Bob’s Holy Grail…

After asking what is your corkscrew holy grail, Bob G. emailed in with is, explaining:

“My Holy Grail Corkscrew is the Philos Blake patent no. 27,665 of March 27, 1860. While it may or may not be the “first patent for a corkscrew “ it is certainly my number 1.”
Thanks Bob!
Other than a Briard (French Sheep Dog) named Philos Blake, we don’t have a Blake in the collection either.
Who else wants to chime in.  What is that ONE corkscrew that you would love to add to your collection?

The Holy Grail…

I will preface this by saying, that as I peruse the back of O’Leary and scan patent drawings of corkscrews that have still yet to have been discovered, there are countless American patented corkscrews that I would love to add to the collection.

And, over the last 20 years or so, I have been able to add several that were considered in our collective corkscrewy world, as new new discoveries.

For longtime readers, the one corkscrew that is my holy grail, will not come as a surprise.      I have known of two examples.  One a dealer friend in Connecticut told me about, years after he had sold it.  And, the other, is in Ion’s collection in Romania.  I am guessing that they didn’t make only two…

It’s a Frary, of course, and I know that someday one will present itself, and it will round out the James D. Frary corkscrew collection.


This has been on my wish list for years, and clearly continues to be.

Here it is as shown in an 1889 issue of Iron Age:

frarywithopenerCombined Corkscrew, Can-Opener, Ice Pick, &e


It is the corkscrew that I WANT in the collection…   This example is in Ion’s collection.


If any one out there has this…  Please drop me a line.

That all said, what is the ONE corkscrew that you want to add to your collection?  What is YOUR Holy Grail?  Send photos or drawings…  I will post them here.

Butte Montana Spoon…

Yesterday, I was messaging back and forth with a fellow collector, and I inquired about medicine corkscrews; specifically the Zeilin patent dosage cup corkscrew.

He responded that he had one of those folding spoons with advertising.  And, in short order a photo was sent.

When I looked at the photo, however, it had a different advertisement than what usually turns up.  I couldn’t make out all the letters in the name, and I am not near the collection, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t one I had.

I asked how much, and he asked me to make an offer.

I did.

He accepted.

So, this is on its way to Maine.  Now… what is the name on the spoon?




While clearly I can wait until it arrives, I opted to enlarge the images with photoshop, and examined what I saw.

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 5.32.06 AM

BUTTE MONTANA was fairly obvious

And clearly there is N. MAIN ST.

But…  E. ___ALLOGLY & C

With a little digging around, I found the answer.



That would be Elmer Ellsworth for those wondering about the E. E.


Thanks for the spoon James!


In Wally’s book on British Corkscrews, there is a drawing of J.E. Morris’ patented “Improved means for extracting corks or others substances from the interior of bottles or other vessels”


Interestingly, the patent number given in Wally’s book is No. 20,963, but in literature from the time, specifically an 1899 issue of The Engineer, it shows that that patent is No. 20,968.



20,968 October 20th.  J. E. Morris, Nottingham, “Uwanta lightning cork extractor.”

Of course you-want-a lightning cork extractor.

How brilliant!

Fortunately, I did want a lightning cork extractor, and when one turned up recently, I snapped it up.


It’s even marked with the patent number…





Two Tormeys

While the hunt will continue for the Tormey variant that Don shared with me the other day, the shorter Tormey showed up at the post office box yesterday, and it will soon be in the cork extractor case in the corkscrew room.

Yes, for those that haven’t visited, the corkscrews have their own room…


For those unfamiliar with the Tormey patent.  His idea was that, using the narrow end of the handle, intentionally push the cork into the bottle, and then utilizing the hooks, be able to pull it back out.


Not a method of opening a bottle of wine that I am going to try anytime soon…

But, then again, I have a few other corkscrews laying about.


From an 1892 issue of Chemist and Druggist:


F & S

Price per doz. 8s. This is One Thousand times better
than any that have gone before for the purpose.


One Thousand times better?

How bad were the previous ones that were intended for this same purpose?

F & S, would be W. B. Fordham and Sons, and in another issue of Chemist and Druggist, the advertisement for the OUTYOUCUM, also explains that the cork extractor is patented.


One thousand times better than any that have gone before, for taking Corks and parts of Corks from Bottles, Jars, &c.

Tormey x3

After posting the bloggy blog about Tormey the Lesser, I received an email from Don Bull about yet another version of the Tormey patent cork extractor.

This version, instead of two sets of hooks at the base of the shaft, was designed with a single set of hooks.  And, this one too is marked with the 1890 patent date.


If any of you have the third Tormey in your collection and are interested in parting with it.

Feel free to drop me a line.

Thanks Don!


Tormey the Lesser

In 2018, I managed to pick up a Tormey patent cork extractor at Brimfield.  It was one of the many cool pieces that were discovered that day.


It was the first time that I had ever had the opportunity to get the 1890 Tormey patent, and was excited to add it to the American patent cork extractor collection.


That said, there are two versions of the Tormey patent.  There is the larger (or longer) Tormey that is nearly 12 inches, and the smaller (or shorter) version that is closer to 9 inches.

And, given that I didn’t have Tormey the Lesser, when the opportunity presented itself, I snapped it up.

Marked, PAT. NOV. 25, 1890 on the shaft, it is a welcome addition to the collection.