The Shrapnel Patent Corkscrew and Bottle.

From and 1841 issue of Iron, An Illustrated Weekly Journal for Iron and Steel Manufacturers, Metallurgists, Mine Proprietors, Engineers, Volume 34


Sir,—When we are about to enjoy the society of our best friends, and in evidence of our sincerity, have selected some of our “double diamond” port, we cannot endure the peril of disappointment by breaking the cork already sufficiently tender from age, by the use of the present corkscrews; and having no secured a substitute which will completely remove a cork, however decayed, we think we should be chargeable with selfishness if we did not introduced it for general adoption. This invention is admirably adapted for common bottles ; but exclusively so, for the Patent Shrapnel Bottle, which not only renders the bottle perfectly air tight, but so firmly grips the cork, that wire or string even for ales, porter, ginger beer, &c., are perfectly unnecessary ; and when it is considered that the wiring of the bottles used for those purposes, forms, the most material part of the manufacturer’s expense, the use of both articles becomes exceedingly advantageous, and particularly so, when the cost scarely exceeds that of of the common bottle.
In the above Engravings,
Fig. 1. Represents the corkscrew, with three spikes pressing perpendicularly into the cork, (the former acting on a centre attached to a plate) as the worm enters, until they are embedded in the cork ; the stop (see Fig. E.), then catches a rack, thereby causing the spikes to cease running on the centre, and the cork is immediately turned and extracted from the bottle.
Plate 2. Represents the patent bottle, G, having a female screw cast in to the neck, and is particularly adapted for holding effervescing liquors, champaign, wines, porter, bottled ales, &c., thereby rendering it perfectly air tight, and precluding the necessity of having wines as heretofore. The cork being driven in the usual way, naturally expands in the screw, and by means of the great power of the corkscrew, D, is unscrewed from the bottle in the form of fig. F ; the corkscrew is also adapted for any other bottles; however decayed or tight the cork, it has the power of extracting it with the greatest facility.

Yours’, &c


Gilchrist’s Lightning Cork Puller

From the the September 19, 1899 issue of Iron age…

The Gilchrist Lightning Cork-Puller

The Gilchrist Mfg. Company, 20 and 22 Michigan avenue, Chicago, Ill., are manufacturing the cork-puller illustrated herewith. In use the neck of the bottle is pressed firmly into the mouth of the puller. When the handle shown is pulled down the teeth in the arm work in teeth in the upright rod, causing it to resolve and screw the corkscrew into the cork, the latter being then readily extracted. Returning the handle to its former position discharges the cork.


It will thus be perceived that one movement of the lever pulls and discharges a cork. If desired corks may be partially drawn and left in bottles. The manufactures claim that it as making a most convenient article for users and a very attractive sample-case for the trade.

Frary Sullivan Bar Screw

The other day, within the suitcase of corkscrews was what looked to be the handle and helix for a bar mount corkscrew.


In seeking information on what bar screw this might be part of, I sent the picture to bar-screw-guru Wayne Meadows…

Within short order, he responded that it is part of the Sullivan, and sent a picture of his complete Sullivan.

Of course, the Sullivan, which is usually unmarked, on occasion has been found with a Frary signature, as Frary produced the Frary Sullivan.


Well, since I already have the handle and helix, now we need to find the rest of Frary Sullivan.

If you have a Sullivan corkscrew with a broken helix, missing helix, or heck…if you have a complete one, I am looking and would be interested in adding it to the Frary collection!


Drop me a line.

Suitcase of corkscrews

A week or so ago, the lovely lovely personal trainer was on the mainland, and I was on the island.  And, she sent me a message with a picture of the exterior of an antique shop, and asked if I had ever been there.

Surprisingly, I hadn’t.

I responded with that bit of information, and we made plans for a visit when the next opportunity presented itself.

Yesterday, was that opportunity.

After spending the morning working on the house on the mainland, we headed off to Camden for lunch, and then following lunch, headed further north.  As we turned off the main road, after a mile or so, there was the antique store.  And, as it was Sunday, it was closed up.

Oh well, we shall try another day.

We kept driving, and decided to explore the environs.

After a bit of driving and exploring, we looped back around, and suddenly there were two vehicles in front of the antique store.  We pulled in, and the owner opened up the doors.  He apparently had an appointment to meet with someone, but given we pulled up, he decided to open for business.

The shop certainly looked promising!

We meandered the shop, and there were some interesting items.  And, eavesdropping on his conversation a bit, it was clear he sold on eBay, and had been in business for sometime.

As I was searching, I managed to find a small pile of corkscrews and openers, and while they were mostly common, there was a Noyes patent amongst them.  I kept that one in my hand, and continued the search.

About 5 minutes later, I came around a corner, and there was the owner, asking if I had yet found any treasures.  I responded with, “one so far.”

I followed up with, “I see you have some corkscrews over there, do you have any others.”

His expression changed.

He grinned a little, and said, “well, yes…and no.”

He then proceeded to tell me the story of how years ago, someone had asked him to find some corkscrews for him, and he amassed a sizable collection.

He told me of his “Sarracho Gold Armor” corkscrew with the head that comes off, that he sold on eBay for 1800, the 5 pair of ladies legs, and how selling corkscrews got him through a long winter one year.

After a few more stories, he explained that he had a suitcase filled with them, and asked where we were from.  I explained, and he said, come back any day but Wednesday, and he would unearth them for us.

I inquired as to how far away was this suitcase.  About 700 yards, he responded.

Wishing to finish up with his other customers, he said, “Give me 5 minutes, and let me think about it.”

Then, “Okay, let me close up the doors, and then follow me.”

He climbed into his truck.  And, we climbed into our own, and followed him to his house.

In the garage, after moving a couple of chairs, and stepping over a lawnmower, under a workbench was a large suitcase.  If it was full, it would be pretty heavy.

He picked it up with little effort, and then handed it to me.  “Go put that on the tailgate of my truck,” he said.   “That will be our office.”

I put the suitcase down, and clicked one half of the lock.  He clicked the other, and with anticipation I opened the lid.

Yes, it was a suitcase of corkscrews!

I went through the corkscrews, and we discussed how he amassed the collection, and how he has sold off the best stuff.   Still, there were a couple of treasures within the suitcase.  And, I did buy four.

We also exchanged information, and he promised to call when he finds others.

A fun adventure, and a terrific find by the lovely lovely.


So, the wine shop has been taking my focus as of late, although there are antique corkscrews now for sale there amongst the wine, beer, and cheese.  And, of the couple of dozen I have put out, 10 have already found their way into interested customers hands.  And, one person explained that they had a collection of about 100 or so.  I asked her if she was a member of any of the clubs, and she looked at me with an inquiring glance.

Corkscrew Collecting Clubs?

She didn’t actually say that, but it was clear that she hadn’t heard of the CCCC or the ICCA.

We exchanged contact information, and I sent her a bit of information regarding the CCCC.

That said, the lovely personal personal trainer and I have escaped the island for a few days, and yesterday visited the Union Antiques Show.  In years past, I have picked up various interested corkscrews at this show.  And, this year, with rain threatening.  And, then rain not threatening, but actually pouring, there were less dealers than usual.

And, truth be told, there were less corkscrews than usual; A sterling Blackington boot, Williamson Roundlet, two interesting T’s although the ivory small one was tipped, a negbaur parrot, and a couple of Cloughs.

We meandered the aisles, were tempted by a couple of non-corkscrew items, but ultimately only purchased a Gyro, Falafel sandwich, and two beers.

Still, it was a good time, and you never know what you will find.


I did almost pick this up for Ian: an old sign from a Maine camp, “The Adlaide,” but then I realized it was missing the E in Adelaide.


The hunt continues….