Auction lots end today

Well, it is that time of year folks.  The latest collectorcorksrews.com auction lots start ending today at 1:00.  You can link to them here.

There are some great corkscrews this time around; and the bidding is already hot and heavy.  Which lots will skyrocket due to bidding wars, remains to be seen.  But, there are already a couple that are garnering lots of bids.

Be sure to check it out!  Bid high, and bid often!

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From a 1903 DUNHAM, CARRIGAN & HAYDEN CO. catalog

From an 1903 DUNHAM, CARRIGAN, & HAYDEN CO. catalog:

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The two corkscrews illustrated up top, are both Frary Corkscrews.  Interestingly, what DUNHAM, CARRIGAN, & HAYDEN CO. are calling the No. 240, wasn’t illustrated within 1889 copy of The Iron Age: A Review of the Hardware, Iron and Metal Trades, which was where Kenneth Cope found the images that identified the corkscrews as made by Frary in his book Kitchen Collectibles; this same issue of Iron Age became the basis of my article Finding Frary, which you can link to here.

There are some collectors that have asked me, was the non-hammer-non-ice-pick Frary a production item, or was it that their hammer and spike had gone missing.

Well, this clearly answers the question!  A production corkscrew, that cost 25% less than the Ice Pick and Breaker Version!

No. 240—5 inch, Self Drawing, Revolving Bell, Convex Twist, Cast Steel, Fancy Iron Handle, Full Nickel Plated .. Per Doz $6 00

241—5 inch, Same as above, with Ice Pick and Breaker …………………………. $8 00

Dozen per box

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The Peerless-less Peerless has a Peerless-less Peer

In April of last year, I managed to pick up a 1885 Weir patent, that instead of being marked Peerless with the patent date, was marked PAT. APL’D FOR.

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While the 1885 Peerless doesn’t turn up often, the PAT. APL’D FOR version was a new discovery, and made it into JM presentation on newly patent discoveries in 2016 at the AGM, as well as my best 6 for 2016.

(The PAT A’PLD For version is pictured on the left)

A neat variation of the patent, I was quite pleased to add it to the collection.

But, as of a few days ago…  the Peerless-less Peerless has a Peerless-less peer.

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This version also is marked PAT. APL’D FOR.

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And, it worked tremendously last night on a bottle of Goosecross Cabernet!

A Two-Pronged Sales Approach: Converse Cork Extractors with Advertising

Originally published in the most recent issue of The Bottle Scrue Times:

A Two-Pronged Sales Approach:

Converse Cork Extractors with Advertising

 

On May 9, 1899, Maschil D. Converse of New York, NY was awarded U.S. Patent number 624,457 for his Cork-Extractor; a rather straightforward example of the prong cork puller, his patent description explains:

Cork-extractors have been made with prongs which in use are inserted next the inner sides of the neck of the bottle on opposite sides of the cork by pressure to embrace the latter.  It is to this class of cork-extractors that my present invention relates.  In this type of cork-extractors heretofore various devices have been employed to adapt the prongs to operate on corkscrews of different diameters, involving more or less complication, consequent costliness of manufacture, and liability to derangement or breakage, and in all the flat external plane of surfaces of the blades or prongs have been arranged at right angles to the longitudinal axis or land of the handle, so that it is inconvenient to adjust the prongs astride the cork.  The objects of my present invention are to overcome these several disadvantages, to cheapen the cost of manufacture, and to provide a cork extractor of the type described that will be durable and that may expeditiously used, all of which I accomplish by means of the devices, combinations, and arrangement of parts and the forms of their construction hereinafter fully described and claimed, where in it will be found that my invention consists chiefly in first arranging the flat plane sides of the tapering prongs in planes parallel to the axis of the handle; second, in improved means of securing the prongs to the handle and in certain other particulars. 

Converse had sixteen patents, and the fact that he was a patent attorney is an interesting side note.   Until, of course, you come to find out that our man Maschil was actually the patent attorney for Lucien Mumford–whose pronged cork extractor (Patent No. 474,480, issued May 10, 1892) would have been one, “…involving more…complication, consequent costliness of manufacture, and liability to derangement or breakage…” that Converse describes in his 1899 patent.

In a 1913 catalog from the Shapleigh Hardware Company, they illustrate the Quick as a Wink (Converse patent) but also provide detailed instructions for use:

“QUICK AS A WINK”

 

 Does not Injure the Cork

Directions

Take the Puller into the hand so that the handle rests in the palm, putting the thumb on one tine and the forefinger on the other.  Adjust the tines to size of Cork by pressing thumb and forefinger together, insert the tines each side of the cork between Cork and Neck of Bottle, work the tines carefully below the bottom of the cork by pushing one tine then the other (a rocking motion).  When the tines are well below the bottom of the cork turn the Puller around and around, at the same time pulling very gently.  Around goes the Puller, Cork and all, and out rides the Cork on the tines and drops from the Puller without labor injury to cork or spilling contents.

If the cork has flattened edges out over neck of bottle push the tines through the flattened edges and operate as above; for Cork in bottles of Glue, Mucilage or other adhesive matter insert the tines in two or three different places before turning the Puller.   Per dozen.

No. 35—Tempered Blued Spring Steel Tines; Maple Handle, Mahogany Stained and Varnished; Nickel Plated Brass Case; Length Closed 4 in; Length of Handle 3 in; Weight per dozen 3 lbs………………. $ 4.00

One Dozen in a Box.

When I was first collecting, I ran across an estate sale not too far from where we were living in Chicago, and having exhausted the various rooms, I headed down to the basement.  And, in a toolbox amongst various wrenches and gadgets, I found my first Converse Cork Extractor.   When I headed over to pay for the item, I was told that it was free, and to have a good day.  Free!

Over the years, many variations of the Converse have made their way into our collection; European and British made examples, the Converse in Sterling, the unusual patent applied for example, a variant made of ivory and Sterling marked SPAULDING GORHAM, and of course the subject of this article several Converse cork extractors with advertising.

Before we get to the various advertisements that appear on the Converse, we should actually start with the Hawley Manufacturing Company of Stepney, Connecticut.  Hawley placed many ads in various newspapers at the time, looking for sales people for their product.

 

 

And, upon the sheath a few Converses have turned up that were indeed salesperson samples.

These salesperson samples, beyond providing a means through which to demonstrate the cork puller itself, they also demonstrated the usefulness of the sheath as an avenue for advertising one’s business.

The list that follows are the Converses with advertising that exist within our collection, with one addition from collector John Stanley and another known example from collector Robin Preston.

 

ALAMEDA COMPANY, WINE AND BRANDIES, 104 TREMONT STREET, BOSTON, MASS.

CH RITTER, DETROIT, MICH, SOLE PROP’RS, WESTMINSTER RYE WHISKEY (marked across the handle, rather than on the sheath)

COMPLIMENTS OF FRIEDMAN, KEILER & CO., DISTILLERS OF BROOK HILL 

CW GRIFFING, WHOLE SALE LIQUOR DEALER, FARRELL, P.A.

Arthur Lehmann & Co., used the converse for several of their products; Elmore Bourbon, Lehmann’s Rye, and Jersey Whiskey.  Lehmann also made “May Bloom”, “Richland”, and “Spring Valley.”  Could there be other Converse that carry advertisements for these brands?

ELMORE BOURBON – ARTHUR LEHMANN & CO. – PEORIA, ILL

LEHMANN’S RYE – ARTHUR LEHMANN & CO. – PEORIA, ILL.

JERSEY WHISKEY – ARTHUR LEHMANN & CO. – PEORIA,ILL (according to a past eBay sale per Robin Preston of pre-pro.com)

FRANK RIPLEY WHISKEY BEST FOR FAMILY USE, L. HEINEMAN JAMESTOWN N.Y.

GREEN VALLEY WHISKEY, CASEY BROTHERS, SCRANTON, PA (collection of John Stanley) 

HOLIHAN BROS, WHOLESALERS TO THE PEOPLE, LAWRENCE, MASS

MC CORMICK’S STRAIGHT WHISKEY 

MURRAY HILL CLUB WHISKEY, JOS. A. MAGNUS & CO, CINCINNATI, O.

The Converse Cork Extractors with advertising listed above, as mentioned, are largely examples from our own collection, and clearly the list is not exhaustive.  What others are out there?

If any of you have a Converse with different advertising, I would love to add it to the list, and keep a running inventory of Converse cork extractors with advertising.  Or, if you have a different Converse with which you would like to part, feel free to drop me a line.

didn’t you mention a trade???

In yesterday’s Brimfield recap, I did mention a trade.

Yes, a trade.

A few weeks back, Tommy picked up an Sterling and Ivory handled Gorham prong puller that resembles a Converse.  It shares many similarities with the Converse patent, with the biggest exception being that instead of the 1899 patent date, it reads STERLING 97, and SPAULDING-GORHAM–the sheath is also marked STERLING

Spaulding & Co., originally was S. Hoard & Co., but in 1920 was bought by Gorham Mfg., and changed the name to Spaulding-Gorham Inc.  The name remained until 1943, when it was changed to Spaulding & Co, in 1943.  So, we can at least but date range to the cork puller; somewhere between 1920, but before 1943.

In a 1941 Spaulding-Gorham Catalog, they feature a similar cork puller.  The lines are pretty similar, but it is described “Wine Cork Puller, sterling, and is illustrated with a Sterling handle, rather than one of Ivory and Sterling.

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Do any of you have the Spaulding-Gorham that is entirely Sterling?

After Tommy picked it up, we had discussed trade.  And, he threw out several options that would seal the deal.  That said, after I picked up the General Appliance wall mount with corkscrew, that was what he really wanted.  But, given that I had been trying to find that particular corkscrew for well-over a decade, I just didn’t want to part with it.

The conversation went back and forth over the course of the Brimfield adventure; scarcity, rarity, desirability, value, etc…  And, it continued with possible trade scenarios.

On Wednesday, Tommy presented another offer.  We had batted around a couple in the preceding days…  Folding Greeley patent and the half sized signed Clark, in exchange for the Spaulding-Gorham prongs.

I thought about it for a minute or two.  Tommy has a thing for the smaller (but not miniature) corkscrews, and I have thing for Converse and other prong pullers, so after grabbing a small Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrew from his stash and placing it next to the prongs, I agreed.

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I also promised, that should I ever begin to trade and/or sell the General Appliance wall mount, that he would get the right of first refusal.

But, given that it will surely make my best six for 2017, I am guessing it will be sticking around.  I am thinking the Spaulding-Gorham prongs will also make the best 6!

Thanks for another epic trade TC.  There have been so any over the years, and I look forward to the next one!

So, what happened at Brimfield?

I know it has been a few days since I blogged, so perhaps I should catch up.  Yes, we went to Brimfield!

Of course, I might as well fill you in on all the other minutiae…

On Saturday, the lovely personal personal trainer, headed off island, while I stayed and completed further finishing touches on the wine shop.  And, as the appropriate hour, I hopped on the boat, and headed over myself.  The afternoon, and the following day, was spent mudding and painting our mainland digs, and also a little further prep for the Brimfield adventure.

On Monday, I headed down early, to check into the house we rented for the week, and also to pick up Tommy from the airport.  Along the way, I passed countless antique stores that were all closed given the early hour.

A bit after my departure, the lovely, who painted her way out of the kitchen, headed back to the boat to pick up our friend Alison would also be joining us for the Brimfield trip.  They plan was to pick up some additional groceries (I already had the wine) and meet up at the rental house.

Tommy’s plane arrived as scheduled, and it wasn’t long before we were back at the house.  He had brought a few corkscrews for show, tell, and possibly trade.  And, I had done the same.  He is rather desirous of the Western Appliance wall mount, and Tommy had recently acquired a Gorham Sterling prongs, that I really wanted as well.  He also brought along a couple of unusual pieces that he recently picked up, one that looks to be a patent from the back of O’Leary.  I have long felt that it is a good idea, when the opportunity presents itself, to be able to handle and examine new discoveries.  What are the functions?  What does it look like in person?

A little wine was consumed, and at that point no trades had been completed.

A little later, a message came in from the lovely, that they were about 20 minutes away.  And, upon their arrival, we popped some Champagne, and toasted our third Brimfield adventure together (third with the four of us, I have been going for for a decade or so).

The evening was spent with convivial conversations, but still an early night, as we would be waking up early, for Brimfield Day One!

Brimfield Day One:

Day one started early.  By 4:30 in the morning,  Tommy and I were on the road to the show.   Sue and Alison would catch up with us later.  After parking the truck, we wished each other luck, and headed off in different directions.

There were many corkscrews to be had, but largely of the Williamson, Clough, and Walker variety.  And, of those, pretty much of the common Williamson, Clough, and Walker variety.

Over the course of the morning, Tommy and I would cross paths, and eventually ran into Barry.  For the most part, the conversation went something like,

“Anything yet.”

“Not really.”

And, we would then part ways again.

In the final field of the day, however, there were a few better corkscrews available.  Tommy picked up a Murphy button, and Barry unearthed the find of the day; an Aaron Austin Toilet Necessity in really nice condition.  As it is a double for Barry, Tommy was hot for it.  I have no doubt a deal will be made between the two of them at some point.

I had a few nice little finds over the course of the day.  Early in the morning, I happened upon a simple t-pull with brewery advertising; Rochester Brewing…  At the hefty price of 8 dollars, I figured it was a good thing.  Later the morning, I happened on the identical corkscrew with different advertising.  This time for Genesee Brewing.  It was a bit more than the Rochester, but it makes for a good pair.

There were a couple of perfumes, which will go into the lovely’s collection, a couple of mechanicals, a Nylin patent, an interesting figural fish marked DENMARK, and a really nice Anri Bacchus stopper–missing the cork.  The cork will be replaced and will remain in the collection, although there is little reason for a wine stopper in our house…

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Not a bad day one.  Of course, there were lots of other things for sale!

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In between, the lovely and Alison arrived, and we met up for a picnic lunch; tail gating on the truck.  Following lunch, they girls headed off on their own adventure, and we would get messages when they ran across a corkscrew.

With all of the fields of the day having been visited, we called it a day.  According to our various devices, it showed that Tommy and I had traversed 14.6 and 13.5 miles over the course of the morning/afternoon respectively.

As has become tradition, the evening was spent with wine and stories of the day, and a Taco Tuesday dinner.

It was, again, an early evening as Wednesday would be an early start.

Brimfield Day Two:

On day two, I headed down to the kitchen and proceeded to consume several cups of coffee.  Tommy soon came downstairs, and we were once again headed to the show.  The first field opens at 6 am, and we rolled into the parking lot at 5:54.  Hightailing it to the gate, we were walking in with the awaiting crowds, just as the field opened.

In the first aisle, I found an interesting Anri Monkey nutcracker, but the price was pretty high.  I still toyed with picking it up.  In the end, I left it behind, but let a friend who collects Anri know where it was.  I did pick up a couple of things in the field; a flash was the first purchase of the day, this was followed by an Atlas Beer opener/pencil, and this was followed by a Murphy patent bell with the spike.  I have lots and lots of Murphys, and this indeed is a double (or quadruple, if you want to get technical).  Still, it is a good thing, at a very fair price.

After a bit more hunting, I ran into Tommy a booth where a particular dealer always has corkscrews.  There was a really handsome Henshall with an interesting button and bone handle.  I got to witness Tommy’s negotiating skills in action.  Still, the dealer was a little less inclined to drop much in price, so we walked away.

We meandered a bit through other fields for the next hour, and in anticipation of the 9:00 field opening, headed over and grabbed a seat.  A few minutes later, Barry joined us, and we discussed how the show was going so far and also gave us a chance to catch up on recent finds.

As the field opened, the lovely messaged to say that she and Alison had arrived, and would head over to the field.  I had picked up a few things in my wandering; a few more perfumes, a Sterling roundlet (in not great shape), and few other interesting bits.

The 9:00 field, was eventually followed by the 12:00 field.  Not much there, and Barry and I crossed paths multiple times.  We actually found ourselves in one booth at the very same time, reaching for the very same corkscrew.  But, 35 dollars for a Hercules seemed a little steep to both of us, and similarly both of us opted to leave it behind.

There were, however, other things to buy at the various fields…

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After exhausting the various fields, Sue and Alison decided to head off to Litchfield for a bit of an adventure, and TC and I decided to head off further afield, and do a little antiquing before meeting back at the house for the nightly show and tell and wine.  This was followed by grilling a few filets, and a trade.  Yes, a trade!

Between TC and I, it was quite the pile of corkscrew and openers accumulated thus far…

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Brimfield Day Three:

Day three started, a little less early, and I drove Tommy back to the airport–amongst other corkscrews, the aforementioned Henshall was in his suitcase, as he went back to the dealer and attempted negotiating the price again.  The dealer stood firm, and Tommy sprung for it.  It is a pretty cool corkscrew, after all.

After dropping TC off, and heading back to the house to help check out, I returned to Brimfield for Mays; which opens at 9 on Thursday.  Walking the line, I didn’t see Barry.  I wondered if he had decided to skip, and start the drive to New York and then back home to Florida.

I wandered the aisles, and at the fourth tent, picked up a nice Murphy with acorn handles; one of the earlier ones.  Two aisles over, I picked up a Bridgewater patent coffin guy.  The price was fair, and I had traded my last one to Leon on his visit to the island.  It was nice to find a suitable replacement.

Not much in the way of exciting corkscrews, but a few pieces.  And, I managed to find another perfume for the lovely.

After one more traversing of the fields, I headed off to say goodbye to a few dealer friends, and hit the road for Rockland, and the following day, hopped the boat back to the island.

For those wondering, there were a few other things to buy in Brimfield on day three…

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All in all, a pretty good Brimfield adventure.

General Appliance Co.

Several years ago, I was sent a collection of past best sixes.  Not the actual corkscrews, but binders of photos and printouts of various collectors best six corkscrews from years prior.

Interestingly, some of these best sixes consisted of a single photograph, some would be a typed up report with several photos, and still others would be a little more elaborate.  As I paged through the volumes of photos, when I got to something I hadn’t seen before, I make note of it.

In one particular best six, was a fuzzy image of a wall mount corkscrew.  I scanned it, and with a little photoshop, enlarged it so I could get a clearer image.

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Okay, maybe not so clear.

But, I knew that eventually I would find a similar one.

Fortunately, there was a description of this wall mount attached to it, so I did have an idea of what I was looking for…  a “General Appliance Co.” wall mount.

After years of searching around, a General Appliance Co.” wall mount corkscrew is heading to the island…

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Marked GENERAL APPLIANCE CO.  SO. CHARLESTON W.VA. PAT. PEND.  this very well could make my best six of the year.

Of course, now the hunt for information on General Appliance Co. of So. Charleston will begin.

Let’s see if we can’t find some literature about this unusual wall mount.

Stay Tuned!

“…clever advertising novelty (patented).”

From the January 10th 1915 edition of  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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FOR sale outright, clever advertising novelty (patented), with dies complete; sells quickly; big profits; owner too far west to manufacturers: snap: sample free.  Josephine Spielbauer.  71 Columbia st., Seattle, Wash.

In doing research into the Josephine Spielbauer patent not much information or history has been uncovered.  I have since been in contact with a Spielbauer family member, and we are exchanging information.  A most recent email set about yet another search, and the above classified ad came up.

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So, Miss Josephine was selling her patent and dies as well to create the corkscrew/opener.  Could it be the “samples” that she sent out, are the few pieces that exist within our respective collections?

Interesting also to note.  The Spielbauer patent was awarded in November of 1914, by 1916 the state of Washington implemented prohibition (earlier than the rest of the country).

No more beer?  Would production of corkscrews and openers cease as well?

 

Corkscrewing Around 2016

It is New Year’s Eve, and it has been an exciting year of corkscrew collecting, corkscrew adventures, and wonderful times with the lovely personal personal trainer.

We will start ringing in the new year a little earlier this year, as the wine shop is hosting its second annual “Bubble Bath” and we will start popping corks and pouring wine at about 3 o’clock…

Tomorrow morning we will be off to Portland for a quick getaway, and then it will be back to corkscrewing around.

There have been many many many corkscrews acquired this year, some remain in the collection, some have been passed on to others, and it truly is amazing what is still out there in the wild.

There have been visits to the island from Leon,  adventures with Tommy at Brimfield, visits with Leon, Tommy, and the lovely in Chicago, adventures to Toronto to visit Joe, Monika, Ron and Marilyn, trades, deals, purchases, sales, auctions, the construction of the “corkscrew room,” the annual meetings in Nanaimo and Vancouver, multiple trips to California (with some good finds) and so many exciting adventures in between. And, there have been so many other exciting events. Truly a great year for corkscrewing.

We wish you all an upcoming year of peace, good health, love, and a few corkscrews!

three Murphys

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As mentioned in the Brimfield post, I picked up the early example of the “challenge-type” Murphy corkscrew.   It is a welcome addition to the collection, and soon enough will be added to the Murphy page.

But, for kicks, I thought I would show three Murphys together.  Each has different markings.  Two with the arched frame, and one with the squared frame.  The one on the right has marking on the handle as well.

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As you all know, I like Murphy corkscrews!

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And, while I would love to add another Ivory handled one to the collection…

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what I am really after is an unusual Murphy that has little teeth below the button.

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Do any of you have this?  I would love to trade!