Henckel v. Sunderland

Yesterday, I came across an interesting listing for a corkscrew for sale on a non e-Bay website.

I examined, checked photos, and hemmed and hawed over whether to buy it or not.

The price was fair enough, but being at the wine shop, reference books were not at my disposal.  Of course, that crazy Internet was available, and I went about trying to figure out what I was looking at.  It looked familiar enough, and then I thought it would be a better idea to buy it, and then figure it out, rather than wait for someone else to buy it, whilst I was figuring it out.

I clicked the appropriate buttons, and the corkscrew is heading for Vinalhaven.

After securing the deal, I looked closely at the images and there are no markings described by the seller.  Still, it is a rack and pinion mechanism but clearly not the London Rack.

After a little digging around on the past listings of the corkscrewcollectors.com auction site, I got a few answers.

Once it arrives, I will check closely for markings, but in the past listings this has been sold as the 1870 Sunderland, and marked for Henckel’s.  Of course, the other version of the Sunderland is marked PATENT 2841, with the side handle affixed at the base of the frame rather than higher up.

After getting home, I cracked open the wcc book, and on page 282, a similar corkscrew appears, again attributed to Edwin Sunderland, but bearing the mark “J.A. HENCKELS SOLINGEN” marking.

All that being said, a very cool corkscrew!


Mystery Slider / Slide-out Corkscrew

The other day, I was sent photos of a small collection of corkscrews that were available, and within the lot was a corkscrew that I have yet been able to identify–other than it is a corkscrew…


In e-conversations with the collector, he explained that there are no markings on the corkscrew in question…


Using photoshop and zooming in, there looks to be a 1929 Hiering patent resting under the Williamson Flash, and a 1909 Rydquist to the left of the mystery opener with sliding corkscrew.

In many ways it looks similar to an M-73, but clearly isn’t an M-73.

But, what is it?  It doesn’t appear in Ferd and Bert’s book on pocket corkscrews, and it doesn’t seem to appear in the WCC book…


It looks somewhat familiar…but…

What do you all think?  Have you seen this corkscrew before, and do you know its origins?


After emailing a picture of the corkscrew to Barry Taylor, he suggested that it might be a version of the Becker patent… Not exact, but there certainly are similarities.


Perhaps an American version of the Becker…

I will provide more information when it arrives!


the last bottle…

Two and a half decades ago, I had just finished a round of golf in Aptos, California and stopped by a small wine shop on my way back home to Santa Cruz.  Amongst the various wines available was a case and a few extra bottles of 1991 Chateau Montelena “Estate” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the lovely bride and I were only recently married at the time, and monies were tight, I had recently read a review of this particular vintage, and we knew the winery’s reputation.

From Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate back in the day…

Montelena’s incredible 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is an exceptional wine. It may be the most promising vintage among the bevy of Montelena Cabernets produced over the last two decades, rivaling even the winery’s profound 1987… The color is a dense, opaque purple. The nose offers up Chateau Montelena’s tell-tale signature – abundant, pure aromas of cassis, minerals, and spicy oak. Full-bodied, spectacularly rich, and highly extracted, with moderate to high tannin, this is a youthful, exuberant, stunning example of blockbuster Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Its inner core of cassis fruit is something to savor! It should hit its peak around the turn of the century and last for 20 years thereafter. Don’t miss it.

I bought a bottle that day, and after trying it that night, I went back and bought all that I could.

We ended up splitting the case + with a colleague, and those bottles that remained with us (at the whopping price of 24.99 a bottle)   followed us back and forth across the country; Santa Cruz to Scottsdale, Scottsdale to Boston, Boston to Chicago, Chicago to Boston, and finally to Vinalhaven.

Most had been consumed over the years, shared with friends, and opened on various special occasions.

Two days ago, as the lovely wanted to celebrate my birthday (which was yesterday) she sent me a note saying we should open the 91 Montelena for dinner.

The last bottle of 91 Montelena from that purchase 25+ years ago.

When this wine was released, it was a blockbuster cabernet; backward and tannic, but filled with fantastic flavor.

When we brought it to a restaurant several years later, in California, to celebrate some friends’ anniversary that had been married in 1991, the tannins had barely softened, and the lush blackberry flavors had become more prominent.  At the time, we offered a glass to the owner of that restaurant, and told him about our friends’ anniversary.  He returned with yet another bottle from 91, and shared it with our table.

When we opened the last bottle, two days ago, the wine was still lovely, the tannins faint and soft, the flavors a less vibrant, but still a lovely wine that very much, as we tend to say when we have a Napa cabernet that brings us back to our California wine country roots, “tastes like home.”


We opted to open the Montelena with an 1878 Tucker patent corkscrew.  It did its job fabulously.





Brimfield Day 3, back home, and back at it…

On the morning of Day 3 at Brimfield, the skies were blue, the temps a tad bit warmer, and the crowds and dealers plentiful.

The lovely headed off for home, and to run a few errands, while I headed to May’s field for a final day of corkscrewing around.

And, it was quite the crowd lined up for the 9:00 start.

No signs of the usual suspects, and I somehow got pushed towards the front of the line and was in the gates in short order.

Making my way through the field, I darted from booth to booth asking the usual question, and hearing the usual answer:

“Do you have any antique corkscrews?”






Eventually, I did find a couple worthy of purchase, and would again be on my way.

At one booth, I found an interesting figural cat.  This would be the best purchase of the day for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it was a corkscrew.

Secondly, the dealer explained that he had 80+ others at his house, and we exchanged contact information for a future visit.

Back to the cat.  It is interesting, insofar as, it is a three dimensional figural with a tail that wraps around him and would make it difficult (or at least uncomfortable, in one’s hand) to use.

Still, a cool thing.

As I made my way through the field for a second pass, and checking the time, I realized it was time that I headed back to the all-terrain-corkscrew-pursuit-vehicle, and soon enough was heading for Rockland.

A fun, albeit wet and muddy, few days in Brimfield.


rare egg beater, purchased for a collector friend


Looks remarkably like that dolphin bottle opener that turns up…




Another Syroco look-a-like brush holder


Love these


Really?  We love our dog, but really?

Also, whilst I was traipsing through May’s field, I had received an email from someone that has a collection in Connecticut, and while I will get to visit said collector in the fall, a price was agreed upon for four corkscrews, and said corkscrews are already enroute to Vinalhaven.

A nice grouping, three American pieces and one Norwegian cork puller;  apropos given our upcoming trip to Norway.


Tucker, Joop, Austin, and Jopson: The Jopson will be heading to BT, but the others will remain on Vinalhaven.

Brimfield Day 1 and 2

The lovely bride and I made our way to the airbnb we rented for the May Brimfield Show.

On the drive down, I did manage to do a little antiquing, and at one particular shop (where there are almost never corkscrews) a dealer had apparently discovered a small collection, and corkscrews could be found amongst a myriad of bottle openers they must have dominated the collection.

And, the dealer had decided he had three ranges of openers and corkscrews: the 7 dollar range, the 9 dollar range, the 15 dollar range, and the 19 dollar range.

The best of the 19 dollar range, was the purchase of the day; a hard to find  German piece that made for an excellent pre-Brimfield find!

With the little folder marked D.R.G.M No 54268 on one side and GERMANY (Edmund Jansen, circa 1896) in hand, the adventure continued.  And, the drive south and then west continued.

In the weeks before our adventure, we had kept an eye on the forecast, and were prepared for the rain that had begun to fall.  Still, the next few days that the show would be open, there was no rain in the forecast.   Getting the rainfall early, surely would make for a lovely Brimfield opening day…

The morning of day one, at the appointed time (in the wee hours of the morning), I made a couple of cups of coffee, and threw on a few extra layers, as while it wasn’t going to be raining,  it was 38 degrees!  A little cold for May.

Pulling into the parking lot, and seeing the ruts that the other cars were leaving in the field portended the future.  It was going to be a sloppy mess at Brimfield, and for the next few hours, besides hunting for corkscrews, much of the time was spent trying not to lose a shoe in the inches of mud.

The crowds were still there, but the dealers weren’t.  At Dealer’s Choice, it was a smattering of dealers, with many tables left resting on their side.  And, at Brimfield North, the field management ended up letting attendees in for free, as they too had a fraction of the normal number of dealers, and some of those being towed out, after finding themselves stuck in the mud…quite literally.

Still, there were a few corkscrews about.  But, given the lack of dealers, the plentifulness was less than plentiful.  And, running into Barry, who was also on the hunt, he too mentioned the lack of corkscrews in the fields.

So, there were no legendary finds on day one.  But, by the end of the day one, I had amassed a small pile…

In one booth, I noticed a small pile of bung corks.  Fairly large, I thought they would make nice corkscrew stands.  After a bit of negotiation, or more accurately put, surprise on the dealer’s part that I would be so willing to buy all of them, a deal was struck and 30 of these were soon in my backpack.  As we were stowing them away, the dealer reached over and handed me another bag of them.

About 2 inches in diameter at the base and tapered at the top, I plan to add metal washers to the base, so the stand won’t tip over, and it will add some height differentiation to the corkscrews in the case.

For day 2, rain was, again, not in the forecast, but we expected to be sloshing around a bit, and we dressed accordingly.  Again, it was cold, and most buyers were wearing multiple players, gloves, hats, big jackets, scarves.

When the 9:00 field opened, the sun was trying to peak through the cloud cover, and by early afternoon, while not warm, with the sun breaking through, we all seemed to sigh in collective relief and warmth.

And, while it seemed many the dealers from the two all but abandoned fields decided to descend on Heart of the Mart and Hertan’s, corkscrews worthy of purchase were few and far between.  I did pick up a couple of folding spoons with advertising, and another folding piece as well as a mechanical Anri dog stopper.

Of course, there are lots of other interesting treasures to find at Brimfield…

This woman with the snowman, seemed quite thrilled with her frosty friend!

This morning May’s field opens, and I will set out again on the hunt for the (apparently) elusive corkscrew.

You never know what might turn up next.



Brimfield begins

Well, technically Brimfield hasn’t begun yet, as it is in the wee hours of the morning, and I have yet to finished my first cup of coffee.

But, I will shortly be climbing into the x-terra, and making the 20 minute drive (from the airbnb we rented) and the hunt will begin.


The lovely also drove down, and will be joining me in the fields a little later this morning, and who knows what will turn up!

Reports of any finds later today!

Patent Power Corkscrew

From an 1884 copy of the Wright & Ditson’s Annual Illustrated Catalogue





This is the most powerful Screw ever invented. Very strong and durable, and we guarantee it will pour a larger cork with less effort than the most expensive English lever corkscrew in the market.  It requires but one motion, that is, simply turning to the right, and after the screw has entered the cork the cap strikes and acts like a jack screw in drawing the cork, so that no exertion is required.  Elegantly finished in nickle plated, with fine hard wood handle

Price, by mail                .75

Creamer’s Patent

I will preface this with an apology.  I haven’t bloggy blogged in several days, as my attention has been elsewhere.    In Maine, April is industry-wine-tasting month, and there have been tastings after tastings after tastings after tastings over the last couple of weeks.

I know, a tough job, but someone has to do it.

That said, I will admit, I spend way too much time studying the patent drawings in the back of Fred O’Leary’s tome on American corkscrews.  And, one of the drawings has always fascinated me, as it doesn’t actually show a corkscrew.  It shows some sort of bell assist, but no screw is present.

And, that is the Creamer patent of 1863:


What the patent looks like, is that the bell is supposed to be adjustable for variances in the size of the neck of the bottle.

And, in reading the patent description the bell, or holder, is intended to be adjustable.  Creamer’s patent reads:

In order to adapt the holder to the variety of sizes of bottles and their corks, I construct the frame so as to be adjustable in size at the lower end. To do this, I generally have the frame made entire, as shown in Fig. 1, and attach an additional piece, B’, in the insde to make the adjustment. (There may be two such pieces, if desired.) The adjusting piece, B’ has its lower end shaped like that of the skirt B. It is fastened to the upper part of the cylinder, so as to act as a spring. It is moved, as required, by a little handle, D, and the size of the mouth of the holder is thus larged or diminished to suit any size of the bottle.

(I know…  I am still confused)

Coincidentally, in a recent search for corkscrews online, I ran across a catalogue from Landers, Frary, and Clark (yes, that Frary) within which contained an image of the Creamer’s patent corkscrew with the patent date.

And, while it looks nothing like the patent drawing, I think the illustration might give us (collectively) something to look for, as well as pause to examine corkscrews that already exist within our respective collections.

From the illustration, there doesn’t not look to be any adjustable bell assist, but perhaps instead, with the shape of the bell assist itself, it allows for various sizes.

Do you have Creamer’s patent in your collection?