auction lots ending today!

Be sure to check out the auction!  Lots are ending today, starting at 1:00 pm est. time.

You can see the lots here!

Bid high, and bid often!


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.

Kinsey Knight III


On October 10, 2013, I blogged about a Syroco Golden Knight corkscrew, that had was sold on eBay (not to me) for a buy it now of $125.00, and this example came with a box signed Kinsey, and included a business card from Kinsey Distilling.


A few years later (May, 2016) I blogged about another Syroco Golden Knight corkscrew that turned up on eBay, this too included a box signed Kinsey, with no business card, and sold for a fair amount more than $125.00.

Two golden knights, two Kinsey boxes…  Hmmmmm…

Of course, and I blogged about this too, clearly there had to be some connection.  And, after a bit of research, I found a couple of advertisements for Kinsey Whiskey that featured a golden knight.  And, you might want to note the resemblance, down to the little K (Thanks Bob Gilbride) that appears both on the Kinsey advertisements and the Syroco Knight’s belt buckle.


Of course, what was equally interesting was that there was “GOLD” knight and a “SILVER” knight pictured in the advertisements.

Was Kinsey having these made by Syroco, and handing them out as promotional items to their favored dealers or retailers?

Is that the reason for the two boxes and business card that have turned up?

And, if they were having the gold knight produced, or purchasing it as a promo, could it be that somewhere out there…there is a Silver Syroco Knight?

Cue the suspenseful music…

Indeed, there is…


And, this is not a re-painted formerly Golden knight, it looks to be original, and as you can see also includes a copyright for Syroco.

I haven’t put the Gold knight and Silver knight next to each other, I will do that later today.  But the other difference, beyond color, is that Silver knight has a wire worm and bell that Syroco used on the Syroco Indian, rather than the bladed worm like the Golden knight.

I will continue the hunt for linkages between Kinsey and Syroco.

But, what do you all think?  Given the two Gold knights with Kinsey boxes and business card, the advertisements of the time that date in the late 40’s featuring the Gold and Silver knights, the fact that there has yet to be found a Syroco catalog reference for the knight, and now a Silver Syroco knight, are these Syroco/Kinsey knights?

The hunt continues!

Stay tuned!



I will preface this by saying, if you are going to hire an engraver, you might want to be sure that they know how to spell.

Just sayin’

The Manufacture of Ballet-Corkscrews corkscrew arrived the other day, and while there are a couple of hairlines to the celluloid, the corkscrew is pretty fantastic.

Although, in looking closely (really closely) at the writing across the advertising plates it looks as if the piece is marked CORKSEREWS rather than CORKSCREWS.

Now, clearly they had a C nearby, as CORKSEREWS starts with a C, and MANUFACTURE also has a C.

And, as they got to the end of the plate, knowing that were trying to make CORKSCREW (or more aptly CORKSEREW) plural, but were running out of room, the S is a bit smaller, but they still made if fit.


Even with the replacing the C with an E, the corkscrew is pretty darn awesome, and has the potential of making the best 6 of the year.

I have yet to clean the shank of the helix up yet, but it does look to have a maker’s mark. I will report back here once I figure that one out.

More corkscrew news as it happens.  Stay tuned!

Pisula’s Reliable

The other day, a Reliable corkscrew was listed on eBay with it’s original box.  It had a fairly low buy it now, so I snapped it up.

What I found interesting about it, is that it isn’t the 1885 Weirs patent that is marked with the patent date, and with “THE RELIABLE” or “RELIABLE”


Instead of the U.S. Patent date, this is a corkscrew from France, and is an advertising piece for D. Recher Co, Chicago.


And, it is indeed marked RELIABLE…


And, while I haven’t tried it, I am sure that one can rely on it.




On the box, which is a bit tattered, someone has written “Best one.”  I am assuming that at some point someone had decided that not only was the Reliable reliable, but perhaps it was the most useful, or perhaps the best they had tried.  Or, maybe the best of their collection.

Also written on the box, in pencil, is “Belongs fo Fr. Pisula.”  And, inside the box, was a scrap of paper that read the same: reading “belongs to Fr. L. Pisula.”  Perhaps Father Pisula, loaned this out with hope of getting it back?  There was a Reverend Leon E. Pisula in Fort Wayne Indiana, and the seller of the Reliable lives only 20 miles away.


The good reverend is no longer with us, but the corkscrew upon which he relied still is!

manufacture of ballet corkscrews

Yesterday afternoon, for a moment, I decided to hop on to eBay, and how fortuitous it was that I did.

A pair of ladies legs had been put up for sale with a pretty fair opening bid.

Still, it was a normal pair at first glance, so I simply put it on my watch list.


And, then I went back to the listing to check for cracks, missing celluloid, size, markings etc.

It looks to have one crack at the knee.

The second photo that came up revealed that this was not your average ladies legs corkscrew.

On one side, it was normal black and white/cream stripes, on the reverse were advertising plates like the Old Elk Whiskey – Always Pure pair of legs that I picked up last year:


On the plates on this particular pair, the advertising was not for Old Elk Whiskey, instead across the two plates it reads: “MANUFACTURE OF BALLET-CORKSCREWS”

How cool is that?

A legs corkscrew advertising legs corkscrews!

Did I mention it also had a fair Buy it Now price?

I clicked.

I paid.

And, the MANUFACTURE OF BALLET-CORKSCREWS legs are on their way to Vinalhaven.

A really cool piece, that could make the best 6 of the year.


Better photos after they arrive!