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.

Let the bidding begin!

Tomorrow, the latest collectorcorkscrews.com auction opens for bidding.

Hundreds and hundreds of twisted treasures will be changing hands, and there are some juicy items in this round of the auction.

You can link to the auction site here.

Bid High! And, bid often!!!

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…

“…millions of corks that have been ruthlessly torn with a crude, brutal jerk from the mouth of loving bottles …”

From a 1902 issue of Iron and Machinery World:

A Wonderful Invention.

Some of our Japanese friends are evidently making up for lost time. One of them has just invented a new kind of cork-screw and got it patented. It only requires eight operations before you get ready to let the cork know that its time has come.

  1. You use the corkscrew as though it is an ordinary corkscrew and screw it into the cork, but you must not forget yourself and pull out the cork. That would finish everything at once and leave nothing to do for the patent. Of course you have the diagram with you with detailed instructions what to do to draw that cork.
  2. You pull No. 2 with two fingers.
  3. This has the effect that a pipe inclines No.4, the handle.
  4. Upon this something gives way. Part No. 5 now bends.
  5. You lower it
  6. Hook No. 6 to the mouth of the bottle, which presumably is a patent bottle, too, so that you can find a place to which to hook the hook to.
  7. Now press on part No. 7 and firmly hold the neck of the bottle with one hand.
  8. The serious and practical part of the work begins; you now work the handle up and down with the hand you have left.
    “And, then the cork will gradually come out.” Just think of the millions of corks that have been ruthlessly torn with a crude, brutal jerk from the mouth of loving bottles before this benevolent invention was made—Eastern World, Yokohama.

No illustration was provided in the issue of Iron and Machinery World, but could this be a description of the operation of Ian’s fantastic Japanese ratchet corkscrew patented in 1901? The patent drawing does use a hook-like end that rests on the lip of the bottle.

Translation anyone?

After digging around at the Japanese patent office, I managed to find the patent description for the 1910 Japanese patent corkscrew.

Of course, with my command of the Japanese language being nonexistent, and the patent description being in a jpg to pdf format, getting any kind of translation online is…well…not happening.

So, why not throw it out to our corkscrewing-around-bloggy-blog readers, can anyone translate the patent description that we have here?

At the very least, I would like to figure out who the patentee is. I would like to be able to name the inventor, so we can attach a name to the corkscrew.

Have at it folks!

And, thank you in advance!

1910 Japanese patent…

A couple of years ago, I was doing an appraisal of a corkscrew collection (for those that don’t know, both the lovely and I are certified appraisers), and in amongst the various pieces–the bulk of which were American, was an unusual corkscrew that was clearly broken, and also clearly of Japanese origins.

As was my practice, I took photos, and included it in the appraisal.

I was intrigued by the sillcock-like handle, and when I got back to Maine, I grabbed Don’s book on Japanese corkscrews, and thumbed through.

Surprisingly, there are a couple of corkscrews in the patent illustrations that have similar handles…

I settled on the piece being an 1910 patent, as illustrated in Bull’s book.

Of course, knowing that this broken example existed, I have been on the look out for a complete example.

And, keep in mind, with the exception of the illustration that is present in Don’s book, a complete 1910 patent has yet to turn up in any book on corkscrews.

As of last week however, after a bit of searching, a complete example is headed to the island.

When it arrives, I will provide better pictures and try to decipher all of the writing upon it.

Stay tuned.

And, if you have an antique Japanese corkscrew, drop me a line!