Looking forward to the ICCA and CCCC AGMs

It has been a pretty busy last few weeks.  While the lovely and I got to steal away for a couple of days to go to Brimfield, the wine shop is buzzing with activity, as the Summer visitors have come to the island.  Many of these folk have over the years become good friends, and with the island’s population swelling four-fold, there is much wining, dining, and convivializing going on.

And, it is around this time every year, that we plan our escape.

We love the island and the activity/energy of July and August, but the Annual General Meetings of the ICCA and the CCCC will soon be upon us, and we will soon hop on the boat to the mainland, and after making our way to the airport, we will be off to Mainz and later Zaandam.

The wine shop will be left in very capable hands, and we will be off on our next corkscrew adventure, where we will engage in a couple of weeks of wining, dining, and convivializing, and corkscrewing around.

Our departure is still a couple of weeks away, but we certainly are looking forward to seeing everyone there.  Corkscrews will be shown and talked about.  Corkscrews will be auctioned.  Corkscrews will be bought and sold.  Did I mention there will be corkscrews? And, of course, it is great to see good friends.

For those of you that have never attended one of the corkscrew meetings, or haven’t attended in quite a while, it is a fantastic opportunity to see a wide array of corkscrews, and to meet a wide array of corkscrewy friends.

If you are going to be in Mainz and Zaandam, see you soon!  If you aren’t going to be in Mainz or Zaandam in 2017, the 2018 meetings will be held in Maine (Rockland for the ICCA and Portland for the CCCC).  And, we hope to see you there!

More corkscrew news as it happens.

Stay tuned.





Stealing away to Brimfield

It has been a few years since we have attended a July Brimfield.  When we lived in Massachusetts, I would still make the drive down, as it was all of about 45-50 minutes away.  Since moving to Maine, however, with the boat ride, drive, hotel, etc., we have been less inclined.

And, this works in combination with the fact that the July show is much smaller than May or September.  It is usually hot, humid, muggy, and that precipitates a smaller crowd, which precipitates a smaller dealer turn out, which precipitates a smaller crowd, which precipitates a smaller dealer turn out.

And, so it goes.

Still, there are a fair amount of dealers that turn up, and whilst smaller there are a group of dedicated buyer/collectors who make the trip.

And, so, with the wine shop being taken care of by a stellar crew, the lovely and I stole away for the opening day of Brimfield.

And, the aforementioned cycle of less dealers leading to less buyers leading to less dealers, was pretty apparent.  One particular field that might take you an hour or so, if you were hustling, was completed in half that time.  And, I was meandering, as it appeared as though there were no other corkscrew collectors present.

Still, there are dealers walking the fields that know a good corkscrew when they see one, and so one does have a fairly decent pace.

Oh, did I mention that rained for the first 5 hours of the show?

When I got there, it was pouring.   I hopped in a taxi from where we were staying, with the lovely planning to arrive a bit later than 5 am.  I had borrowed an umbrella from the hotel, and began my trek across the fields.  Word from various dealers was that it was supposed to let up around 10.  It did, now and then; until the next could burst and deluge.

Of course, with the lower dealer count, lower buyer count, heavy rains, many dealers chose to keep their tents closed, and presumably stay in bed, until the rain abated.

Still, there were a corkscrews to be found, although with fewer dealers, inevitably there would be fewer corkscrews.

A Clough here, a few wire cork retrievers there, I had picked up a few items by the time the lovely was supposed to arrive.  And, then literally as she was pulling into the parking lot, and I was in the adjacent field, I ran across a Syroco Indian (just the head version) for the nice rainy price of 15 dollars.


With the Indian now in my backpack, and the lovely bride walking the fields with me, things were looking up.

After lunch, we headed to Dealer’s Choice (which opened at 11:00).  By now the rain was over, but with the sun coming out, and temperatures heading towards the 80’s, it began to be muggy, humid, and you could hear people (that were complaining about the rain an hour ago) getting a little vocal about their new discomfort.

But, the sun was out, we are in the fields antiquing, and we were finding… well… stuff:


Beyond corkscrews, we were also on the hunt for a few other items.  So, with the lovely heading one direction in a field, and I heading the other, our respective phones were buzzing back and forth with images of midcentury coffee tables and barrister cases; both of which are potential additions to the corkscrew room.

There were a couple of contenders, but nothing was exactly right.  The hunt continued.

Did I mention there was stuff to be had?


Following the 11:00 field, we reconvened and headed over to the last field of the day.

And, as it goes in July, the dealers were sparse, but hope springs eternal.

I passed on a deal for two pair of ladies legs.  One pair was the half flesh half stocking variety, the other more interesting as the stripes were red and black.  The asking price for the two pair was steep.  I offered big for just the red and black, but the dealer was only going to sell them as a set.

I have a feeling they will be available in September, and will try him again.

Having exhausted the fields for the day, and having (according to my iPhone) traipsed some 14 miles, we called it a day.

Half a dozen corkscrews, no midcentury coffee tables, no barrister bookcases…

The next morning, the lovely hit the gym, and I headed back to the show.  We were actually going to be heading home that morning, but I stole away for the morning opening.

At 6:00, I made it through the appropriate gate, and preceded to peruse the various dealers’ booths.   Again, less populated than the May and September, but attendees and dealers were in better spirits, as there was no rain, and temps were lower.

Alas, no corkscrews were to be found.

Knowing that we had a long drive back home, I decided I would skip the next field (opening at 9:00) and head back to the hotel to pick up the lovely, and begin the trek back to Maine.

Walking through a field on the way back to the all-terrain-corkscrew-pursuit-vehicle, I wandered past a tent where a dealer was unpacking, I asked about corkscrews, and he said did indeed have one.

Reaching from under a couple of boxes resting atop a Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona chair, he pulled out the corkscrew and handed me an 1892 Becker decorative split frame.


A little cash (very little) changed hands, and I was again on my way.

And, with that last purchase, a fun, albeit wet and muggy, Brimfield adventure came to a close on a pretty high note.

Shortly thereafter, the lovely and I were back on the road and heading home, with much of our conversation revolving around our next corkscrew adventures…

Planning for the September 2017 show has begun, and even plans for 2018 are being set forth.

You never know what will turn up.

Stay tuned.




Mont Rouge Wines…

As many of you already know, over the years I have been culling the herd, as it were, and reducing the corkscrew collection from anything-corkscrew to American patented and manufactured corkscrews.  Not that I don’t appreciate English, French, and German corkscrews, it just seemed to make sense to me.  Limited space, limited funds, and American stuff does turn up whilst traipsing around looking for corkscrews.

Still, there are some German, British, and French corkscrews that remain in the collection.  Some are a good fit for where we live.  Celluloid Mermaids do somehow fit given we live on an island 14 miles off the mainland, for example.

And, as of yesterday, another German corkscrew is headed to the collection.  This isn’t the rarest of German corkscrews, as it is a simple Steinfeld waiter.   And, I have had others, but this one also seems to fit as it carries an advertisement for an early California winery; Mont Rouge.


Mont Rouge was a winery in Livermore California started by Adrien Chauché in the 1884.


An article from an 1886 issue of the Livermore Herald explains:

The Mont-Rouge Vineyard was planted by well-known wine expert MR. A. G. Chauché, in 1884.  Its name is taken from the celebrated Mont Rouge in France, resembling the same in general style and principally in soils. Mont Rouge (Livermore) contains as fine an assortment of wines as there is in the state.

The location of the vineyard is on a slightly elevation within a mile of the town of Livermore.

The winery is constructed for the best conveniences for the proper wine making and ageing of wines, a fact most important in the making good wines, as the handling of properly fermented wines is the sure road to a good article.

Mr. Chauche’s one ambition in entering into the California wine business was to make such goods as would in the course of time sell on their name as well as merit, the same as well-known European wines are sold to-day…

For Chauché, his grape of choice was Zinfandel, and in 1889, his Mont-Rouge Zin won gold at the 1889 Paris exposition.  Clearly he lived up to the ambition mentioned in the 1886 article.

There are several other Steinfeld waiter corkscrews that carry early California advertising.  Featured on Dean Walters’ Facebook Early California Wine Trade Museum page, he lists the following wineries and wine merchants that appear on Steinfeld waiters…
A. Finke’s Widow, San Francisco
Korbel’s Champagne.
California Winery, Sacramento, Cal., Cordova, the Wine of Quality.
The Winedale Co., Oakland, Cal., Copo D’Oro Wines.
Mont Rouge Wines (near Livermore).
The A. Goux Co., Santa Barbara, Cal.
I. DeTurk Wines (Santa Rosa).
Montebello Wine Co., S.F., Cal. (winery near Cupertino).
Theo. Gier Wine Co., Giersberger Wines. (Oakland, Livermore, & Napa).

Do you have a Steinfeld waiter with California wine advertising?  Are there others that we could add to Dean’s list?


Loffler patent?

Not too long ago, I acquired a cork extractor, that is unmarked but bares a striking resemblance to the Karl Loffler patent of 1866.


With no markings, unfortunately, it is just similar, rather than saying for sure, that this is the Loffler (patent # 59,241)


Loffler’s patent description for an Improved Cork Pull, reads:

This invention relates to a cork-puller, which consists of a thin shank provided at one end with a suitable handle, and at the opposite end with a curved sharp-edged tooth, in such a manner that by passing said tooth down between the cork and the neck of the bottle, and turning it so that the same bears on the under surface of the cork, said cork can be withdrawn without being injured; and, furthermore, by the very act of passing the tooth down between the neck of the bottle and the cork said cork is loosened, and the operation of withdrawing the same is facilitated.

A represents a shank, made of steel or other suitable material, of convenient size and length. The upper or thick end of this shank is secured in a handle, B, of wood or any other suitable material, and from its under or thin end projects a tooth, a, which is curved, as shown in Fig. 2. The lower end of this tooth is sharp, but its back is flat, so that the same can be readily passed down between the cork and the neck of the bottle, and after it has been passed down below the cork its back can be brought to bear on the inner end of the cork, and by pulling on the handle the cork is withdrawn.

By this instrument the corks are lifted intact. They can be used over and over again; and, furthermore, by the act of forcing the tooth down below the neck of the bottle and the cork said cork is loosened, so that it can be withdrawn with comparatively little exertion.

Is this the Loffler?  What do you think?

didn’t you mention a trade???

In yesterday’s Brimfield recap, I did mention a trade.

Yes, a trade.

A few weeks back, Tommy picked up an Sterling and Ivory handled Gorham prong puller that resembles a Converse.  It shares many similarities with the Converse patent, with the biggest exception being that instead of the 1899 patent date, it reads STERLING 97, and SPAULDING-GORHAM–the sheath is also marked STERLING

Spaulding & Co., originally was S. Hoard & Co., but in 1920 was bought by Gorham Mfg., and changed the name to Spaulding-Gorham Inc.  The name remained until 1943, when it was changed to Spaulding & Co, in 1943.  So, we can at least but date range to the cork puller; somewhere between 1920, but before 1943.

In a 1941 Spaulding-Gorham Catalog, they feature a similar cork puller.  The lines are pretty similar, but it is described “Wine Cork Puller, sterling, and is illustrated with a Sterling handle, rather than one of Ivory and Sterling.


Do any of you have the Spaulding-Gorham that is entirely Sterling?

After Tommy picked it up, we had discussed trade.  And, he threw out several options that would seal the deal.  That said, after I picked up the General Appliance wall mount with corkscrew, that was what he really wanted.  But, given that I had been trying to find that particular corkscrew for well-over a decade, I just didn’t want to part with it.

The conversation went back and forth over the course of the Brimfield adventure; scarcity, rarity, desirability, value, etc…  And, it continued with possible trade scenarios.

On Wednesday, Tommy presented another offer.  We had batted around a couple in the preceding days…  Folding Greeley patent and the half sized signed Clark, in exchange for the Spaulding-Gorham prongs.

I thought about it for a minute or two.  Tommy has a thing for the smaller (but not miniature) corkscrews, and I have thing for Converse and other prong pullers, so after grabbing a small Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrew from his stash and placing it next to the prongs, I agreed.


I also promised, that should I ever begin to trade and/or sell the General Appliance wall mount, that he would get the right of first refusal.

But, given that it will surely make my best six for 2017, I am guessing it will be sticking around.  I am thinking the Spaulding-Gorham prongs will also make the best 6!

Thanks for another epic trade TC.  There have been so any over the years, and I look forward to the next one!

A sign…

Construction is progressing on the wine shop renovation, and if all goes as planned, the walls will be primed and painted today.  Perhaps a little trim tomorrow, and then Sunday we hit the road for Brimfield.  Well, not technically hit the road, as we will be on a boat to the mainland, and then leaving early on Monday for the drive down.

It has been a busy few days going from demolition to construction to starting the finish, but we are closing in.

And, yesterday, something pretty cool happened.  The lovely personal personal trainer and I were discussing what sort of decor we want to put on the back wall of the shop.  Previously it was a deal elderberry wine color, but we thought we might lighten it up, and both thought a large patent drawing of a corkscrew would be a nice addition.  There is already a giant Bennit patent that rests on the outside of the building, and the logo includes a Barnes double helix.   The same Barnes appears on the shop’s front window.


So, we were discussing various options, and then yesterday, as the sun was shining rather brightly through our front windows, one of my customers pointed out a shadow that was cast onto the back wall.


I think it is a sign.  We definitely should add a patent drawing on the back wall.

Synvita Products Are Best

A while back, RL messaged me asking if I was interested in a Clough medicine band corkscrew, with an advertisement for Synvita.  I responded in the affirmative, but then we moved on to other subjects; wine, corkscrews, auctions, travel, etc…

The other day, he mentioned the Synvita again, and again I responded in the affirmative, but this time remembered to send a little PayPal funds his way.

Thanks for the deal RL!

So, what is Synvita?  And, why are their products “the Best.”  Synvita was a producer of medicines and food products back in the day.  And, from what I we can ascertain from the advertisements of the time, their Blackberry Blocks were a staple of their company.


The latest and cheapest the most pleasant convenient and reliable care for Diarrhea, Dysentery, Flux, Cholera, Cholera Morous and Cholera Infantum or Summer Complaint ever discovered.  No teaspoon.  No sticky bottle.  Always ready and handy.  25 doses 25 cents.  A guarantee on each package by which we will refund the price paid if Blackberry Blocks fail to cure all diseases for which they are recommended.  As your druggist for them, and take no substitute.  If you fail to ge them upon receipt of 25 cts., we will send a package by return mail or 5 for a Dollar.  A handsome advertising chess and checker-board free with each order.  Address, SYNVITA CO., DELPHOS, OHIO.

But, Synvita also made other “blocks.”  Bitter Blocks for Cough, Kidney, Blood and Liver, and Worm.  In later advertisements there are ads for Cool-Aid (a drink) and Cook-Aid (some sort of egg substitute).  And, they were awarded several patents for medicines.

At some point, Synvita themselves must have made something within the “sticky bottle” the blocks were supposed to help their customers avoid, as their name and slogan appear on the aforementioned corkscrew that RL is sending our way.


An nice addition to the growing Clough flat band corkscrew collection.

On another corkscrew note, the next rounds of collector corkscrews.com auction end today and tomorrow.  I have several on my watch list, and it will be fun to see where some of the rarities end up.  Bidding wars?  Hopefully not on the pieces I am going after.

Be sure to check it out!

construction continues

While construction continues at the wine shop, the Elderberry Wine wall has been demolished, sink counter moved, and electrical work begins this morning, we are making progress!

And, over the weekend, the first round of collectorcorkscrews.com auctions ended with a flurry of bidding.  Lots of relatively new bidders were snapping up bargains, and a few rarities garnered some bidding wars with the usual suspects doing their best to top one another.

While a couple of pieces sold for more, one folding German bottle, garnered lots of bids, and a hefty 4K+ final bid.


I did place bids on a couple of lots, but was quickly outbid.  Still, I have my eyes sent on a several in the auction lots that end this coming Saturday and Sunday, perhaps I will prevail on those.

Next it is more coffee, then off to the shop to install the reclaimed floors.  Meet with the electrician.  Then sheetrock, mud, and start selling wine.

Stay tuned!