Patent Power Corkscrew

From an 1884 copy of the Wright & Ditson’s Annual Illustrated Catalogue





This is the most powerful Screw ever invented. Very strong and durable, and we guarantee it will pour a larger cork with less effort than the most expensive English lever corkscrew in the market.  It requires but one motion, that is, simply turning to the right, and after the screw has entered the cork the cap strikes and acts like a jack screw in drawing the cork, so that no exertion is required.  Elegantly finished in nickle plated, with fine hard wood handle

Price, by mail                .75

Creamer’s Patent

I will preface this with an apology.  I haven’t bloggy blogged in several days, as my attention has been elsewhere.    In Maine, April is industry-wine-tasting month, and there have been tastings after tastings after tastings after tastings over the last couple of weeks.

I know, a tough job, but someone has to do it.

That said, I will admit, I spend way too much time studying the patent drawings in the back of Fred O’Leary’s tome on American corkscrews.  And, one of the drawings has always fascinated me, as it doesn’t actually show a corkscrew.  It shows some sort of bell assist, but no screw is present.

And, that is the Creamer patent of 1863:


What the patent looks like, is that the bell is supposed to be adjustable for variances in the size of the neck of the bottle.

And, in reading the patent description the bell, or holder, is intended to be adjustable.  Creamer’s patent reads:

In order to adapt the holder to the variety of sizes of bottles and their corks, I construct the frame so as to be adjustable in size at the lower end. To do this, I generally have the frame made entire, as shown in Fig. 1, and attach an additional piece, B’, in the insde to make the adjustment. (There may be two such pieces, if desired.) The adjusting piece, B’ has its lower end shaped like that of the skirt B. It is fastened to the upper part of the cylinder, so as to act as a spring. It is moved, as required, by a little handle, D, and the size of the mouth of the holder is thus larged or diminished to suit any size of the bottle.

(I know…  I am still confused)

Coincidentally, in a recent search for corkscrews online, I ran across a catalogue from Landers, Frary, and Clark (yes, that Frary) within which contained an image of the Creamer’s patent corkscrew with the patent date.

And, while it looks nothing like the patent drawing, I think the illustration might give us (collectively) something to look for, as well as pause to examine corkscrews that already exist within our respective collections.

From the illustration, there doesn’t not look to be any adjustable bell assist, but perhaps instead, with the shape of the bell assist itself, it allows for various sizes.

Do you have Creamer’s patent in your collection?


Sterling Zeilin

Over the weekend, the latest auction took place, and lots of corkscrews changed hands.

I did bid on a few, and of course, didn’t win as my bids were quickly taken out by those willing to take the price to a level that was far beyond my means.

Or, perhaps, far beyond what I thought was reasonable.

Still, I sold a few, and bought one.  Yes, I ponied up for a nice example of the Sterling Zeilin dosage cup with corkscrew.


I actually have owned several of these over the years, but they have made their way into other collectors’ collections.

That said, we have quite the collection of medicine corkscrews, and it was time to put one back into the collection.


And, since I am trying to acquire a few more examples of the Zeilin…if you have a dosage cup with corkscrew with which you would like to part feel free to drop me a line.  The one that I am really after is not in Sterling.


In O’Leary amongst the others, this version of the Zeilin is pictured and described as being marked, “ONE TEASPOONFULL PARRISHS HYPOPHOSPHITES, J.H. ZEILIN & CO. PHILA, PA”

This would make for an excellent addition to the collection!!!

Somsou & Bruneaux

The other day, on a non-ebay antique site, an interesting cork extractor had just been put up for sale.  As I looked closely, I saw the markings Bruneaux and S.G.D.G.  Or, at least most of what was supposed to be Bruneaux.


The Somsou & Bruneaux patent dates to 1863, and has shown up (not often) but with a variety of handles.  A pretty neat cork extractor, but given it is French and not American, anyone want to make a trade?



Happy Days versus Val-Ber Pull

After the Happy Days Are Here Again opener purchase, and the Vallandingham comparison, in doing a bit of research,  I found a picture of the Vallandingham cork extractor as an opener, in a 2007 issue of the Just For Openers newsletter.


It does have a similar look to the recent purchase, but it is definitely the Vallandingham, as not only does it an advertisement for VAL-BER PULL Co., OSKALOOSA, IOWA, it also carries the patent date PAT APR 7-08

The Val-Ber Pull extractor was available in 1914 in the catalogue of Iowa Drug Company, Drugs, Chemicals, Staple–Druggist Sundries, and Specialties


For $1.50 per dozen, to the local drug store.



There clearly are differences between the two pieces, but both seem to be a both a bottle opener and cork extractor:


If you have the VAL-BER-PULL opener with cork extractor, I would be happy to trade for it, or offer to buy it.

Also, TWJ is on the hunt for the Happy Days opener.  If you have that  one, drop me a lines and I will forward your contact information to Tipped Worm Johnny.

Happy Days are here Again!!!

It is that time of year!  Spring has arrived.  Baseball season is about to start.  The auction is just around the corner, and happy days are here again!!!

Not that we were having sad days, but out here on the island the skies are blue, the snow is gone, and while still chilly, Spring definitely is in the air!!!

Speaking of Happy Days, yesterday, I spotted an odd bottle opener in a lot on eBay.  And, it looked vaguely familiar.


This one…


There was a buy it now on the listing, so I snapped it up.

And, as I am want to do, I started to thumb through O’Leary, as I was going through the pages, I thought to myself…you know, it kind of looks like a 1908 Vallandingham patent.

Now, the Vallandingham patent usually turns up as an attachment to a knife kit.  So, you would think that it couldn’t be a Vallandingham.


However, when you read the 1908 Vallandingham patent description, it explains that:

“This invention relates to a cork extractor for withdrawing cork stoppers from the mouths of bottles, the object of my invention being to produce a simple, cheap, and convenient article that can be carried in the pocket, or on a key ring, and used for extracting corks from stopper bottles.”


Later, in his description here refers to the drawings explain that, “A hole 10 in the head 2 enables the extractor to be attached to a key ring or hung up in some convenient place.”

Of course, as mentioned, the Vallandingham is an 1908 patent.  And, “HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN” as the piece is marked, seems to date to post prohibition.


This opener is marked PAT PEND., could this be another patent closer to the 30’s?  What do you think?


One Quick Pressure and the Cork Is Out

From  Popular Science Monthly. v.92 1918

One Quick Pressure and the Cork Is Out

The corkscrew has at last found a rival in the cork-puller, invented by John Sheridan, of San Francisco. Two thin scissor-like blades, having upwardly inclined serrations, are thus into the cork body. When you close the blade handles, the serrated members open in wedge shape, and the cork can be pulled instantly. The inclined teeth draw the sides of the cork inward, making it smaller than the bottle mouth, so that it is easily drawn out. The puller can easily be withdrawn by again separating the handles. It leaves only a small hole.


The blades are thrust into the cork,

the handles pressed together and the cork extracted.


As the article explains this is the invention of John Sheridan, who was granted his patent ( # 1,240,610) in 1917 for his cork puller.

Within his patent description he explains the objectives of his invention:

First, to provide an improved cork puller;

Second to provide an improved cork puller arranged to engage the cork throughout the entire length thereof;

Third, to provide an improved device of the character described that will tend to draw the sides of the cork away from the sides of the orifice when the device is pulled away from the orifice;

Fourth, to provide an improved cork puller having blades with serrated edges arranged to engage a cork while inserting the deice into the cork; and

Fifth, to provide an improved device of the character described having means arranged to preserve the alignment of the blades while being inserted.



Do any of you have Sheridan’s September 18, 1917 patented cork puller? If you do, I would be interested in trading for it!

Drop me a line!

American Corkscrews with a Pivoted Lateral Projection

For your reading pleasure, I have added an article to the corkscrew research page of

Originally published in 2018 in The Bottle Scrue Times, it is now also online for those of you that haven’t seen it yet.

Check it out!

American Corkscrews with a Pivoted Lateral Projection…

And, if you have any of the cork extractors or cork pullers illustrated in the article, drop me a line!