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!



Another Chinnock corkscrew…

About a dozen years ago, I received a message from Mark W., who had found a corkscrew in the wild, but was unsure of what it was.  He sent a picture, and it looked vaguely familiar.

Given I was at home at the time, I grabbed Ferd’s book on mechanical corkscrews, and there it was.

I texted back.  “Buy it!”

He did.

What he had found was a rare Chinnock.  In the World Class Corkscrews book, a similar one is pictured, upper right, page 114.


Mark’s was slightly different, with wooden handle, and unfortunately with some minor damage.  Still, it was a very cool find.

Mark’s find, nor the piece pictured from the World Class book, is marked with Chinnock’s patent information, but it is shown as a Chinnock in the Russell & Erwin catalog, as the text from the book explains.

Still, having had that exchange, and noticing that the small metal handle from the example in the Mechanical book,  I took note.

The other day, the two pillar type of Chinnock turned up on a non-eBay site with a familiar looking handle.  The same handle that is on the Chinnock in the Mechanical books and the World Class book (I should note, the the Chinnock that appears in both books is the same corkscrew)

Unmarked, it appears to be the missing link between the Chinnock that bears the patent date on the handle, and the squat version with the same same handle.


That said, I have three other variations of the Chinnock.  The same two-pillar frame with a wooden handle incised with the patent date, a barrel with an oval opening with the patent date, and a barrel with a rectangular opening with the patent date.

The latest Chinnock, is a nice addition to the collection…

Of course, if we could add the squat barrel example with brass button, it would make for a great fivesome!

If you have any corkscrew marked Chinnock or Chinnock’s with patent information, feel free to drop me a line

And, if you have the squat barrel Chinnock with a metal OR wood handle, let’s make a deal!

Clough’s Cork Handles

From an 1876 issue of The Publisher’s Weekly

“CLOUGH’s CORK-HANDLE. The latest article designed for a permanent cork – handle is Clough’s Cork-Handle, patented April 1975 and sold by R.G. Hutchinson 44 Malden lane.


The price of this little article will ultimately insure its universal use, it being sold at $1.50 per gross for all sizes. The Ne plus ultra corkscrew is the neatest as well as simplest, best, and cheapest earticle of the kind in the market. Price-list on application.”

Several years ago, I found a small box of Clough’s Cork Handles…


That would be Clough’s patent (No. 161,755).

And, at some point, I traded it away to Ron MacLean.

In a recent deal, the Clough’s Cork Handle box, containing Clough’s Cork Handles, are heading back to Vinalhaven.


Thanks for the deal Ron.

I actually can’t remember what I got in exchange for these in our initial trade, but I am happy to have them back in the collection!


The “NIFF-T” Hammer Kit


While you will recognize this tool kit, as the L.E.B. Pocket Tool Kit with Cork Puller, the following advertisement comes from a 1913 issue of the The Shepherd’s Journal:

The “NIFF-T” Hammer Kit

is an intensely practical tool set to have about the house, the office desk or in your camping outfit, put one in your automobile.  There will be dozens of times you will bless the day you bought it.

  1. The Saw.—Best quality of steel, strong enough to saw a two inch plank or a ham bone, will do all the work that the average flat dweller, traveling man, camper or those wh live in hotels have occasion to do.
  2. The Cork Puller.—Worth the price alone, it’s the only cork puller that will pull the cork without mutilating it or shoving it into the bottle, bit or little they come out in a jiffy, shove the point between the cork and the neck of the bottle, turn hook under the bottom of the cork then pull, out she comes in a jiffy, clean as a whistle.
  3. The Chisel.—How often have you had occasion to do a little repair job, to fix that door that will not stay shut, dozens of uses for a chisel that we need not suggest to you.nifft1
  4. The Tack Claw.—It will not pull spikes, but it will open a cigar box or pull that exasperating nail that’s been threatening dozens of times to tear your clothes.
  5. The Screw Driver—It would Insult our intelligence to suggest its use, but how often have you let a little repair job that’s been making you testy slide because you didn’t hve a screw driver handy.  Here is one right in the handle.
  6. The Reamer.—Some people don’t know what a handy tool a reamer is. It has a hardened cutting edge that will cut metal, you can enlarge holes in either wood, meral, or leather and shave off the tiniest piece evenly all around, even use it as a counter sink to set that screw head into the wood.
  7. The Stiletto.—To punch holes in leather, linens, wood or metal, and it makes a splendid ice pick.

8 and 9.  The Brad-Alls.—Both of these make fine screw drivers for small work, particularly good to fix those troublesome eyeglasses, use them instead of an auger to start screws in hard wood.

The “Niff-T” Hammer Kit and the “Shepherd’s Journal” for one year $1.25 postpaid.  If you have just subscribed for the “Journal,” get this handy tool and have your subscription dated one year.