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!

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