House Clean-out

Over the last week, there have been some interesting corkscrew lots put up on eBay–with some fair buy it now prices.

I missed out on a couple of them, but one lot had a Von zur Gathen folding bell. Another, for reasons unknown was listed as something other than corkscrews, and contained a Tucker.

And, there were others; two different lots contained at least one corkscrew from Troy. And, the lot I picked up had both a Curley and a Hicks and Reynolds

Converses, bottle roundlet, folding bows, it will be an interesting package to go through when it arrives.

Fun story, the seller explained that she got all of the corkscrews as part of a house clean-out she was hired to do.

If you have a house that needs cleaning out that contains a collection of antique corkscrews…

Drop me a line!


Aquos Distilled Water Company

From a 1916 issue of the Indianapolis Star.

Aquos Distilled Water is Used for a Wide Variety of Purposes

Distilled water answers a constantly increasing number of needs in the home, in commerce and in industry, according to the officers of the Aquos Distilled Water Company, 420-West St. Clair street.

Its popularity as a table water grows because of its unexcelled purity and the convenient form of bottles in which it is delivered.  It is an indispensable article in the sickroom, the nursery and the hospital.  It is very generally used for drinking purposes in offices and business buildings.

It serves many uses in commercial and industrial lines.  Druggists, manufacturing chemist and pharmaceutical homes must have it.  Storage battery companies use it.  It is a necessary part of the manufacture of mirrors and it enters into the plating of metals.

Useful In Industries

Photographers find distilled water preferable for a number of their operations and in other lines where the chemical properties of water given the perfection of processes the distilled kind is universally preferred.

“The Aquos Distilled Water Company is twelve years old.” Said I. C. Frush, president and general manager.  “Our business has grown rapidly, owing to the quality of our service and the growing appreciation of the value of distilled water for a variety of purposes.  Each year more families adopt Aquos water for table use, because of the assurance that they will be free from the diseases that may be introduced through water.

“Aquos distilled water is delivered to houses in cases of dozen half-gallon bottles, at a cost of 75 cents a dozen, with a rental charge of 50 cents for the bottles.  Within the ‘mile square’ downtown we maintain a cooler service for offices and buildings, icing the cooler daily and supplying five-gallon bottles of water as frequently as they are needed.  The charge for the cooler service is $2 a month, with ta charge of 50 cents for each five-gallon bottle of water.’

Ginger Ale in Demand.

“In addition to the distillation of water for domestic and commercial uses, our company manufactures Aquos ginger ale and a line of bottled sodas.  The ginger ale is one of our specialties and the growth of the demand for it shows, in our opinion, that it meets the most exacting judgement of what a palatable and beneficial ginger ale should be.  Too many persons have formed an impression of ginger ale as something biting and unpalatable, but they are familiar only with improper compounds which are ginger ale in name only.

“We claim for Aquos ginger ale that it is, “imported in quality, domestic in price,” and the growing preference for it sustains our contention.  It is mile, exceedingly pleasant to the taste, absolutely pure in ingredients, and really quenches the thirst.  It has a tonic quality that makes it an agreeable and beneficial beverage for some disorders of the stomach and alimentary tract.”

The Aquos company operates two stills.  Recently it installed a new bottle washing machine.

Recently, a hook cork puller made its way into the collection that carries an advertisement for both Aquos Distilled Water and Jason Mineral Water…

A neat addition to the collection!

Can opener, Tack Hammer, Screwdriver, and fold-out-lock-in-place corkscrew

The combination tool with corkscrew mentioned the other day arrived. And, it is a very cool addition to the collection.

When I first saw this piece, I knew it was unusual, and when I saw that it was marked PAT. PEND, I knew that I had to acquire it.

Of course, the next question, is, “Was this ever awarded a patent?”

Sending images to a few fellow collectors, the responses have been; never seen it, cool, and unusual. And, of course the Toolman, followed up with a patent number where the drawing has some similarities. Thanks Bob!

Not sure if this is actually the Shaffer, but it certainly does have a similar look.

That said the hunt for the patent will continue.

Any thoughts?


On Apr. 29, 1890, Abram C. Monfort of Pawtucket, RI was awarded patent # 426,510 for his “Champagne or Mineral Tap.”

As the story goes, well over a decade ago, I was at Brimfield, and was traversing the fields, and I saw an unusual shaped champagne tap. The price wasn’t super high, but high enough that I balked, and left it behind. Just prior to the next field opening, I ran into Barry to ask him about this unusual champagne tap.

He responded with, you should have snapped that up, it is a rare American patent. Apparently BT, didn’t balk at the price, and I believe it made his best 6 that year. And, I kicked myself a little bit, for not trusting my instincts of seeing something that was unusual and pulling the trigger.

Several years later, II managed to acquire a Monfort, without balking at the price, and it resides in the collection.

That said, the other day, a pair of champagne taps were listed on eBay, and one of the shapes looked very familiar.

And, now a second Monfort is heading to the island.

Now, I don’t really need two, so if any of you need to add a Monfort to your collection, just let me know….

Another Curley Corkscrew…

The other day, I struck a deal for an unusual Curley patent corkscrew.

While it is not dissimilar to other Curley’s in the collection, this one has a unique marking.

In comparing it with others in the collection, the one that comes closest is the Curley that has the date embossed in the center of the handle with the CURLEY TROY NY on the opposite.

Of course, with most of the embossed Curleys they actually are marked with the wrong date, of MARCH 22, 84, even though the patent was awarded a month later on April. 22, 1884.

This version, isn’t marked across the handle, and instead is incised with the correct patent date around the bell.

A neat addition to the Curley collection!

You’re bidding on a(n) Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew

“You’re bidding on  a(n) Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew…”

So read the eBay listing…

And, I was…

For 10 days…

I was the first bidder at 9.99, and when it received a second bid, put myself in the lead again.

And, when there was a third and fourth bid, I upped the ante once more, and was in the lead, for the rest of the 10 days.

Until, yesterday…when said auction was set to end.

As often the case, when something unusual comes up for auction, there is a flurry of bids, and sometimes snipe-bids, that come through in the closing moments.

And, truth be told, my high bid was taken out, for a brief time, but I too had set up a snipe bid for those same closing moments; not wanting to show my cards to early, I knew the flurry was coming, and hoped that MY price would top THEIR bid.

As it happened, it did. The flurry came, and the “Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew” will soon be added to the collection.

A fascinating piece, it features a corkscrew that folds out and locks into place, and is a can opener, hammer, and screwdriver as well.

And, it is marked PAT. PEND.

Certainly a best 6 candidate, and I will try and figure out if this is indeed a patent.

When it arrives, I will take better photos, and post them here.

Stay tuned!

Schlitz Brew’g Co.

A few years ago (seven actually) at the Just for Openers meeting, I acquired from TWJ an oversized Henshall-Murphy-like button corkscrew that had advertising for SCHLITZ BREW’G CO. ST. PAUL.

A neat addition to the collection, I was quite pleased to acquire it.

At some point along the way, however, the Schlitz ended up in another collector’s collection. And, I have been on the hunt for one ever since.

Just the other day, a deal was struck for another Schlitz to be the replacement …

There is a second version of this type of corkscrew with an advertisement for BERGNER & ENGEL, PHILA . If anyone would like to make a trade, I would love to add that one to the collection as well.