The Mysterious Pretorius returns…

Six years ago, or so, I was wandering through an antique mall in Long Beach, California, when I turned and saw an interesting multitool with a corkscrew. Actually, it was a box containing a multitool, but given that the item was clearly described on the box, I was hopeful that a corkscrew was attached.

There was. Y

ou can read that blog from 6 years ago here.

As mentioned in the blog, this 8 in 1 opener (with corkscrew) had appeared in one of John’s updates on O’Leary– and, ultimately the boxed example that I had discovered in 2016 ended up in Ion’s collection.

That said, as a marked PAT. PEND. marked piece, I knew that I would need to hunt another 8 in 1 opener down, and as of yesterday another example of the mysterious Pretorius multitool is heading to the island.

If you do choose to link to the blog from 6 years ago, you will note that there were instructions inside the box that outlined how to use the 8 in 1 tool.

And, with a little digging around, I found an advertisement from a 1950 issue of Popular Science. So, now we have a date of production of the Pretorious.

Can Opener Does Eight Jobs.

Bristling with attachments, this new gadget is an armament for assault on eight different kinds of containers.  It pries off caps and lids; it helps turn stubborn screw caps of all sizes; it shears off can tops; and it punches milk and beer cans.  Priced at 2.95 by Pretorius Approved Products of Glendale, Calif. 

Interesting to note, it doesn’t say anthing about assaulting wine corks…

There is firstly to be considered the saving of corks—an important matter in these days…



A corkscrew which will perform its function of extraction without spoiling the cork or making a whole in it is a novelty which should make a wide appeal.  There is firstly to be considered the saving of corks—an important matter in these days—and , in addition to this, it is claimed that the patent “ Stap corkscrew “ illustrated avoids all uncessary shaking of the bottle—a point which is of considerable importance in dealing with certain wines.  In use the metal strips are pushed down gently with a rocking movement between the cork and the bottle neck.  The cork is then extracted by pulling up gently and at the same time turning the screw.  The appliance is light in weight and can be easily packed.  The invention is handled in this country my Messrs Leverlite Lamps, 23A Old Bond Street, London W.I.


Lewis & Conger

From a 1929 issue of House and Garden

A MOST convenient little contrivance is my new Corkscrew-Bottle Capper.  It screws to the wall.  The corkscrew drops down to pull the cork.  Below it is a bottle capper and that clips off any cap in next to no time. At the bottom is a towel hook.  Made of chromium plate which never tarnishes.  I have one in my kitchen and another in the pantry.  Only $1.25.

And, Janet Gray included her signature…

Brimfield: Day One

I will preface this by saying, we have been in Holland, MA for two days already, having escaped the island for a few days before the Brimfield show would be starting.

Given this is July, we expected to have a small dealer turn out, as is often the case in July. Still, I arrived around daybreak and started the search.

In short order, I was flagged down by a dealer friend that had happened upon a zig-zag without the caplifters; a deal was struck in short order, and I was off again.

Then there was a Watkins Glen flash for 5 dollars.

And, then a Niagara flash for 3 dollars

At one booth, there was a familar looking direct pull, and after closer look, it was indeed an advertisement for Bartholomay Brewing out of Rochester, and at 10 dollars, I couldn’t not buy it.

Around 10, the lovely lovely was going to arrive at the fields for a bit of hunting, and I focused the hunt near where she would be parking. And, in one booth, was a Chippendale patent cigar cutter / corkscrew.

Now, I already have a Chippendale in the collection, but this is not a corkscrew that often turns up, and the price was beyond fair…and it is the first time I have seen one available in the wild.

Thus far, it was the best corkscew at the show.

After meeting up with the lovely, we sauntered down to a couple of fields that would be opening shortly, and there was a purchase made of a Sterling handled opener with corkscrew and a Heiring patent that advertises Golden Wedding Whiskey…

This trip is going to be short, and while we will be at the fields tomorrow, we will be heading back to Maine in the late morning.

Still, a great couple of days, and a Chippendale! A good trip to the Brim…

Oh… there were some other things to buy at Brimfield:


From an 1895 issue of Hardware Dealers’ Magazine


Cork Pullers

The Erie Specialty Co., Erie, Pa., makes a specialty of of the manufacture of Walker’s Cork Screws and Cork Pullers.

We illustrate some of their latest patterns of cork pullers, which are standard goods by the trade.

The “Quick and Easy” cork puller has


an improved bottle holder, which avoids breaking the bottles, being provided with a rubber socket to hold the bottle. A forward movement of the lever draws the cork.


while the reverse moment throws the cork off

Fig. 2 shows the crown and seal lifter at-


tachment and position of the lever after the cork is drawn. This style cuts the wires when pulling the cork. Walker’s improved cork puller is espe-


cially adapted for family use, its low price and easy operation making it a popular seller.

This cork puller is now furnished with their new, quick, three-turn screw. They are supplied either with or without table clamp as desired.

The “Samson” Cork Puller is well and favorably known to the trade, having stood the test of years. This style is also now furnished with their new quick screw, and other improvements, which will still further commend it to the trade.

Halfway through…

I know it is a little early, as there are another 6 months ahead of us in the corkscrew collecting fiscal year, but I am starting to consider what corkscrews could make the best 6 at this point.

Of course, with 6 months ahead of us, the list could be entirely different come December, and undoubtedly it will. But, you just never know.

July Brimfield, September Brimfield, random amazingness, trades, clandestine deals, JFO meeting…there will be opportunties in the near future do acquire a few more twisted treasures, but here are a few that would make the list at the halfway point in the year:

Of course there have been others, but as of July 1, I would probably lean towards:

Bigelow & Brown aluminum bottle roundlet

Blantz patent

Pie Crimper / Can Opener with corkscrew (PAT APL’D FOR)

Matching Can opener wihout Pie Crimper with corkscrew (PAT APL’D FOR)

Korn’s Patent

Fancy Walker

I will add that this list is subject to change for a variety of reasons: something shiny, some new discovery, a second cup of coffee…

Still, What are your best discoveries in the first six months of this year? Feel free to send pictures!

Or, what is your best find so far this year. I will happily throw them on the bloggy blog.