Combined Watch-Key, Cork-Screw, and Watch-Opener

A couple of years ago, I picked up a corkscrew and bottle opener lot on eBay within which was an 1871 Jenner patent for his “Watch-Key, Cork-Screw, and Watch-Opener.”

It looked to be in fairly rough shape, but there were some other goodies in the lot, and the price was fair enough.

When the lot arrived, it was clear the Jenner was a little less than desired.

Or more aptly put, it was shy a few appendages…

Nicely marked on the sheath with the patent date, the Jenner should have a watch-key atop the hole though which the sheath would slide to use the corkscrews as a T pull, and on the opposite end it should have a watch-opener.

That said, according to the patent description, the watch-key is supposed to be detachable, so it would make sense that this might go missing.

Jenner’s patent description explains he was, “…making the watch-key detachable to facilitate the substitution of a new or differently sized key for a worn out or discarded one.”

And, for any of you that has ever tried to open a stubborn antique pocket watch, it is readily understood how the watch-opener might get damaged.

Interestingly, Tommy has two examples of the Jenner, one with the watch-opener angled to one side from use, and the other with the watch-opener partially broken off.

Yesterday, after a week of watching a listing on Ebay, a Jenner patent with both the watch-key and the watch-opener (and the corkscrew) was coming to a close, and given that a complete one has been on my wish list for years, I threw out a bid and hoped for the best.

And, a Louis J. Jenner patent will soon arriving on the island…

“…these little encouragers of profanity…”

From a 1907 issue of Marketing Communications


Do the men who make cork-screws take it for granted that their goods do not need advertising?  In the course of a long study of advertisements as I find them, I can truly say I have never seen this little article of daily necessity given any least attention.  Being so necessary in every house, and every house uses some sort of bottled goods, perhaps the makers and vendors off corks-screws may think it is quite superfluous to say a word about them.  They may suppose that people who sell drinks and other bottles goods will advertise cork-screws I their cuts.  But, they don’t.  There are cuts illustrating the convenience of a chafing dish for an after theater rarebit, but the young man in evening dress who is opening the ale bottle shows in his hands in the tense expression of his face, that the cork-screw he is using is of the old gimlet variety, and he must draw the cork by main strength

Some whiskeys are advertised by the picture of a bottle and a pair of hands on a background of black, and the hands are represented holding on grimly to the bottle and the old style, hard-labor cork-screw.

It makes one’s fingers ache and the wrist stretch to cracking only to look at these pictures, reminders, as they are, of days long gone when these little encouragers of profanity were all we had for the removal of corks, no matter how much we wished for the vinegar for the salad dressing, nor how frantic we might be for the catsup for the baked beans.

Now, when we have those beautiful, bright, easily managed cork-lifters (that’s just what they do) why not make an attractive girl opening a bottle of wine while she flirts with every man in sight?  It would be up with the times.  But, no doubt the vendor of drinks, and chafing dishes considers it up to the corks-screw man to advertise his own goods.

That the cork-screw is such a common necessity is no reason for not letting people know that there have been improvements in its architecture.  Thousands of things are the commonest kind of common necessities, but, still newspapers, magazines, car cards and even billboards are employed in advertising them.


From a 1905 issue of Hardware Dealer’s Magazine:

Corkscrew and Spoon Holder

A.M. Irby, Vernon Hill, Va., is placing on the market the Corkscrew and Spoon Holder, illustrated. 


This little device is made of copper wire formed to shape.  The object is to always have the spoon at hand when the contents of the bottle are to be used.  The corkscrews of course, is to be inserted in cork and left until the bottle is emptied.

The Irby is a patented corkscrew (#793,724), having been issued the patent on July 4, 1905.

At the Williamsburg ICCA AGM in 2008, each Addict was presented with a replica version of the Irby, and in the 2016 Update on American patents presented by John Morris, he showed both the replica from Williamburg and a genuine Irby that he had found.

The replica is on the right with the genuine Irby on the left.

I definitely would love to add an Addie M. Irby patent to the collection should any one out there have one!


5 years ago, I won at auction a fixed bell corkscrew on the auction. And, it remained the collection for some time, but at some point it made its way elsewhere.

Petey has had a similar corkscrew for sale on eBay for a while, and his is stamped multiple times, J.H. BUETER… I gather this is not the maker, but rather the previous owner of said corkscrew, as the example that I did have, was unmarked.

And, recently I did acquire another example of this same corkscrew. And, it too is unmarked.

Do any of you out there have this corkscrew?

If you do, is it marked?

Is marked for J.H. BUETER?

Any information would be appreciated.

High Shipping volumed are causing some delays…

As mentioned yesterday, and as most of you have surely experienced as of late, the U.S. Postal Service is having issues with the volume of packages being shipped as of recent.

Part of this is due to the holiday season, but largely this is a result of COVID-19, and packages the normally would take 2-3 days to ship within the US using priority mail, are taking weeks and longer.

The image above is a screen shot for USPS tracking for a corkscrew lot that I won on eBay in mid-December, and according to the tracking, as of this morning, the package is still in the possession of the post office in California…

That would be 19 days since the package was accepted…

I know that eventually the package will make it to Vinalhaven, but 2-3 day priority shipping is apparently 2-3 weeks at this point.

Patience, Josef, patience…

On another corkscrew note, I did pick up a couple of corkscrews yesterday… Who knows how long it will take these to arrive


While it is indeed true, that on New Year’s Day, I did NOT buy a corkscrew, in the week leading up to New Year’s, there were a couple of purchases made, and with the wackiness that is the postal service these days, a package arrived today with a piece the has the potential of making the best six of the year.

And, why not start the New Year right by adding the 1927 Walter B. Ballou patent to the collection.

Not especially interestingly mechanically with this patent, but a lovely addition to the American corkscrew patent collection.

I will add here, that the bottom jigger-like piece only holds on to the little nib at the base of the cork closure section, which is probably why it is often missing–not that the Ballou often turns up.

So… we have one best six contender… Let’s see what else we can add to the collection.

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!

The coffee is brewing, and 2020 is behind us…

And, I am hopeful for what the new year will bring!

Of course, there will be corkscrews, and at some point…

some point…

we will be able to travel again.

Although, if the projections are correct, this thing is going to be with us through Fall of 2021–and most likely beyond.

I don’t know what this will mean about our corkscrewy friends being able to meet up in person, but I will remain optimistic that eventually we will be able to raise a glass together and enjoy some convivial corkscrewing around.

It is also that time of year, that collectors from around the world are circulating their best sixes. And, it is amazing (and motivating) to see what wonderful fantastical corkscrews found their way into their respective collections.

Of course, it is January 1, and I have yet to acquire a corkscrew this year that will make the best 6 for 2021.

Better get back to the never-ending search…