Walter Wilkinson

On August 18, 1891, Walter Wilkinson of Providence, Rhode Island was awarded patent # 458,067 for his “Corkscrew.”

The patent was assigned to the Gorham Manufacturing Company, and an example has been on my wishlist for some time…

Yesterday, a deal was struck, and one will soon be arriving on the island.

Best 6 for 2021 candidate? It very well could be…

The Hampton

On Saturday and Sunday, the most recent round of the auction came to a close, and there was a series of bidding wars that took place on some pretty fantastic corkscrews.

And, yes, there were the usual suspects; collectors that are pretty consistent when it comes to the auction. Of course, there were some newcomers too, new bidders jumping into the fray, and coming away with some twisted treasures for their collections.

I did bid on a few, and was taken out fairly quickly.

Still, I did manage to win one, and it will be an interesting mystery to solve.

This particular corkscrew is a roundlet, but the piece is marked “THE HAMPTON.”

It will be interesting to try and figure out the history of it.

Where “THE HAMPTON” comes from, and who made it, should make for a good story, should I be able to figure it out. And, should I be able to solve the mystery, I will share any information I uncover.

Of course, there were some fantastic corkscrews in the auction that netted out a flurry of bids, with a rare Robert Jones corkscrew being the highest price achieved, but still not making the seller’s reserve.

And, a pair of folding two-fisted drinking arms in celluloid was the highest price piece that sold and will end up with new owner.

A fun couple of days of bidding, with plenty of corkscrew-pavlovian-juices flowing at the rare and fantastic offerings.


The Haff patent corkscrew with frame arrived yesterday, and it is remarkably similar to the one that was already in the collection; with the big difference being the gauge of the spring…

The markings, size of the frame and worms are all pretty much the same.

And, after a brief exchange another collector, one Haff will remain in the collection, and the other Haff is heading to Little Rock.

Haff again…

About a year and a half ago, there was a rare example of the Edward P. Haff patented corkscrew, that was coming to close on eBay. I placed a bid, and was lucky enough to win the auction, and while the brass band on the handle, as well as the frame and spring, had been painted black–with a little paint remover, that issue was remedied.

And, the Haff made my best 6 of 2019.

Over the past few days, I have been keeping my eye on an non-eBay auction that happened to have a similar Haff patent with frame within it.

Fortunately, it looks like it won’t need any paint remover…

Of course, I wasn’t merely keeping an eye on it.

I placed a fairly fair absentee bid and hoped for the best…

Last night the auction ended…

And, the Haff lot will soon be heading to the island.

Now, I am going to work under the assumption that this Haff is marked similar to the one that I already have–and, we will wait and see when it arrives.

But, I have a feeling this might end up being tradebait…

Who is in need of an 1885/1886 Haff patent corkscrew with frame?

Whatcha got?

Benjamin N. Shelley

As mentioned in the past, Benjamin N. Shelley of Anderson, Indiana was awarded his patent for an “Improvement in Combination Tools,” on September 2, 1879.

I have long been on the hunt for this combination tool, that amongst many purposes include both a “cork-screw” and a “steak-tenderer.”

In his patent description, Shelley mentions the tool’s uses as:






glass cutter and breaker







and, putty-knife.

And, if you go to the patent description, Shelley explains the myriad of uses, and with the corkscrew in particular, he explains:

“Between AA’ of the handle is pivoted upon trunnions a corkscrew, B, which corkscrew has upon its opposite end a steel wheel, i, with a V-shaped edge to form a glass-cutter. This same end of the corkscrew is also concaved or fluted to form sharp steel edges f f, which constitutes a knife-sharpener.”

When it came to production, Shelley’s tool lacks many of those little notches that were supposed to serve as the various tools within his combination tool, and the glass-cutter-concaved-knife-sharpener opposite the corkscrew also aren’t present.

Fortunately, the corkscrew is.

And, even more fortunately, a lovely example of the 1879 patented corkscrew is now on the island.

Marked PAT. APLD. FOR and LADIES FRIEND, it is Certainly a best 6 candidate!

If you have an unusual combination tool, whether it is a ladies friend or not, with a corkscrew attached, I am definitely interested.

Drop me a line!

“The fulcrum arm is pivotally mounted between the bifurcated ends of the sheet metal lever and adapted to be swung upwardly and over the bifurcated end portions to folded position…”

From a 1914 issue of Pharmaceutical Era

A corkscrew presenting some novel features is the recent invention of John H. Kissinger, Spokane, Wash. (Patent No. 1,110,210).  As shown in the accompanying illustration,

it comprises spaced parallel members forming a lever, each of the members being curved upwardly adjacent one end having a portion extending outwardly therefrom, the forwardly extended portion having longitudinally disposed slots, the upper wall of the slots being formed with alined recesses opening in a downward direction, an arm adjustable in said slots and adapted  for interchangeable engagement with the recesses, the arm forming a fulcrum for the lever, and a corkscrew pivoted between the members rearwardly of the arm described.  The fulcrum arm is pivotally mounted between the bifurcated ends of the sheet metal lever and adapted to be swung upwardly and over the bifurcated end portions to folded position.  Suitable means are provided for retaining the device in folded position.

This would be the Kissinger patent awarded September 8, 1914.

If you have a Kissinger corkscrew, I would love to add it to the collection. Drop me a line!

“Handiest kit known…”

As advertised in the June 1931 issue of Boy’s Life:

“The Combo” only $1.00 Prepaid SIX HANDY UTENSILS IN ONE–knife, fork, spoon, can opener, corkscrew, bottle opener. Locks together in one unit 5 1/2 ” long. Chromium plated, sturdy, and substantial. Handiest kit known for tourist, camper, fisherman, hunter, guide, boy scout, trapper. Satisfaction guaranteed. Dealers write for prices. SEND YOUR DOLLAR TODAY TO The Atwood Combination Six Co., Oakland, Maine.


John King of Oakland, Maine was awarded patent #854,745 for his combined fork and spoon 24 years prior to the ad in Boy’s Life.

And, clearly there has to be a connection, as it looks as if John King’s folding knife and spoon are 2 combinations of Atwood’s Combination Six:

Fortuitously, Atwood somehow explained to John King, that he needed four more combinations…

And, included a can opener, bottle opener, and most importantly a corkscrew…

A neat addition to the collection, and a patent/patent applied for corkscrew from Maine.


The Japanese patent arrived yesterday, and it is a fascinating creation.

That said, the seller of the corkscrew happened to include a patent drawing, and instead of the 1910 patent which I assumed this would be based on the shape and the handle, they included a patent drawing from 1907.

Similar frame in the patent drawing, and no visual showing the sill-cock like handle. Still, there is a telling difference, and that is there is a little fold out lever on the shank of the 1907, which is different than the lever on the 1910.

Okay Josef, you are confusing me here. How would they look similar sans that one little difference.

The corkscrew that arrived yesterday has all kinds of Japanese markings on it, but it also has English letters that say, “SHIBATA.” And, in going back to the seller, they explained the the patent was granted to Rokujiro Shibata…

Also, on the piece it is marked: 柴田, which are the Japanese characters for… Shibata. With a little messing around with google translate, and then photoshop. Rokujiro Shibata would read as follows:

And, in going back to the 1907 and 1910 patent descriptions, both carry the same signatures. Two very similar patents, awarded to the same person.

1907 or 1910, we at least know it is a Shibata patent!

And, I am saying it is indeed the 1907. Now, to find a complete example of the 1910 patent…