Halfway through 2018…

Well, it is mid-June, and the tourist season is kicking off in Maine.  The island’s population is slowing growing, but by the beginning of July it will be booming.  It is great to have old friends returning, and it seems like each day, there are more summer folk, and day trippers, arriving on the ferry.

Of course, it is around this time of year that plans for the ICCA and CCCC AGM’s get finalized.  This year, we are hosting both clubs, and we are excited to share Maine with all the attendees, but moreover, to host those that are attending on the island we call home.



And, given that we are halfway through 2018, I was thinking about the best 6 corkscrews thus far for 2018.  While corkscrew news has been a little slow as of the last couple of weeks, it has been a pretty good year so far in acquiring those twisted treasures we covet.

Some of the corkscrews uncovered this year have already been moved on to other collectors, but here is what my best 6 would be, should we have to make a decision at this very moment:

Van Zandt, Sterling Napier Hollweg, Silver Syroco Knight, Rees Patent, Brown Patent, Monfort Patent…

I did pick up a Jenner patent as mentioned in a past blog, but given it is missing a portion, it is more of a place holder waiting for a complete example.

Of course, we still have half a year to go, and you never know what might turn up next.

The hunt will continue, and we look forward to seeing all of you in Maine.


A Combination Cork Screw, Bottle Opener, and Mechanical Pencil

From the September 11, 1943 issue of, The Billboard”



A Combination Cork Screw, Bottle Opener and Mechanical Pencil—Attractively Mounted on Handsome Easel-Back Counter Display Card—12 Pencils to the Card.

With a shortage of Cork Screws and Bottle Openers, you’ll find this 3-in-1 Pencil an especially fast seller. Attractive in color effect, well made, with repelling and expelling lead pencil action. Big retail value at $1.00. Card mounting boosts sales action Everybody buys!

$5.40 PER DOZ. $63.00 PER GROSS

Enclose 25% deposit—balance O. O. D., F. O. B. Chicago



Of course, we knew the Ever-Ready 3-in-1, as the 1938 Ruby patent…

another lot

The other day, a small lot of corkscrews was listed on eBay with a new (and improved) option that eBay has apparently implemented.  Instead of a Buy it Now or Best Offer, there is now an option of bidding or making an offer.

When the lot came up, I saw the opening bid, and offered for a little more than half on this particular lot.  And, the seller responded a few hours later, rejecting said offer.  Figuring, I needed a Walker Peg and Worm–one of the corkscrews in the lot–I upped my offer to his opening bid.  Doing so, didn’t win the lot.  It merely stayed there still up for bid.

This morning, the seller countered my offer, but the price was still fair, and a deal was agreed upon.


There were no details given about the lot; whether the roundlet is sterling, the Williamson bottle roundlet is Sterling or has advertising, if the Clough has advertising, or if the Converse has advertising on it’s sheath, but it was the peg and worm that I really wanted.

Of course, what I really need is a spare peg for a Walker Peg and Worm, as I have an interesting advertising version of the Walker lacking it’s peg.


Not a super rare addition to the collection, and it is the change in eBay’s approach that more interesting here.  Will more sellers start to take offers on what would be auctions?

taking a chance on a lot

The other day, a lot of openers with a few corkscrews was put up with a buy it now on eBay.  The price, wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t crazy money either.

Within the lot was several advertising corkscrews, a peg and worm, an interesting looking roundlet, and a piece that looked like a Jenner patent missing a few of its appendages.

I thought about it briefly, and figured, I might as well go for it.


The lot arrived yesterday in the mail, and there were some interesting pieces within the lot.  The Jenner, is indeed a Jenner with the 1871 patent date, but missing a few bits.  And, the peg and worm is interesting as it has its leather case.  My favorite piece, however is the roundlet.   It is the smallest roundlet I have ever seen, and it signed F & B Sterling.

Had the Jenner been complete, it would have been the star.  But for now, it will be a place holder until a complete one turns up.

Was the lot worth the price of admission?  Definitely worth it.  That said, if anyone out there has a complete 1871 Jenner patent, I am on the hunt for one.  Feel free to drop me a line.  Heck, if you have a complete one that is has a broken worm, I would be interested : )

13 years, and an alligator…

Time sure flies.  13 years ago, I started the blog.  Initially, it was hosted on MSN, but at some point, MSN migrated their blogs to wordpress.

Unfortunately, when they made that migration, photos prior to the new host site were deleted.  So, if one was to go to an old post from 2005 and 2006, there is verbiage, but no photos.  Still, there have been quite a few blog entries over 13 years, and I promise to keep it going.

As it happened, recently I won an non-eBay auction lot,  with a carved alligator handle corkscrew.  After confirmation that I had won, and promptly sending payment, I was informed that the auctioneer’s preferred shipper would arrange for shipping and provide an invoice for shipping.

I received the invoice for 40 dollars.

40 dollars for shipping???

For a corkscrew that weighs about 8 oz.

I called the aforementioned preferred shipper, and questioned their rationale behind charging 40 dollars (it was actually 39, but still).

A couple of days later, I received a revised invoice.

The package arrived yesterday, and the corkscrew was well packaged; box, paper, bubble wrap, etc., and it was a good thing, as box itself, had been crushed a bit.


The alligator remained unscathed.  And, it is a handsome little corkscrew, and a nice addition to the corkscrew swamp.



Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew

As mentioned the other day, there are two known versions of the Rees patent.  The long handled one, that will soon be arriving on the island, and the Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew.


I don’t have this piece, but if anyone does have a Rees Vest Fulcrum Corkscrew, I would happily make an offer–trade or buy.

In 1907, Rees was definitely making an effort to get his corkscrew to market.

In both newspapers and magazines from that timeframe, the following ad appears:


There were other advertisements that were a bit more concise, but added the tagline, “It’s in the Fulcrum.”

Visiting the R. Murphy Knife Company

As you all know, I am a little obsessed with Murphy corkscrews.  And, a couple of years ago, while visiting with friends in Connecticut, one of their friends, mentioned that yet another friend had recently purchased the R. Murphy Knife Company.

Well, relatively recently, they bought it about 10 years ago.

Last year, a small group of us got together for dinner, and as it was the same group (pretty much) from ur previous get together, the subject of Murphy was discussed once again, and emails were exchanged.

The following day, I sent of an email to the new owners introducing myself, and mentioning the Bob Nugent article on Murphy.  They responded enthusiastically, and explained that they too had a copy of Nugent’s article, and were welcome to a visit, to allow us to look at the catalogs in their collection, and to see the corkscrews that remained at the factory.

Wait… what?  There are Murphy corkscrews that still remain at the Murphy factory?

This email exchange took place in the late Summer of last year, and knowing that they would be going into their busy holiday season, we revisited the conversation after Christmas, we settled in a time to visit recently.

The owners also asked if I could bring some of the Murphys from our collection, so a box was loaded up, and we headed off the island.

The R. Murphy Knife Company is located in Ayer, Massachusetts, and it would take few hours to get there, so the lovely personal personal trainer and I headed out with coffee in hand.

A few hours later, we arrived!


Gathering the aforementioned box of Murphy corkscrews, we headed in and were greeted by Mimi and Mark, the new(ish) owners of Murphy.   We exchanged pleasantries, and thanked them for the invitation.

In short order, the conversation turned to corkscrews, and they showed us the catalogs that were in their possession, followed by 5 corkscrews.  Two of which were the Murphy patent disc with the upturned hook.  And, they were in fabulous shape, given they never left the factory.


As, we paged through the catalogs, and discussed some of the products they make today, we again returned to corkscrews, as they wanted to see what I had brought.

I brought a few…


Before long, we started comparing the corkscrews to the catalogs…

And, intermittently, various employees would enter into the office from the shop, and take a look at pile of corkscrews laying on the conference table.

Interestingly, it was the stag handled bell that seemed to be the corkscrew to which most of the folk were drawn.

While the conversation continued, I returned to the catalogs and took photos of each page that featured the corkscrews.  These will be added to the Murphy website at a future date.

After the corkscrew extravaganza, we were invited to tour the Murphy factory where they make a myriad of different knives.


The entire process from beginning to finished product was fascinating, and the fact that they still use some machines that date to the 1930’s is remarkable.

One particular tool cabinet, I thought was remarkably cool, as it was relocated from Mansfield, MA to Ayer when the company moved here.  So, this quite literally was Robert Murphy’s tool box.

Following the tour, we headed back to the office, and chatted a bit more about the company, and all of the fantastic knives and tools that they are making.

Mimi requested some Murphy corkscrews for their collection, when I run across others, and I promised that I would work on putting together a small collection for them.

A great visit!

Thanks for the hospitality Mimi and Mark!


Confusing Kinseys

In doing research into the Syroco Knight and the Kinsey Knight connection, I ran across an amusing article in The New Yorker...  Apparently, consumers were confusing the producers of Kinsey Whiskey and Gin and The Kinsey Report: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

The following appeared in The New Yorker, on September 18, 1948:


One of our enterprising young assistants stopped off in Philadelphia to get to the bottom of those stories that the hullaballo over the Kinsey Report has resulted in substantial rise in the sale of Kinsey, the Unhurried Whiskey.  Kinsey Distilling is now part of a corporate agglomeration known as Publicker Industries, Inc., of 1429 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, and our man beat his way there and had a talk with Mr. T. A. DuBois, the Kinsey sales manager, who was found to be a mild, unhurried gentleman in horn-rimmed glasses.  Mr. DuBois stated that, despite a general slump in the liquor business, Kinsey whiskey has been selling briskly all summer, and that the Kinsey Report has indeed had much to do with this gratifying phenomenon.  “The Report,” he said, “has impressed our brand name on the public consciousness.  We keep denying that it has any connection with our product, but people choose to go on confusing them.  It may be silly, but…”  He sighed comfortably, and added that the company has received several hundred letters asking for copies of the Report and that some of the writers of these letters have gone to the trouble of enclosing a label, soaked off a fifth of Kinsey, in the belief that these entitles them to a free copy.  There seems to be a rumor to this effect in several sections of the country.

Fairly early in the game, Mr. DuBois prepared a form letter explaining to hopeful correspondents that the Kinsey Distilling Corporation and Dr. Kinsey are working in altogether different fields, and that the Report may be purchased at bookstores for $6.50.  Along with his reply, Mr. DuBois has lately been enclosing a brochure entitled, “Kinsey’s Own Report on the Kinsey Report.”  The cover of this booklet bears a reproduction of a knight in full armor, the advertising symbol of Kinsey Whiskey; he is depicted reading a copy of the Kinsey Report.  The contents consist chiefly of reprints of newspaper accounts of incidents, most of them transparently apocryphal, resulting from a confusion of the two Kinseys.  Retail liquors frequently write in for a Report, on the assumption that it is a piece of promotional material put out by the whiskey company, and Mr. DuBois is, naturally, more generous with them than he is with the lay public, sending them a copy but advising them that he had to pay $6.50 for it (he has made no effort to get a special professional discount) and warning them that if they want further copies, they will have to go out and buy them.

A liquor dealer in New Haven has filled one of this display windows with equal portions of Kinsey whiskey, Kinsey gin, and Kinsey Reports, and a dealer in Washington wrote Mr. DuBois a while back that he was planning to rent out to his regular customers, on a weekly basis, a copy of the Report that Mr. DuBois had sent to him.  Helpful strangers keep handing in suggestions on how to exploit what seems like the chance of a lifetime.  A novelty manufacturer offered to make up a plastic reproduction of the Kinsey Report, with a niche inside to fit a pint bottle of Kinsey.  “it would have been wonderful for the Christmas trade,” Mr. DuBois said, “but we’re not interested in any unethical attempts to muscle in on Dr. Kinsey’s pitch.”

The Kinsey of Kinsey Distilling Corporation is Jacob G., no relation to Dr. Alfred C.  The forebears of Jacob G. were named McKenzie, Mr. DuBois told our man, and this was first shortened to Kinzie and then changed to Kinsey.  Mr. DuBois had no dope on the evolution of Dr. Alfred C.’s name.  Jacob G., a facsimile of whose signature appears on every bottle, founded Kinsey Distilling in 1892 and ran it until 1942, when it sold out to Publicker as a consultant.  Jacob G., now ninety, is retained by Publicker as a consultant.  Mr. DuBois has no idea what he thinks of all the hubbub.