Empire Automatic Cork Puller No. 3

From an 1893 issue of The Iron Age:

The Empire Automatic Cork Puller No. 3.

The accompanying cut represents a cork pull recently put on the market by the Empire Knife Company, West Winsted, Conn.  

The Empire Automatic Cork Puller No. 3

The operation when pulling a cork is described as follows: The sliding nut sets the gauge for the distance the cork screw will pierce the cork, and the cork screw, released with the first tun in the cork, lifts the cork, without turning in the same, saving thereby so much power that the hardest and longest cork can be lifted easily by turning with two fingers.  The cork puller is made of forged steel and is designed for family use.

This, of course, would be the E.E. Brown patent of 1895.

That said, it makes me wonder what the Empire Automatic Cork Puller No. 1 and 2 might have looked like

Matthews patent of 1892 and 1893

Several years ago, I shared an illustration from an 1895 issue of Hardware Dealers’ magazine.

Pat. Nov. 1st 1892

Pat. May 9th 1893

Columbian Door Securer.—A dead-lock for doors. Lock and key combined with corkscrew, all in a nicely nickel-plated or polished brass case, to be carried in a vest pocket. Agents wanted, can make 150 per cent., $10 to $25 per day to the right one. Sample by mail 50 cents. J.H. MATTHEWS 312 E. Monroe St. South Bend, IND.


I was curious about the patent dates, but even more curious about the combination of a Door Securer AND a corkscrew.

Moreover, I was curious as to why one would need to secure a door after utilizing the corkscrew for its intended purpose.

And, in 1893, in South Bend, Indiana, what was happening that one felt a door needed to be secured?

The word Columbian, is surely a reference to the to the 1893 World’s fair; The Columbian Exposition held in Chicago.  And, there are many corkscrews (and other products) marked for Columbus during that time.

That said, following a recent exchange with someone who ran across the blog, I decided to take a look at the patent drawings, as there are two dates in the advertisement.




From the drawing in the 1893 patent, it looks as if within a roundlet casing, there is a peg and worm type mechanism, with a spike at one end, that somehow serves as a means to disallow a door to be opened.

And, as of today, a deal was struck with the aforementioned blog reader, who had happened to find the Columbian Door Securer in amongst some antique car parts, and subsequently contacted me.

I will publish more photos when it arrives, but from what I can see, the casing is marked J.H. MATTHEWS, SOUTH BEND, IND.  The ring in the middle, looks as if it is written PAT APPLD. FOR.


With the piece open, the reverse side of the PAT. APPD FOR ring, is also marked COLUMBIAN, and the door securer carries the earlier Nov. 1, 1892 patent date…

…which, is actually explained in his 1893 patent description.  Matthew’s explains:

This invention consists of my door securer, patented November 1, 1892, with an improved nut which is so formed, that a thimble like case fits over both ends of same, thereby forming a case for the door securer, as well as for the cork screw, which is so constructed that it fits over both ends of the same, therefore forming a case for the door securer, as well as for the cork screw, which is so constructed that it fits directly over the bolt of the door securer when in the case, thereby allowing the case to be made small enough to be conveniently carried in the pocket and which secures the pocket from the spurs of the door securer, or the sharp point of the corkscrew(emphasis added).

An awesome find from the Back of O’Leary…


Thanks Ralph!!!



A & P

As mentioned the other day, I am on the Lowenstein patent corkscrew hunt.

And, recently a trade was made that sent the yellow version of the A & P advertising corkscrew to the island.


An advertisement for “THE GREAT A. & P. TEA CO’S. EXTRACTS,”  it’s a nice little piece to add to the collection.

Any others out there.   I have lots of trade bait?  Do you have a Clough-like corkscrew with a advertising hang tag?




The other day, I was perusing eBay, when I saw an interesting lazy tong corkscrew.

At first glance it looked to be a normal Ideal, but instead of IDEAL and Brevete, it is marked for Jaboulet Vercherre:

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 8.18.46 AM

A Burgundy producer.


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I do have a thing for corkscrews with advertising, so I snapped it up.

A neat variant of the Ideal.


taking a moment

Well, word has been coming out that our various club meetings have been cancelled; JFO, CCCC, ICCA, and as of today, the upcoming Collectorcorkscrews auction has cancelled the April auction.

Sue and I are practicing social distancing from others as much as possible.

I know, that this is a strange time, and I long for us to return to normalcy.

Although, I doubt that normalcy will be at all normal.

So, given that so many of us are working from home these days, let’s get some corkscrew conversations started.

A couple of years ago, I had readers send in photos of their favorite corkscrews, or their ugliest corkscrew.  How about what is your most wanted corkscrew; your holy grail!

Send in photos, and I will post them here.  You never know, maybe someone has an extra of what you are looking for!

I will post my own tomorrow.  The corkscrew I would love to add to the collection above all others.

Finally, I am thankful for all of you, and I look forward to when social distancing is no longer the norm, and we can return to social embracing.

Stay safe, and hunt for corkscrews!

Rabbit 99

I have been considering what best 6 corkscrews should make the best 6 corkscrews for 2019, and this morning I am reconsidering what best 6 corkscrews should make the best 6 corkscrews for 2019…


as this morning at the post office what should I pull out of the box, but a rabbit.

No, not this rabbit…


A very cool lever corkscrew, it is faintly marked PAT. APLD. FOR.


And, interestingly, the levers are marked with 9 and 9.


A really cool addition to the collection…   Will the Rabbit Ear Corkscrew make the Best 6 of 2019?

Could be!