I love a challenge…

The other day, I was perusing eBay, and someone had for sale an interesting folding tool.  It had some patent information on the piece, but it was hard to make out–the seller explained.  And, it had a name engraved into the piece as well.

And, since it was cheap, I purchased it.

I am always up for a challenge in figuring these types of mysteries out.

I will add here, there was no corkscrew attached.

It arrived yesterday morning, and after a bit of sleuthing, researching, and some more researching, I managed to find the patent.


And, there is a twist to this mystery tool.

The tool is marked both for an 1877 patent, as well as a 1880 patent.  And, within the patent description for the 1880 patent there is an interesting paragraph, which reads as follows:

This invention relates to improvements on the patent for finger-nail cutters granted to Richard W. Stewart on the 22d day of May, 1877, No. 190,989; and it consists of a spring handle made in two separate parts that are held rigidly together at one end and capable of a lateral expansion at the opposite end, by which arrangement I am enabled to secure a folding tool in each handle—as, for instance, a finger-nail cutter and cleaner in one end, similar to the one shown in Stewart’s patent above referred to, and a button – hook, corkscrew, or other suitable pocket – tool in the other end

Wait… what…?

The patentee was suggesting that instead of a button book, a corkscrew might be the tool attached?

Well, if we have found the patent with the button hook, was the corkscrew version produced?

Do you have this little tool in your collection?

Ladies and gentleman, mystery solved.

This is the  McDonald patent of 1880 for a “Toilet Implement.”

Now, let’s find the 1880 McDonald with a corkscrew!




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