A few days at Brimfield…

As it usually happens, the day before Brimfield starts, we drive down, get settled in some Airbnb that we have rented, it is often an early evening, as the how begins at daybreak the following day.

With the meetings soon to be upon us, construction projects, and a few other circumstances that needed to be addressed, in the weeks proceeding Brimfield, we opted to cancel our reservations, and we were going to skip Brimfield.

Still, as we got closer to the date, and our plans began to open up a little, I came up with a new plan.  Since we would be on the mainland on the Monday before, I would get up in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, and drive down to Brimfield and get there for the opening.

We both that this was a fairly silly idea, but it is Brimfield after all.

So, with the alarm going off at 1:00 in the morning, it was coffee, shower, coffee, go…  And, away I went.  Driving the next four hours, and pulling into Brimfield with time to spare.  I found another cup of coffee, and in short order parked, and was headed out on the hunt.

Given it was early, and dark, and September, the dealers were slow to open.  Still, in that early first hour, I did pick up a couple of corkscrews.  One a simple t-pull with acorn handle, and a few minutes later an interesting corkscrew with a coin in the handle, marked Aubock (for 8 dollars).

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There were a few other corkscrews seen over the course of the morning, but these were a bit overpriced for what they were; Perille single lever, Mumford Patent (this was available in May as well, and is still with the same dealer for the same price) a fair amount of Williamsons and Cloughs, etc.

As the day wore on, and Dealer’s Choice was to open in about an hour, I ran into someone who had in his possession a collection of corkscrews.  After a bit of a give and take, and given the price was a smoking deal, we made a smoking deal.

A little money changed hands, and these were now in my backpack:  closed barrel perpetual with embossed barrel, a much less expensive Mumford patent, small French T marked Guinot, early Henshall with bone handle, and the two aforementioned corkscrews the acorn handle and the Aubock.

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Not a bad morning!  And, the drive certainly seemed worth it.

Quite pleased with myself, I headed over to Dealer’s Choice…

At Dealer’s Choice there were few corkscrews to be had, not over priced, not under priced, just few corkscrews to be had.  Still, there would be another field opening shortly, and you never know what might turn up.

After paying my entry fee, and waiting for the appropriate time, I went through the gates, and at one of my first stops was discussing cork extractors with a dealer who historically has corkscrews in his wares.  This time around he had a Tormey cork extractor; one that I have been after, and while his price was high, he is also someone that has yet another cork extractor that I definitely want.  I thought, why not pay a little extra, and grease the wheels bit for a future purchase.

As I was counting out money, another collector, that I didn’t know, happened on the same booth, and asked if the dealer had any Aubock pieces.

He didn’t.

I asked if me minded if I showed him the one I had just picked up.

He didn’t.

The other collector was thrilled, and mentioned how much one had sold on eBay.  I had told him I had seen the listing, and gave him a price.  He grabbed his wallet and started counting out the cash.  Coincidentally, what he was willing to pay for the Aubock piece, offset the extra cost of the Tormey.

After placing the Tormey in the backpack, I was once again on my way.  There were a few more corkscrews about, most notably a celluloid mermaid, which was a very fair price.

And, having been up since 1 in the morning, and having walked about 14 miles in the heat and humidity, I decided to call it a day.

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Fortunately, I did have a hotel room lined up, and headed for a much deserved glass (or two) of wine and an early dinner.

The next morning, I headed back to the show.  A field would be opening at 6 am, and then another at 9.  I would skip the afternoon field, as I wanted to get back home to Vinalhaven.

The morning field didn’t offer much, but I just took my time and hunted around.  I did pick up an interesting pocketknife that looks like a Frary design but the blades were stuck closed and a Converse for a combined price of 10 dollars.

When the 9 am field open, the first booth I walked into had a fabulous champagne knife. The dealer deals in old tools, and I was quite pleased walking away with for 15 dollars.

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I meandered through the rest of the field and did pick up some Anri stoppers for a fellow collector that wouldn’t make it to the show until Thursday.  And, did eye a couple of Sterling and stag corkscrews which were a bit too much money.

Did I mention there were antiques other than corkscrews at Brimfield?

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With a 4 hour drive ahead of me, I kept my eye on the time, and started the walk back to the car at 10:00.

Filling up with gas, I started the trek back to Rockland, and then hopped the boat to Vinalhaven.

A good day and a half at Brimfield, with a few goodies coming home with me.

But, Josef, didn’t you mentioned that the dealer had a collection? 

Indeed I did.

These didn’t fit in the backpack, and were boxed up and put into the back of the xterra.

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Okay… it was a stellar day and a half at Brimfield.

Gilchrist’s Lightning Cork Puller

From the the September 19, 1899 issue of Iron age…

The Gilchrist Lightning Cork-Puller

The Gilchrist Mfg. Company, 20 and 22 Michigan avenue, Chicago, Ill., are manufacturing the cork-puller illustrated herewith. In use the neck of the bottle is pressed firmly into the mouth of the puller. When the handle shown is pulled down the teeth in the arm work in teeth in the upright rod, causing it to resolve and screw the corkscrew into the cork, the latter being then readily extracted. Returning the handle to its former position discharges the cork.

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It will thus be perceived that one movement of the lever pulls and discharges a cork. If desired corks may be partially drawn and left in bottles. The manufactures claim that it as making a most convenient article for users and a very attractive sample-case for the trade.

Frary Sullivan Bar Screw

The other day, within the suitcase of corkscrews was what looked to be the handle and helix for a bar mount corkscrew.

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In seeking information on what bar screw this might be part of, I sent the picture to bar-screw-guru Wayne Meadows…

Within short order, he responded that it is part of the Sullivan, and sent a picture of his complete Sullivan.

Of course, the Sullivan, which is usually unmarked, on occasion has been found with a Frary signature, as Frary produced the Frary Sullivan.

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Well, since I already have the handle and helix, now we need to find the rest of Frary Sullivan.

If you have a Sullivan corkscrew with a broken helix, missing helix, or heck…if you have a complete one, I am looking and would be interested in adding it to the Frary collection!

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Drop me a line.

Suitcase of corkscrews

A week or so ago, the lovely lovely personal trainer was on the mainland, and I was on the island.  And, she sent me a message with a picture of the exterior of an antique shop, and asked if I had ever been there.

Surprisingly, I hadn’t.

I responded with that bit of information, and we made plans for a visit when the next opportunity presented itself.

Yesterday, was that opportunity.

After spending the morning working on the house on the mainland, we headed off to Camden for lunch, and then following lunch, headed further north.  As we turned off the main road, after a mile or so, there was the antique store.  And, as it was Sunday, it was closed up.

Oh well, we shall try another day.

We kept driving, and decided to explore the environs.

After a bit of driving and exploring, we looped back around, and suddenly there were two vehicles in front of the antique store.  We pulled in, and the owner opened up the doors.  He apparently had an appointment to meet with someone, but given we pulled up, he decided to open for business.

The shop certainly looked promising!

We meandered the shop, and there were some interesting items.  And, eavesdropping on his conversation a bit, it was clear he sold on eBay, and had been in business for sometime.

As I was searching, I managed to find a small pile of corkscrews and openers, and while they were mostly common, there was a Noyes patent amongst them.  I kept that one in my hand, and continued the search.

About 5 minutes later, I came around a corner, and there was the owner, asking if I had yet found any treasures.  I responded with, “one so far.”

I followed up with, “I see you have some corkscrews over there, do you have any others.”

His expression changed.

He grinned a little, and said, “well, yes…and no.”

He then proceeded to tell me the story of how years ago, someone had asked him to find some corkscrews for him, and he amassed a sizable collection.

He told me of his “Sarracho Gold Armor” corkscrew with the head that comes off, that he sold on eBay for 1800, the 5 pair of ladies legs, and how selling corkscrews got him through a long winter one year.

After a few more stories, he explained that he had a suitcase filled with them, and asked where we were from.  I explained, and he said, come back any day but Wednesday, and he would unearth them for us.

I inquired as to how far away was this suitcase.  About 700 yards, he responded.

Wishing to finish up with his other customers, he said, “Give me 5 minutes, and let me think about it.”

Then, “Okay, let me close up the doors, and then follow me.”

He climbed into his truck.  And, we climbed into our own, and followed him to his house.

In the garage, after moving a couple of chairs, and stepping over a lawnmower, under a workbench was a large suitcase.  If it was full, it would be pretty heavy.

He picked it up with little effort, and then handed it to me.  “Go put that on the tailgate of my truck,” he said.   “That will be our office.”

I put the suitcase down, and clicked one half of the lock.  He clicked the other, and with anticipation I opened the lid.

Yes, it was a suitcase of corkscrews!


I went through the corkscrews, and we discussed how he amassed the collection, and how he has sold off the best stuff.   Still, there were a couple of treasures within the suitcase.  And, I did buy four.

We also exchanged information, and he promised to call when he finds others.

A fun adventure, and a terrific find by the lovely lovely.

BALLET-CORKSEREWS

 

I will preface this by saying, if you are going to hire an engraver, you might want to be sure that they know how to spell.

Just sayin’

The Manufacture of Ballet-Corkscrews corkscrew arrived the other day, and while there are a couple of hairlines to the celluloid, the corkscrew is pretty fantastic.

Although, in looking closely (really closely) at the writing across the advertising plates it looks as if the piece is marked CORKSEREWS rather than CORKSCREWS.

Now, clearly they had a C nearby, as CORKSEREWS starts with a C, and MANUFACTURE also has a C.

And, as they got to the end of the plate, knowing that were trying to make CORKSCREW (or more aptly CORKSEREW) plural, but were running out of room, the S is a bit smaller, but they still made if fit.

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Even with the replacing the C with an E, the corkscrew is pretty darn awesome, and has the potential of making the best 6 of the year.

I have yet to clean the shank of the helix up yet, but it does look to have a maker’s mark. I will report back here once I figure that one out.

More corkscrew news as it happens.  Stay tuned!

Steinwender & Sellner

A couple of weeks ago, I found a non-ebay online auction lot, that I found pretty interesting.  And, over the following days, I would go back and see how the bidding was going.

After registering for the auction, I placed a bid, and went back to business at hand.

At the end of the first week, I was the high bidder, and actually the only bidder.  As we got closer to the auction close, a few more bids were placed, but I was still in the lead.

My initial bid was not particularly high, but obviously higher than others that had also seen the auction.

With about 8 hours until the auction close, and knowing that there were 8 other bids, I went back to the auction lot, and upped my bid quite a bit, hoping to ensure that the lot would indeed be heading to Vinalhaven.

Last night the auction ended, and this morning I got the confirmation email.  I had indeed won.  And, the additional higher bid wasn’t necessary, the lot ended at a whopping $27.50 and with a 10% auctioneer’s fee, just over 30 bucks.

The auction lot, was billed as “Metal cork screw, “Steinwerder & Sellner”, St. Louis”

And, the metal corkscrew?

It is a Brangs patent, and it carries advertising, not for Steinwerder & Sellner of St Louis, but for Steinwender & Sellner of St. Louis

And, who is Steinwender and Sellner?

That would be Gustav A. Steinwender and Christian Albert Sellner; wine, beer, and liquor importers and dealers in St. Louis

 

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Steinwender and Sellner, was established in 1863, and the ads above date to 1891 and appeared in the St. Louis Dispatch.

Of course, the Brangs is the Jules Brangs’ French Patent Number 122,704 of April 23, 1878, which is a hard to find piece.  But, with the additional advertising, it is pretty darn cool.

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I will add pictures, sans the Cory Craig, Auctioneer watermark, when it arrives in a few days.

A really neat little corkscrew that I have tried to acquire several times to no avail.

Best 6?  It certainly will be in contention!

 

 

Buffalo Co-Operative Brewing Co.

I picked up a nice little Williamson roundlet corkscrew yesterday on our second favorite auction site.

And, while there is some finish loss on the bottle, it has a pretty cool advertising place for Buffalo Co-Operative Brewing Co.

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This badge reads:

SPECIAL BREW

EXTRA 6

BUFFALO CO-OPERATIVE

BREWING CO.

 

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And, while not described in the listing, there is a hole in the top for a stanhope.  We can (stan) hope that it is still present.

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I will provide updates on the stanhope or not stanhope when it arrives in a couple of days.

A neat little addition to the collection.

On another corkscrew note, I am awaiting a second shipment of corkscrew stands so we can continue filling the various corkscrew cases that are now housed in the corkscrew room.

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More pictures to follow, as the corkscrews get put in place…

Of course,  with the various cases, it is clear that I need more corkscrews.  Feel free to send pictures of corkscrews you have for trade!!!

 

Van Zandt Re-Vizited

While the deal for the Van Zandt patented cork pull was struck last week, the agreed upon price and subsequent payment needed to be completed through the U.S. Postal Service with a USPS Postal Order.  And, with holidays and Sundays, and then the lovely and I heading off  for a get away, the Van Zandt didn’t make it into my hands until yesterday.

Opening up the package, and looking at the piece, I am beyond pleased.  The mechanism works just as Van Zandt describes in his patent description, and oddly enough, functions very much like the Call’s Ideal that made my best 6 for last year.

I haven’t tried to clean the piece up (yet) but as mentioned the other day, this should make the best 6, and perhaps the best cork puller / corkscrew

of the year.

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I have done a bit of research into Van Zandt, and have yet to unearth anything other than the patent.  The hunt will continue, as will the hunt for antique corkscrews.

Stay tuned!

 

Best 1 of 6 of 2018…

It is early in the year, and there is much hunting and collecting to take place, but over the last couple of days a deal was struck for a cork puller that easily will make the best six of 2018.

If over the next 12 months, I manage to find 6 pieces that are rarer, and it doesn’t make the list, well…that would be a good problem to have.

As mentioned in the past, I spend lots of time looking at O’Leary’s tome on American patented corkscrews.  And, while I haven’t memorized every patent drawing in the back of his book, there are some that I indeed have.   Still, only going by a patent drawing isn’t really enough.  From drawing to manufacture things can change.  So, it really really really helps, when suddenly you are presented with a previously yet discovered cork puller that is clearly marked with a patent date.

The question of who?, what? when?,  is that really what it was intended for?, is answered pretty quickly with a quick  glance in the back of O’Leary.  This, of course, is often followed by visit to google patents.

Now, this very well may exist within another collector’s collection, but given it isn’t in O’Leary (at least the front) and given that it has yet to appear in any of the patent updates, I will say “new discovery.”   If it has been previously found, I will happily say, “it is a rare thing.”

“So, what did you find Josef?”  You are asking yourself

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the 1867 James D. Van Zandt patent for an Improved Cork Pull.

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Marked “PATENT JULY 30, 1867,” within short order, I found the patent drawing on page 181 of O’Leary.

 

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And, after checking on Google Patents, found even more…

Van Zandt’s patent description explains:

“The operation is as follows:  The cork-drawer being in the position indicated in Fig. I, it is forced down into the centre of the cork until the swing-bar has been pushed beyond the bottom of the cork, when, on drawing up the cork-drawer, the friction of the cork on the sliding prong d causes it to descend, b which the swing-bar is placed in a right-angled position to the prongs, and the cork follows the instrument as it is drawn out of the bottle.  The cork being drawn, it is easily disengaged from the prongs by sliding back the prong d by means of the thumb-piee and drawing it off, when the cork-drawer is again ready for use.”

The Improved Cork Pull will arrive in a couple of days, and I will add better pictures when it does.   Definitely a Best 6 candidate!  And, a fantastic addition to the collection.

In the meantime, the lovely and I are heading to Vermont for a quick getaway tomorrow… could the best 2 or 3 of 6 of 2018 be found in our adventures?

Stay tuned…