Humason & Beckley, Neal, and Birthday celebrations

So, yesterday was my birthday.  And, the lovely personal personal trainer and whisked me off island for a bit of a birthday adventure.  Lunch at Slipway, Dinner at Primo, a new kayak, antiquing adventures, a stay and the Camden Harbor Inn with dinner at Natalie’s; it was a fabulous time.

Along the way, we found a few corkscrews.  Pretty much all of which remain in their respective locations.   One of which, is now on the island.

This particular corkscrew actually came from the shop owned by some friends.  Over the past year, we have come to know a couple that is moving to Vinalhaven.  They bought a building on main street, are currently renovating it, and will be opening a business in the downstairs.

Years ago, we actually met, in the business they previously owned; a wine and cheese shop (oddly enough) that we would pass on our way up to Rockland to catch the boat to Vinalhaven.

And, within said shop was a collection of corkscrews.

During that time, with my corkscrew budget being small, and the corkscrew prices being larger than the small corkscrew budget, I would ooh and ahh, and grab a bottle of wine (or two) and hop back in the car and head north towards our destination.

At some point, the wine and cheese shop changed hands, and the corkscrews were no longer there.  The shop still has lots of antiques as decor, but the collection had gone elsewhere.  Where it had gone, apparently, was across the street to another business that the couple owned.

With the couple spending time on Vinalhaven and given the wine and cheese connection, there have been lots of conversations about the business, the business they will be opening on Vinalhaven, a bit about antiquing and a bit about corkscrews.

So, the other day, when we were in the vicinity of their current shop, we popped in to say hello.  They weren’t there, but there was a small display of corkscrews.  Mostly French mechanicals, but I got a glimpse of an turned ivory handle, and asked to see it.

I could make out that it was marked, but couldn’t quite see what it was marked.

If it was CASTSTEEL, the price was fair.

If it was MURPHY, it was very very fair.

If it was a San Francisco maker (PRICE, WILL & FINCK) it was very very very fair.

I got a better look at the marking, and it turned out to be H & B MF’G.  Now this too is a good thing.  I have owned several turned ivory and bone handled corkscrews, but when they turn up, they are more often marked CASTSTEEL rather than H & B.

That said, I left the H & B behind, and we headed off on another adventure.

Yesterday, I needed to pick up Philos the Wonderdog from where he was being boarded, which happens to be about 10 minutes from the location of the H & B…which conveniently is across the street from a place where they have pretty decent coffee.

Clearly, I needed another cup.

So, after picking up the dog, I headed down for a cup of coffee, and checked in to see the H & B again.  And, the owners were there.  We exchanged pleasantries, talked corkscrews, and I made an offer on the ivory handled T.

Deal done!

While I was paying for the piece, soon there were several other corkscrews presented; a double folding 18th century piece, a mechanical corkscrew cane.  Neither of those were for sale, but nice to see such good corkscrews.

After saying goodbyes, and knowing we will see each other soon, I thanked them for the deal.

See you soon on the island!

 

Didn’t you mention a Neal?

Yes, as a matter of fact, in the title of the blog I did.   Over the last couple of days, there was an interesting lot listed on eBay with a buy it now or best offer.  And, the lot contained four kitchen implements, amongst them  Marshall S. Neal 1940 patent opener with corkscrew.

The buy it now price for the lot?  10 dollars.  Still, it did have a best offer option.

Should I try and get it for less?

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I opted to not make an offer, and popped for the 10.

 

Loffler patent?

Not too long ago, I acquired a cork extractor, that is unmarked but bares a striking resemblance to the Karl Loffler patent of 1866.

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With no markings, unfortunately, it is just similar, rather than saying for sure, that this is the Loffler (patent # 59,241)

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Loffler’s patent description for an Improved Cork Pull, reads:

This invention relates to a cork-puller, which consists of a thin shank provided at one end with a suitable handle, and at the opposite end with a curved sharp-edged tooth, in such a manner that by passing said tooth down between the cork and the neck of the bottle, and turning it so that the same bears on the under surface of the cork, said cork can be withdrawn without being injured; and, furthermore, by the very act of passing the tooth down between the neck of the bottle and the cork said cork is loosened, and the operation of withdrawing the same is facilitated.

A represents a shank, made of steel or other suitable material, of convenient size and length. The upper or thick end of this shank is secured in a handle, B, of wood or any other suitable material, and from its under or thin end projects a tooth, a, which is curved, as shown in Fig. 2. The lower end of this tooth is sharp, but its back is flat, so that the same can be readily passed down between the cork and the neck of the bottle, and after it has been passed down below the cork its back can be brought to bear on the inner end of the cork, and by pulling on the handle the cork is withdrawn.

By this instrument the corks are lifted intact. They can be used over and over again; and, furthermore, by the act of forcing the tooth down below the neck of the bottle and the cork said cork is loosened, so that it can be withdrawn with comparatively little exertion.

Is this the Loffler?  What do you think?

didn’t you mention a trade???

In yesterday’s Brimfield recap, I did mention a trade.

Yes, a trade.

A few weeks back, Tommy picked up an Sterling and Ivory handled Gorham prong puller that resembles a Converse.  It shares many similarities with the Converse patent, with the biggest exception being that instead of the 1899 patent date, it reads STERLING 97, and SPAULDING-GORHAM–the sheath is also marked STERLING

Spaulding & Co., originally was S. Hoard & Co., but in 1920 was bought by Gorham Mfg., and changed the name to Spaulding-Gorham Inc.  The name remained until 1943, when it was changed to Spaulding & Co, in 1943.  So, we can at least but date range to the cork puller; somewhere between 1920, but before 1943.

In a 1941 Spaulding-Gorham Catalog, they feature a similar cork puller.  The lines are pretty similar, but it is described “Wine Cork Puller, sterling, and is illustrated with a Sterling handle, rather than one of Ivory and Sterling.

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Do any of you have the Spaulding-Gorham that is entirely Sterling?

After Tommy picked it up, we had discussed trade.  And, he threw out several options that would seal the deal.  That said, after I picked up the General Appliance wall mount with corkscrew, that was what he really wanted.  But, given that I had been trying to find that particular corkscrew for well-over a decade, I just didn’t want to part with it.

The conversation went back and forth over the course of the Brimfield adventure; scarcity, rarity, desirability, value, etc…  And, it continued with possible trade scenarios.

On Wednesday, Tommy presented another offer.  We had batted around a couple in the preceding days…  Folding Greeley patent and the half sized signed Clark, in exchange for the Spaulding-Gorham prongs.

I thought about it for a minute or two.  Tommy has a thing for the smaller (but not miniature) corkscrews, and I have thing for Converse and other prong pullers, so after grabbing a small Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrew from his stash and placing it next to the prongs, I agreed.

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I also promised, that should I ever begin to trade and/or sell the General Appliance wall mount, that he would get the right of first refusal.

But, given that it will surely make my best six for 2017, I am guessing it will be sticking around.  I am thinking the Spaulding-Gorham prongs will also make the best 6!

Thanks for another epic trade TC.  There have been so any over the years, and I look forward to the next one!

So, what happened at Brimfield?

I know it has been a few days since I blogged, so perhaps I should catch up.  Yes, we went to Brimfield!

Of course, I might as well fill you in on all the other minutiae…

On Saturday, the lovely personal personal trainer, headed off island, while I stayed and completed further finishing touches on the wine shop.  And, as the appropriate hour, I hopped on the boat, and headed over myself.  The afternoon, and the following day, was spent mudding and painting our mainland digs, and also a little further prep for the Brimfield adventure.

On Monday, I headed down early, to check into the house we rented for the week, and also to pick up Tommy from the airport.  Along the way, I passed countless antique stores that were all closed given the early hour.

A bit after my departure, the lovely, who painted her way out of the kitchen, headed back to the boat to pick up our friend Alison would also be joining us for the Brimfield trip.  They plan was to pick up some additional groceries (I already had the wine) and meet up at the rental house.

Tommy’s plane arrived as scheduled, and it wasn’t long before we were back at the house.  He had brought a few corkscrews for show, tell, and possibly trade.  And, I had done the same.  He is rather desirous of the Western Appliance wall mount, and Tommy had recently acquired a Gorham Sterling prongs, that I really wanted as well.  He also brought along a couple of unusual pieces that he recently picked up, one that looks to be a patent from the back of O’Leary.  I have long felt that it is a good idea, when the opportunity presents itself, to be able to handle and examine new discoveries.  What are the functions?  What does it look like in person?

A little wine was consumed, and at that point no trades had been completed.

A little later, a message came in from the lovely, that they were about 20 minutes away.  And, upon their arrival, we popped some Champagne, and toasted our third Brimfield adventure together (third with the four of us, I have been going for for a decade or so).

The evening was spent with convivial conversations, but still an early night, as we would be waking up early, for Brimfield Day One!

Brimfield Day One:

Day one started early.  By 4:30 in the morning,  Tommy and I were on the road to the show.   Sue and Alison would catch up with us later.  After parking the truck, we wished each other luck, and headed off in different directions.

There were many corkscrews to be had, but largely of the Williamson, Clough, and Walker variety.  And, of those, pretty much of the common Williamson, Clough, and Walker variety.

Over the course of the morning, Tommy and I would cross paths, and eventually ran into Barry.  For the most part, the conversation went something like,

“Anything yet.”

“Not really.”

And, we would then part ways again.

In the final field of the day, however, there were a few better corkscrews available.  Tommy picked up a Murphy button, and Barry unearthed the find of the day; an Aaron Austin Toilet Necessity in really nice condition.  As it is a double for Barry, Tommy was hot for it.  I have no doubt a deal will be made between the two of them at some point.

I had a few nice little finds over the course of the day.  Early in the morning, I happened upon a simple t-pull with brewery advertising; Rochester Brewing…  At the hefty price of 8 dollars, I figured it was a good thing.  Later the morning, I happened on the identical corkscrew with different advertising.  This time for Genesee Brewing.  It was a bit more than the Rochester, but it makes for a good pair.

There were a couple of perfumes, which will go into the lovely’s collection, a couple of mechanicals, a Nylin patent, an interesting figural fish marked DENMARK, and a really nice Anri Bacchus stopper–missing the cork.  The cork will be replaced and will remain in the collection, although there is little reason for a wine stopper in our house…

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Not a bad day one.  Of course, there were lots of other things for sale!

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In between, the lovely and Alison arrived, and we met up for a picnic lunch; tail gating on the truck.  Following lunch, they girls headed off on their own adventure, and we would get messages when they ran across a corkscrew.

With all of the fields of the day having been visited, we called it a day.  According to our various devices, it showed that Tommy and I had traversed 14.6 and 13.5 miles over the course of the morning/afternoon respectively.

As has become tradition, the evening was spent with wine and stories of the day, and a Taco Tuesday dinner.

It was, again, an early evening as Wednesday would be an early start.

Brimfield Day Two:

On day two, I headed down to the kitchen and proceeded to consume several cups of coffee.  Tommy soon came downstairs, and we were once again headed to the show.  The first field opens at 6 am, and we rolled into the parking lot at 5:54.  Hightailing it to the gate, we were walking in with the awaiting crowds, just as the field opened.

In the first aisle, I found an interesting Anri Monkey nutcracker, but the price was pretty high.  I still toyed with picking it up.  In the end, I left it behind, but let a friend who collects Anri know where it was.  I did pick up a couple of things in the field; a flash was the first purchase of the day, this was followed by an Atlas Beer opener/pencil, and this was followed by a Murphy patent bell with the spike.  I have lots and lots of Murphys, and this indeed is a double (or quadruple, if you want to get technical).  Still, it is a good thing, at a very fair price.

After a bit more hunting, I ran into Tommy a booth where a particular dealer always has corkscrews.  There was a really handsome Henshall with an interesting button and bone handle.  I got to witness Tommy’s negotiating skills in action.  Still, the dealer was a little less inclined to drop much in price, so we walked away.

We meandered a bit through other fields for the next hour, and in anticipation of the 9:00 field opening, headed over and grabbed a seat.  A few minutes later, Barry joined us, and we discussed how the show was going so far and also gave us a chance to catch up on recent finds.

As the field opened, the lovely messaged to say that she and Alison had arrived, and would head over to the field.  I had picked up a few things in my wandering; a few more perfumes, a Sterling roundlet (in not great shape), and few other interesting bits.

The 9:00 field, was eventually followed by the 12:00 field.  Not much there, and Barry and I crossed paths multiple times.  We actually found ourselves in one booth at the very same time, reaching for the very same corkscrew.  But, 35 dollars for a Hercules seemed a little steep to both of us, and similarly both of us opted to leave it behind.

There were, however, other things to buy at the various fields…

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After exhausting the various fields, Sue and Alison decided to head off to Litchfield for a bit of an adventure, and TC and I decided to head off further afield, and do a little antiquing before meeting back at the house for the nightly show and tell and wine.  This was followed by grilling a few filets, and a trade.  Yes, a trade!

Between TC and I, it was quite the pile of corkscrew and openers accumulated thus far…

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Brimfield Day Three:

Day three started, a little less early, and I drove Tommy back to the airport–amongst other corkscrews, the aforementioned Henshall was in his suitcase, as he went back to the dealer and attempted negotiating the price again.  The dealer stood firm, and Tommy sprung for it.  It is a pretty cool corkscrew, after all.

After dropping TC off, and heading back to the house to help check out, I returned to Brimfield for Mays; which opens at 9 on Thursday.  Walking the line, I didn’t see Barry.  I wondered if he had decided to skip, and start the drive to New York and then back home to Florida.

I wandered the aisles, and at the fourth tent, picked up a nice Murphy with acorn handles; one of the earlier ones.  Two aisles over, I picked up a Bridgewater patent coffin guy.  The price was fair, and I had traded my last one to Leon on his visit to the island.  It was nice to find a suitable replacement.

Not much in the way of exciting corkscrews, but a few pieces.  And, I managed to find another perfume for the lovely.

After one more traversing of the fields, I headed off to say goodbye to a few dealer friends, and hit the road for Rockland, and the following day, hopped the boat back to the island.

For those wondering, there were a few other things to buy in Brimfield on day three…

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All in all, a pretty good Brimfield adventure.

A sign…

Construction is progressing on the wine shop renovation, and if all goes as planned, the walls will be primed and painted today.  Perhaps a little trim tomorrow, and then Sunday we hit the road for Brimfield.  Well, not technically hit the road, as we will be on a boat to the mainland, and then leaving early on Monday for the drive down.

It has been a busy few days going from demolition to construction to starting the finish, but we are closing in.

And, yesterday, something pretty cool happened.  The lovely personal personal trainer and I were discussing what sort of decor we want to put on the back wall of the shop.  Previously it was a deal elderberry wine color, but we thought we might lighten it up, and both thought a large patent drawing of a corkscrew would be a nice addition.  There is already a giant Bennit patent that rests on the outside of the building, and the logo includes a Barnes double helix.   The same Barnes appears on the shop’s front window.

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So, we were discussing various options, and then yesterday, as the sun was shining rather brightly through our front windows, one of my customers pointed out a shadow that was cast onto the back wall.

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I think it is a sign.  We definitely should add a patent drawing on the back wall.