Unseasonably Warm

It has been unseasonably warm the last few days.

Not that it is warm warm, but warmer than usual.

And, not that 40 degrees is actually warm, but it certainly is warmer than our recent artic blast that included wind chills at 30 below zero.

I am not complaining mind you. I appreciate the non-freezing temps, and the feeling of Spring soon to be upon us.

Not that Spring is really soon to be upon us, as a week from tomorrow, we are supposed to be back to 1 degree as the low, and no doubt lower than that with the wind chill.

That said, I look forward to things warming up, and the outdoor antiquing season to begin!

…thoroughly trustworthy and practical…

1914 issue of Hardware Age:

The “Handy-Man” Tool Kit

The American Novelty Company, Washington, D.C., is putting out the “Handy Man” tool kit, which is stated to be very compact and practical.  The company states that each tool in the “Handy-Man” kit is thoroughly trustworthy and practical, the whole outfit being desiged from the viewpoint of utility.  The entire set of tools is put up in a drawn-steel gun metal finished box, the size of which is 5 by 6 by 2 inches.

“Handy-Man” tool kit made by the American Novelty Company

Each tool is firmly held in place by steel snap springs and jackets, which prevent the tools from moving about and rattling.  It is stated that no matter in what position the kit is carried, or how much it is shaken, the tools with not become dislodged.  The set consists of fifteen high grade tools, in combination with an interchangeable handle, and the company states that every tool in this set is one which is brought into daily use. 

The illustration shows ten of these tools, the other five compactly nested in the handle itself.  The tools consist of a ball pein hammer, a Disston saw, an awl, a pair of Bernhard pliers and wire cutters, a gimlet, a tack puller, a chisel, a gouge chisel, a can opener, a corkscrew, a large screw driver, a small screw driver, a three-cornered file and a punch.  The American Novelty Company states that it will send a sample kit by parcel post, charges prepaid, at the regular whole-quantity price of $33 per dozen of $2.75 each.

a little sea smoke…

The last couple of days have been cold here on the island.

Yesterday, by 4:00 (about the time this photo was taken, the windchill was 36 degrees below zero…

Still, with the woodstove going, and a bit of wine, we made it through the evening.

And, this morning we awoke to similar (not the wine).

Currently (at 10 am) it is -1 degree, with the wind chill bringing the temperature down to -27. And, the wind has been howling.

That said, the temps are starting to increase, and she be downright balmy by this afternoon, with temperatures expected to climb to 12 degrees by sunset.

So, the woodstove is still going… and will be for the rest of the day / evening.

No corkscrew news to report at the moment…hopefully that will change over the course of the day.

Stay warm!


From an 1862 issue issue of The Post Office London Directory:


The old process of Drawing Corks by ordinary Corkscrews is entirely obviated in the construction and novel action of the “ Presto and Despatch Corkscrews.”  Their superiority will at once be seen and their use understood by the following instructions, vis –Pull the screw A out to its full extent, and then insert the point of the worm into the Centre of the Cork, and by slight pressure (without turning the hand) it will immediately penetrate the Cork ; this being effected, then proceed to draw it.  To remove the Cork from the worm raise the Button B, or the spring C, then slightly pull the Cork, which will instantly be released.

The principle on which these two Corkscrews are constructed is the same, excepting the mode of securing the screw, which is effected in the “ Despatch ‘ by a spring fixed to the end of the barrel, and in the “ Presto “ at one end of the handle, both producing the same result.  The screw A should occasionally be oiled.  The screw being made of solid brass, and the steel worm electroed, it will not rust.





Sample, of a Book of Drawings, may be had on application

B. Nathan continued

The B. Nathan corkscrew arrived this afternoon, and while simple, it is also a pretty lovely thing.

Nice faceted shank and a sharp helix.

Here it is next to the Ivory Murphy for comparison:

Speaking of B. Nathan, upon further research this would be our man…Bernhard Nathan.

B. Nathan

Not too long ago, a fellow collector came across a handsome corkscrew with faceted shank that was marked B. NATHAN.

Looking fairly similar to the corkscrews of Will & Finck, M. Price, and J. Schintz, the corkscrew was shared on social media, and it wasn’t long before those in the know weighed in; offering up that B. NATHAN was a San Francisco retailer of china, crockery, and other household items.

When I first got wind of the B. Nathan corkscrews, I too began doing my research into the corkscrew, and had also inquired if the piece might be available for sale or trade

After a bit of a back and forth, and several weeks later, I received an email suggesting that a trade could be made, and a deal was agreed upon in fairly short order.

That said, as I was away at a conference, and then on vacation in California, no corkscrews had officially changed hands, but as of today, the tradebait has been sent in exchange for the B. Nathan, and the B. Nathan is on its way to the island.

I will upload better pictures when it arrives, but this is a terrific piece from a San Francisco cutler, that made the piece for B. Nathan to offer as one of their wares, and a really neat addition to the collection.

But, there is more than one B. Nathan corkscrew.

The plot thickens…

According the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County they have in their posession a Yankee Number 7 bar screw that carries advertising for Nathan, but instead of B. Nathan, it is instead marked, “NATHAN DOHRMANN CO., THE LARGEST BAR SUPPLY COMPANY ON THE PACIFIC COAST, 851 BUSH ST. SAN FRANCISCO.”

Dohrmann joined B, Nathan’s company in 1868, and the name was changed to Nathan Dohrmann Co, in 1875, so the timeframe is right for this to be made by one of the known S.F. cutlers.

Clearly there is more to the story. And, as the story unfolds, I will provide updates.

Stay tuned!

Quite the adventure

During our last days in Los Olivos we hit a few more wineries, with one of the highlights being Holus Bolus.

From what I understand, they don’t have distribution in Maine as of yet, so I have reached out to the owner of our favorite distributor, to see what she can do. If at all possible, we will have Holus Bolus on the shelves of Island Spirits in the near future.

On Thursday, the adventure back to Maine commenced. And, after departing our temporary digs in Los Olivos, we hit Starbucks for the requisite cup of coffee for the drive to LAX. And, at the lovely’s suggestion, we gave ourselves a bit of time, as traffic heading through Santa Barbara, and then into LA, was fierce.

We did make it, with plenty of time to grab a quick bite (lunch), and then boarded our flight. Landing in DC with just an hour before our next departure, we soon were aboard, and taking off for Portland, where we landed just before midnight.

Somewhat on west coast time, but knowing how late we would be flying in, we had booked a hotel adjacent to the airport, and headed back to Vinalhaven the following morning–arriving back on the island just after 1:00 yesterday.

After settling in, I headed off to the post office to receive a pile of mail; including two corkscrew packages–the Walker peg and worm from TWJ and an unmarked Chinnock.

And, this morning it is back to early morning coffee (cup number two), and starting a new article for The Bottle Scrue Times (for those of you considering submitting for the upcoming issue, the end of February would be the proposed deadline. So, you have a month–give or take)

Stay tuned, you never know what might turn up next.

I found corkscrews!

While there has been a bit of antiquing over the course of our Los Olivos visit, there was one store that defintitely had corkscrews. None that I purchased, but they had some!

Largely, our last few days has consisted of visiting new restaurants, checking out some wineries, venturing out to the coast, and just enjoying the sunshine, knowing that we are in for some snow when we get back to Vinalhaven.

There may be some antiquing today, so you never know what might turn up.

If you are in the area, be sure to hop on over to Buellton, and check out Industrial Eats! Their caesar salad was awesome! As wasa their white pizza on a GF crust.

Not ignoring you…

I know it has been a while since I have updated the blog, but I have been off traveling around.

Last week, I was in Indian Wells for an education / work force development conference, and then a day in Long Beach with the fam. And, now the lovely bride and I are in Los Olivos for the week for some tasting and some rest and relaxation.

There will be some antiquing over the next few days, and you never know what will turn up.

So, I will be updating with any finds as the week progresses.

Window Display of Cutlery

From an 1894 issue of Hardware Dealer’s Magazine

Window Display of Cutlery

Where a hardware dealer wishes to make an attractive display of cutlery and small tools in his window without using much of the tock, the device illustrated herewith is easily arranged :

All that is necessary to make this window fixture is a round or square piece of timber of from one and a half to two feet in length and about six inches in diameter.

The wood is concealed by a veneer of cork, which can be obtained in slabs at any wholesale drug store, and if soaked in water will confirm to the shape of the wood interior.

Method of Construction

The cork may be either glued to the wood or fastened with round-head nickle screws.

Two pieces of neatly-turned wood of oak or cherry are needed to cover each end of the block, as shown in the illustration.  When completed the articles to be displayed are slightly imbedded in the cork covering, which holds them at any angle desired and permits of a good view in all directions.  Pocket knives of various styles, fancy scissors, handsome corkscrews and od pieces of butlery, carelessly arranged, produce a very pretty effect.  When suspended from the ceiling of the window by a fine wire or cork, which a bird-cage spring at the upper end of the wire, the block will be in constant motion, and glistening blades of the knives in the sunlight will attract favorable attention.

The device may also be used for small tools, and if it is desired to make a special drive on a line of scissors or pocket knives, a variety of styles at a uniform price may be displayed with a neat car offering the public their choice at a stated price.