A decade or so ago, Mark Woodard had acquired, at auction, a celluloid button pinback with an advertisement for R.V. Pierce.  He submitted photos and information to Don Bull, who published said information and more on his Weekly Screw page.


Not too long after, Jack Bandy had apparently responded with another celluloid button pinback.   This version being an advertisement for Mangels & Schmidt’s Bread, making reference to a trade that happened some time earlier between he and Don.  This too found its way into the Weekly Screw pages.


And, shortly thereafter, I managed to find my own version of the pinback, this one having an image of an eye, with the words I have my “eye” on you.


The pinback, on the reverse side, has three patent dates, all from the same patentee, G.B. Adams.  But the dates correspond with his patents for a Trousers Strap, Jewelry, and a Badge Pin or Button…

In reading the patent descriptions, there is no corkscrew mentioned.




The 1896 patent for the Badge Pin or Button was assigned to the Whitehead and Hoag Company.  And, each of the known examples are marked as such.

On the Mangels & Schmidt’s, the 1896 patent date is also written on the edge of the button adjacent to the worm.


When Don Bull put his American patents up for sale, Tommy acquired the Mangels & Schmidt’s from Don.  And, in a recent deal, I have now since acquired a second example of the Adams patent, this one being a duplicate to John Morris’ formerly Mark Woodard’s R.V. Pierce.


So, we have R.V. Pierce (x 2), Mangels & Schmidt’s, and the “I have my “eye” on you” versions.

What others are out there?

Do you have a G.B. Adams 1896 Whitehead and Hoag celluloid pinback corkscrew?  Drop me a line with pictures!


an eventful few days

The lovely personal personal trainer and I headed off to Chicago for a few days recently, to visit with Tommy; see his new condo, visit the old neighborhood, visit a few favorite restaurants, and of course to see his collection.

But, before our departure, I managed to win a few lots in an online auction.  These particular lots didn’t go too high, and there looks to be a few good t’s, a Murphy, a Bennit, a couple of Henshall buttons, and a couple of Adelaides (Ian) within the lots:


These are on their way to the island as I type, and I will report back if there are any interesting markings on the pieces when they arrive.

The travel to Chicago was pretty seamless, and Tommy swooped in and scooped us up.  And, soon enough (he brought chilled wine and cheese with him) we were eat the condo we were renting for a few days.

Of course, TC also brought a few corkscrew with him, and there were some fantastic recent finds.

After the happy hour show and tell, we headed off to Bandera for dinner.  One of our favorite restaurants on Michigan Ave, and the meal (the Cliff Lede wines) didn’t disappoint.

The following day, lovely and I decided to walk to Navy Pier.  We don’t usually frequent that as a destination, but Nick Cave was giving a performance, and we knew we had to see it.

And, walk we did.  Meandering from Andersonville towards Wrigley field, stopping by our old condo in Boys Town, then heading towards Lincoln Park, the Zoo, and then heading on to the lakeshore to walk downtown, we made it to where the performance was being held with 15 minutes to spare; where there was cold wine available to bring into the auditorium!

The performance was fantastic!



Following the performance, and having walked 9.1 miles to get there, we grabbed an uber back to the condo, picked up some wine and cheese, and had another happy hour with TC before heading to RL (Ralph Lauren’s restaurant) for dinner.


Another fantastic meal!

After getting back to the condo, we shared goodbyes, and see ya tomorrows, as the next day we were going to hop on the train out to Elgin to see Tommy’s collection and condo.

Hopping on the El, we were soon at Union Station where hoped on the Metra to Elgin.  Tommy picked us up, and after a requisite stop to pick up some wine, we were soon pulling into Chez Campnell.

And, if you were wondering why he is referred to as the Syrocokid…


He has a few Syroco corkscrews…

Having only recently moved in, there are boxes and boxes of corkscrews to go through, but there were plenty to see, examine, drool over, and there was almost a deal made for a couple; an unusual Murphy and an Atwood Combination Six.


The deal wasn’t made, but you never know what trades might happen at a future date!

After lunch and corkscrew viewing, we headed off on another adventure; looking at potential corkscrew cases for our corkscrew room on Vinalhaven, and then hugs and goodbyes and see you in a month (when Tommy visits Maine) and then it was back to the train.

Knowing we had an early morning flight the next day, the lovely and I had an early dinner at Le Colonial (another one of our favorite places in Chicago) and then made our way back to the condo.

A great few days with the lovely and TC in a city that we love.  Thanks for a great visit TC!

Factual answers, also some conjecture…

The other day, there was a Williamson Bullet roundlet listed on eBay with a fairly low buy it now price.  The roundlet had an advertising plate for Wm. J. KAMMER, WINES & LIQUORS, 1810-1812 BANK STREET, BALTIMORE, MD.


Also included in the listing was a reference to an issue of Gun Week from Friday Feb. 10, 1978.

Both the bottle and the article arrived yesterday.  The article in question, was apparently a section of Gun Week called Joe offers Factual answers, also some conjecture: Heritage & History


The article reads:

This week we have a number of interesting questions that should create some controversy in answers.  So let’s get right to them…

Every so often in our column we ask the readers to share some unusual items from their collections.  We make the point that if it is of interest to one collector, others would like to hear of it also.  Ralph White has submitted the following for comments from our readers.  Let Ralph know if you have seen or heard of the novelty item…

“Enclosed is a phot of an item I recently obtained.  I have never seen one before nor have any of my friends.

“As you can see it is a corkscrew, but the novelty is that the corkscrew folds back and is store in the case.

“The cartridge is about three inches long.  It is screwed together in the middle of the case; and when opened the corkscrew is slid along to an opening in the case, and a hinge arrangement makes it possible to bring out the screw at right angles.  Then the front portion of the case is screwed back in place and this locks the corkscrew in the position shown in the phot.

“The bottom of the case is stamped as follows—“WILLIAMS CO., PATENTED, JUNE 97, NEW-ARK, N.J.’

“It seems such an unusual item I thought I might like to share it with your readers.

“If you know of such an item and have any idea of its value I would appreciate any information you can offer.

“I really enjoy your column and also want to thank  you for past favors.”—Ralph L. White, 76 Barber St., Springfield, Mass 01109


I don’t know if Ralph ever got further information he was seeking, or if the corkscrew that came with the article was formerly Ralph’s.

More likely it wasn’t Ralph’s, as Ralph–who clearly was detail oriented–didn’t mention the advertising plate, that yet another Gun Week subscriber happened to see the article and had in their possession the Wm. J. Kammer Wines & Liquors roundlet, and cut out and saved the article to pair with his prized Williamson Bullet Roundlet!


The Peerless-less Peerless has a Peerless-less Peer

In April of last year, I managed to pick up a 1885 Weir patent, that instead of being marked Peerless with the patent date, was marked PAT. APL’D FOR.


While the 1885 Peerless doesn’t turn up often, the PAT. APL’D FOR version was a new discovery, and made it into JM presentation on newly patent discoveries in 2016 at the AGM, as well as my best 6 for 2016.

(The PAT A’PLD For version is pictured on the left)

A neat variation of the patent, I was quite pleased to add it to the collection.

But, as of a few days ago…  the Peerless-less Peerless has a Peerless-less peer.


This version also is marked PAT. APL’D FOR.


And, it worked tremendously last night on a bottle of Goosecross Cabernet!

A Two-Pronged Sales Approach: Converse Cork Extractors with Advertising

Originally published in the most recent issue of The Bottle Scrue Times:

A Two-Pronged Sales Approach:

Converse Cork Extractors with Advertising


On May 9, 1899, Maschil D. Converse of New York, NY was awarded U.S. Patent number 624,457 for his Cork-Extractor; a rather straightforward example of the prong cork puller, his patent description explains:

Cork-extractors have been made with prongs which in use are inserted next the inner sides of the neck of the bottle on opposite sides of the cork by pressure to embrace the latter.  It is to this class of cork-extractors that my present invention relates.  In this type of cork-extractors heretofore various devices have been employed to adapt the prongs to operate on corkscrews of different diameters, involving more or less complication, consequent costliness of manufacture, and liability to derangement or breakage, and in all the flat external plane of surfaces of the blades or prongs have been arranged at right angles to the longitudinal axis or land of the handle, so that it is inconvenient to adjust the prongs astride the cork.  The objects of my present invention are to overcome these several disadvantages, to cheapen the cost of manufacture, and to provide a cork extractor of the type described that will be durable and that may expeditiously used, all of which I accomplish by means of the devices, combinations, and arrangement of parts and the forms of their construction hereinafter fully described and claimed, where in it will be found that my invention consists chiefly in first arranging the flat plane sides of the tapering prongs in planes parallel to the axis of the handle; second, in improved means of securing the prongs to the handle and in certain other particulars. 

Converse had sixteen patents, and the fact that he was a patent attorney is an interesting side note.   Until, of course, you come to find out that our man Maschil was actually the patent attorney for Lucien Mumford–whose pronged cork extractor (Patent No. 474,480, issued May 10, 1892) would have been one, “…involving more…complication, consequent costliness of manufacture, and liability to derangement or breakage…” that Converse describes in his 1899 patent.

In a 1913 catalog from the Shapleigh Hardware Company, they illustrate the Quick as a Wink (Converse patent) but also provide detailed instructions for use:



 Does not Injure the Cork


Take the Puller into the hand so that the handle rests in the palm, putting the thumb on one tine and the forefinger on the other.  Adjust the tines to size of Cork by pressing thumb and forefinger together, insert the tines each side of the cork between Cork and Neck of Bottle, work the tines carefully below the bottom of the cork by pushing one tine then the other (a rocking motion).  When the tines are well below the bottom of the cork turn the Puller around and around, at the same time pulling very gently.  Around goes the Puller, Cork and all, and out rides the Cork on the tines and drops from the Puller without labor injury to cork or spilling contents.

If the cork has flattened edges out over neck of bottle push the tines through the flattened edges and operate as above; for Cork in bottles of Glue, Mucilage or other adhesive matter insert the tines in two or three different places before turning the Puller.   Per dozen.

No. 35—Tempered Blued Spring Steel Tines; Maple Handle, Mahogany Stained and Varnished; Nickel Plated Brass Case; Length Closed 4 in; Length of Handle 3 in; Weight per dozen 3 lbs………………. $ 4.00

One Dozen in a Box.

When I was first collecting, I ran across an estate sale not too far from where we were living in Chicago, and having exhausted the various rooms, I headed down to the basement.  And, in a toolbox amongst various wrenches and gadgets, I found my first Converse Cork Extractor.   When I headed over to pay for the item, I was told that it was free, and to have a good day.  Free!

Over the years, many variations of the Converse have made their way into our collection; European and British made examples, the Converse in Sterling, the unusual patent applied for example, a variant made of ivory and Sterling marked SPAULDING GORHAM, and of course the subject of this article several Converse cork extractors with advertising.

Before we get to the various advertisements that appear on the Converse, we should actually start with the Hawley Manufacturing Company of Stepney, Connecticut.  Hawley placed many ads in various newspapers at the time, looking for sales people for their product.



And, upon the sheath a few Converses have turned up that were indeed salesperson samples.

These salesperson samples, beyond providing a means through which to demonstrate the cork puller itself, they also demonstrated the usefulness of the sheath as an avenue for advertising one’s business.

The list that follows are the Converses with advertising that exist within our collection, with one addition from collector John Stanley and another known example from collector Robin Preston.



CH RITTER, DETROIT, MICH, SOLE PROP’RS, WESTMINSTER RYE WHISKEY (marked across the handle, rather than on the sheath)



Arthur Lehmann & Co., used the converse for several of their products; Elmore Bourbon, Lehmann’s Rye, and Jersey Whiskey.  Lehmann also made “May Bloom”, “Richland”, and “Spring Valley.”  Could there be other Converse that carry advertisements for these brands?



JERSEY WHISKEY – ARTHUR LEHMANN & CO. – PEORIA,ILL (according to a past eBay sale per Robin Preston of pre-pro.com)






The Converse Cork Extractors with advertising listed above, as mentioned, are largely examples from our own collection, and clearly the list is not exhaustive.  What others are out there?

If any of you have a Converse with different advertising, I would love to add it to the list, and keep a running inventory of Converse cork extractors with advertising.  Or, if you have a different Converse with which you would like to part, feel free to drop me a line.

General Appliance Co.

Several years ago, I was sent a collection of past best sixes.  Not the actual corkscrews, but binders of photos and printouts of various collectors best six corkscrews from years prior.

Interestingly, some of these best sixes consisted of a single photograph, some would be a typed up report with several photos, and still others would be a little more elaborate.  As I paged through the volumes of photos, when I got to something I hadn’t seen before, I make note of it.

In one particular best six, was a fuzzy image of a wall mount corkscrew.  I scanned it, and with a little photoshop, enlarged it so I could get a clearer image.


Okay, maybe not so clear.

But, I knew that eventually I would find a similar one.

Fortunately, there was a description of this wall mount attached to it, so I did have an idea of what I was looking for…  a “General Appliance Co.” wall mount.

After years of searching around, a General Appliance Co.” wall mount corkscrew is heading to the island…


Marked GENERAL APPLIANCE CO.  SO. CHARLESTON W.VA. PAT. PEND.  this very well could make my best six of the year.

Of course, now the hunt for information on General Appliance Co. of So. Charleston will begin.

Let’s see if we can’t find some literature about this unusual wall mount.

Stay Tuned!

Adding “Simon Lewis” to the Clough list…

As mentioned in the past, there have been several lists published regarding known examples of Clough medicine/advertising corkscrews, both wire or flat band, and sometimes both.  Appearing both on Don Bull’s website, as well as in the Spring 2015 issue of The Bottle Scrue Times, finding a Clough with advertising that isn’t on these lists is pretty cool.

The other day, I happened to click over to eBay, and what should appear, but a folding Clough corkscrew with advertising that wasn’t the usual Listerine, Rawleigh Man, or Goldman’s…

With pretty low Buy it Now attached to said listing, I promptly hit the appropriate button, paid, and then visited both Don’s site, and shortly thereafter Barry’s list.


Not on either.

It has yet to arrive, but from the description and the images, it looks to read:


— OF —




—- ILLS —


No reference to any inside markings from the seller.  I will provide updates when it arrives.  But, who is Simon Lewis…

As a company, Simon Lewis advertised regularly in the Rock Island Argus and Daily Union, and if one was to spend a dollar, you would get a free bottle of California Wine.

After a bit of digging, I found a couple of references to Simon Lewis and a revolver that was a free gift with purchase.  Finding that a little odd, I happened upon an advertisement that showed the revolver as a “free gift.”


Who wouldn’t want to drink wine from a revolver shaped bottle?

A nice addition to the Clough advertising corkscrew collection!

“…clever advertising novelty (patented).”

From the January 10th 1915 edition of  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


FOR sale outright, clever advertising novelty (patented), with dies complete; sells quickly; big profits; owner too far west to manufacturers: snap: sample free.  Josephine Spielbauer.  71 Columbia st., Seattle, Wash.

In doing research into the Josephine Spielbauer patent not much information or history has been uncovered.  I have since been in contact with a Spielbauer family member, and we are exchanging information.  A most recent email set about yet another search, and the above classified ad came up.


So, Miss Josephine was selling her patent and dies as well to create the corkscrew/opener.  Could it be the “samples” that she sent out, are the few pieces that exist within our respective collections?

Interesting also to note.  The Spielbauer patent was awarded in November of 1914, by 1916 the state of Washington implemented prohibition (earlier than the rest of the country).

No more beer?  Would production of corkscrews and openers cease as well?


Empire Automatic Cork Extractor

From an 1889 issue of The Iron Age

Empire Automatic Cork Extractor

This article, patented April 16, 1889, is manufactured by the Empire Knife Company, West Winsted, Conn.  Its form and


general construction are show in the accompanying illustration.  A spring in the head detaches the handle from the corkscrew rod, so that the corkscrew does not turn in the cork while pulling out, and the corkscrew can be set to turn any distance into the cork, so that the cork need not be pierced through, thus saving it for use again.  The power of this corkscrew is referered to as such that the hardest corks can be pulled with ease.

Of course, the Empire Automatic Cork Extractor is the Seymour L. Alvord and Edward E. Brown patent of 1889 (number 401,672).  Not often turning up with a patent mark, when they do, they are marked “PAT. APR 16 ‘89.”

This one still eludes me, if you have an Alvord and Brown patent with which you would like to part, I have plenty of tradebait available!