.


The latest and cheapest the most pleasant convenient and reliable care for Diarrhea, Dysentery, Flux, Cholera, Cholera Morous and Cholera Infantum or Summer Complaint ever discovered.  No teaspoon.  No sticky bottle.  Always ready and handy.  25 doses 25 cents.  A guarantee on each package by which we will refund the price paid if Blackberry Blocks fail to cure all diseases for which they are recommended.  As your druggist for them, and take no substitute.  If you fail to ge them upon receipt of 25 cts., we will send a package by return mail or 5 for a Dollar.  A handsome advertising chess and checker-board free with each order.  Address, SYNVITA CO., DELPHOS, OHIO.

But, Synvita also made other “blocks.”  Bitter Blocks for Cough, Kidney, Blood and Liver, and Worm.  In later advertisements there are ads for Cool-Aid (a drink) and Cook-Aid (some sort of egg substitute).  And, they were awarded several patents for medicines.

At some point, Synvita themselves must have made something within the “sticky bottle” the blocks were supposed to help their customers avoid, as their name and slogan appear on the aforementioned corkscrew that RL is sending our way.


An nice addition to the growing Clough flat band corkscrew collection.

On another corkscrew note, the next rounds of collector auction end today and tomorrow.  I have several on my watch list, and it will be fun to see where some of the rarities end up.  Bidding wars?  Hopefully not on the pieces I am going after.

Be sure to check it out!

construction continues

While construction continues at the wine shop, the Elderberry Wine wall has been demolished, sink counter moved, and electrical work begins this morning, we are making progress!

And, over the weekend, the first round of auctions ended with a flurry of bidding.  Lots of relatively new bidders were snapping up bargains, and a few rarities garnered some bidding wars with the usual suspects doing their best to top one another.

While a couple of pieces sold for more, one folding German bottle, garnered lots of bids, and a hefty 4K+ final bid.


I did place bids on a couple of lots, but was quickly outbid.  Still, I have my eyes sent on a several in the auction lots that end this coming Saturday and Sunday, perhaps I will prevail on those.

Next it is more coffee, then off to the shop to install the reclaimed floors.  Meet with the electrician.  Then sheetrock, mud, and start selling wine.

Stay tuned!

a bit of construction

I know…  I haven’t been blogging much as of late, but I am involved in a few construction projects, and corkscrewing around has been on the back burner.

We are in process of expanding the wine shop.  Not a huge expansion…but it involves tearing out a bathroom, removing a closet, moving the electrical box, moving the water heater, removing multiple pipes from said bathroom and water heater, tearing down a wall, removing a ceiling fan, tearing down another wall, repairing various sheetrock from said wall removal, tearing out a tile floor and replacing that with reclaimed wood flooring, trimming out the new area, and a little paint.  Oh, and moving the wine shelving, moving the shop counter, building new shelving, and adjusting the layout of the shop after that.

And, we are continuing the renovation of the mainland house.  Last week, we sheetrocked the guest room, and this morning we are hopping on the boat, and it will be a day taping and mudding.

Then we are back on the island on Monday with a team of the plumbers, electricians, and myself to bang out the rest to the wine shop job.  Hopefully by the end of next week, we will be back in business.

Well, technically, we are continuing business, as this is all being done while the shop is open.

Still, there is corkscrew news.  It looks like Tommy has scored a bit at the JFO; wire frame corkscrew, a pile of Cloughs, very shiny Walker bar screw, a few flashes, and 6,304,307 Hall’s Red Devil Skull corkscrews, and more…

Okay, the 6,304,307 is a bit of an exaggeration, but he did get a bunch of them.

The JFO is always a good time, and there are always corkscrews amongst the myriad of beer openers.  Hopefully, I will be there next year!

As for other corkscrew news, the first round of collector corkscrews auction ends today starting at 1 pm.  There have been lots of bids thus far, but surely there are bids to come.


You can check out the auction here!

News of the auction to follow, and if any corkscrews turn up on our mainland adventure (or inside the walls of the wine shop), I will report back here.

Stay tuned.

A Modern Cork Puller…

From an 1895 issue of Hardware, devoted to the American hardware trade

A Modern Cork Puller.

The Meriden Malleable Iron Co., Meriden, Conn., who are well known as manufacturers of Cork Pullers, have introduced with great success the attractive and excellent article here shown.  It is the Infanta No. 8, patented January 1st 1895.  All its parts are made from malleable iron and steel, and are described as having sufficient strength to stand any strain from ordinary use, thereby overcoming all liability of breakage.  In reference to its particular mission, the company would say: “There has been for some years a demand for a reliable Cork Puller of convenient size for family use at a reasonable price, and the Infanta has been carefully constructed to meet that want.  The size and strength is all that could be desired and at the same time it works so perfectly that any cork can easily be removed, even by a child.”  A better idea of its usefulness can be gained by a glance at the intructions appended for its operation:  “With


the machine in position as shown in the cut, turn handle to the right until the cork screw has entered the cork, and the elevating screw has drawn the cork from the bottle.  Then turn to the left until the top washer on the elevating screw is locked against the top of the body, and the handle is at the highest point with the cork screw inside of the elevating screw, as shown in the cut.  The cork will then have dropped off and the machine is ready for use again.  In case a screw breaks or is worn out, it can be easily removed from the spindle with pliers, and a new one screwed in.”  Among the other articles made by the company are their Rapid Cork Puller and Rapid Lemon Squeezers, designed for use in hotels, restaurants, drug stores, clubs, bars, families, etc.  Full information as to the above goods, with prices, will be gladly sent by the manufacturers, upon application.

End of an Era…

It has finally happened.  The well-loved and very-full corkscrew case, is heading to a new home.  And, the corkscrews have been packed up, and moved upstairs into the guest room, in anticipation of the their move to the new corkscrew room  and its unveiling.

The corkscrew case was an interesting adventure.  Whilst we were living in Chicago, I was perusing eBay one morning, and in the background of a listing for a completely different item, I could make out a small stack of flat files in the background.  I emailed the seller, and asked about them.  He explained that he had several from a recent buy, and wanted X for them.  He was in Madison Wisconsin (a mere 3 hours away), and I agreed to buy two sets of five drawers and a base.

The price was really fair, having seen them sell for 10 times the amount in Chicago.  I hopped in the xterra and drove to Madison.  When I got there, I realized how large the pieces were.  In total,  4 feet wide, 3feet deep, and in combination about 4 feet tall.

I needed a bigger vehicle.

So, not having a truck at the time, and knowing that my mini cooper would not be a bigger help.  I put one set of five drawers into the xterra, and promised to return.  And, I drove back to Chicago (a mere 3 hours away).

The next day, I drove back to Madison (a mere 3 hours away) and picked up the other pieces, and drove back to Chicago.

The following day, I visited antique dealer who does a little restoration, and asked him for a little help.  Please, clean these up, rip the top off of it, and oil it up.  And, after two visits, as only half would fit into the xterra, he took care of the job.

While he was lightly refinishing the case, I had a local glass shop create the top.  And, after two more visits to the antique shop, the case was then placed in the lower floor of our condo in Chicago.

And, there it sat for several years, with each drawer getting a few corkscrews.  And, then a few became a bit more, and a bit more, and then I had to empty it when we moved to Massachusetts.

Tommy was a beneficiary of that move, as after packing everything up, I had a huge box of common (and not so common) stuff.  I delivered it to his doorstep (a 20-30 pound box of corkscrews) whereupon he opened the door.  I handed him the box and said, “fifty bucks.”

The case was then delivered to Newton Highlands, where it lived the next few years in the second floor guest room.  Yes, guests had the collection to themselves.  Although, the third floor office had the Syrocos.

The case was emptied out once again when we moved to Vinalhaven.  But, it spent two years in a remote location while we were renovating our new place.  And, since 2011, it has been in the living room, a focal point of the house.

And, it has housed lots of corkscrews.


But, once again it has been emptied.

Now, it is heading to its new home at the Vinalhaven Historical Society.  Not because of its clear historical significance, but rather, it will help them store drawings and maps.

No more junk drawer, Ian.  But, there will be lots of corkscrews for you to rummage through on the next visit.  

The corkscrew room will have lots of display area, and a lovely view of the harbor.  But, I believe that I may need a few more corkscrews to fill the space.

The General Appliance wall mount, which arrived yesterday, will be a nice addition, but I need a few more!


Time to start hunting…

General Appliance Co.

Several years ago, I was sent a collection of past best sixes.  Not the actual corkscrews, but binders of photos and printouts of various collectors best six corkscrews from years prior.

Interestingly, some of these best sixes consisted of a single photograph, some would be a typed up report with several photos, and still others would be a little more elaborate.  As I paged through the volumes of photos, when I got to something I hadn’t seen before, I make note of it.

In one particular best six, was a fuzzy image of a wall mount corkscrew.  I scanned it, and with a little photoshop, enlarged it so I could get a clearer image.


Okay, maybe not so clear.

But, I knew that eventually I would find a similar one.

Fortunately, there was a description of this wall mount attached to it, so I did have an idea of what I was looking for…  a “General Appliance Co.” wall mount.

After years of searching around, a General Appliance Co.” wall mount corkscrew is heading to the island…


Marked GENERAL APPLIANCE CO.  SO. CHARLESTON W.VA. PAT. PEND.  this very well could make my best six of the year.

Of course, now the hunt for information on General Appliance Co. of So. Charleston will begin.

Let’s see if we can’t find some literature about this unusual wall mount.

Stay Tuned!

The Edie Cork Extractor

From an 1890 issue of The Iron Age:

The Edie Cork Extractor

The cork extractor represented in the accompanying illustration is the invention of Alexander Edie, Bridgeport, Conn., and was patented February 4 last.  Its sale is controlled by the inventor and James A. Murray of Butte City, Montana, for whom is manufactured by the Smith


& Egge Mfg. Company, Bridgeport.  The screw in the extractor is described as made of solid steel worked out in shape by tools designed for this special purpose.  There are no levers in the construction, and it is very simple in operation.  Turning the crank shown in the cut forces the screw into the cork, lifts the latter out, and frees it from the screw, permitting it to fall out of the way. If there be any wires confining the cork it is not necessary to cut them before inserting the neck of the bottle in the extractor.  They are referred to as broken when the cork is extracted by the action of the screw.  It will thus be perceived that the extraction of the cork is easily and quickly accomplished.  The extractor is referred to as symmetrical and ornamental in design and finish, and is polished and nickel plated.

The article mentions Edie as having a patent for this device… #420,572.


Do you have this in your collection?  If you do, drop me a line!