Early bird gets the Worm (helix)

The lovely personal trainer was headed off to California early this morning, and so it was an early wake up call, and after heading down to make coffee at 3 am.  I did a little teaching online, and grabbed the first cup, with the coffee maker having fulfilled the task at hand.

A bit later, I grabbed a second cup, and went back to my laptop; this time checking the usual sites for any interesting corkscrews.

Nothing on eBay of note, and I went back to teaching.

Sometime close to 4, I delivered a cup to the lovely, and headed back downstairs to “my office” (which is not really an office, it is simply a couch with a cup of coffee nearby) where I came upon an interesting listing on a non-eBay site, for a pair of legs with mother of pearl upper scales, with stripes on the lower.

The asking price was fair, and in short order a deal was done.

This morning, it looks like, the early bird got the worm!


Narrowing the list

Tis that time of year, when corkscrew collectors start to consider what corkscrews will make the best 6 of the year.

And, while I certainly hope that something comes my way that alters my decision entirely, I have narrowed the list to 12.

Of course, you are welcome to weigh in on this, but here are the dirty dozen.

What Six do you think should make my Best 6 of 2018?




New ICCA Member

The official word is out, Robert Leopardi is the newest member of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts!


Congratulations Robert! Welcome to the club!

We will raise a glass (or several glasses) in Lofoten!


As is tradition, you are responsible for the first couple of rounds : )

Catching up a bit…

I recognize that it has been a few days since we last talked…

Or, that I last wrote, and you last read, so I figured we should catch up a bit.

The lovely bride and I have been hopping back and forth from the island to the mainland a bit.  First to spend a few days with friends for the Thanksgiving holiday–we supplied the wine, oysters, and lobster, they took care of the Turkey…

and also to do some construction projects on our house in Rockland–the latest was replacing a supporting beam / header in the stairway–if you were taller than 5’9″ descending the stairs would inevitably result in a bump on the head, or alternatively knocking yourself out, should you not duck.

In the 1880’s, when the house was built, the builder must have been a bit shorter than average.

So, I put in a post to support the floor above, cut away the old joist, and installed a new one a few inches back.  This allows for a little headroom, and reduces the risk of concussion whilst traipsing up and down the stairs–unless you are over 6’6″.

After ensuring that we were properly supported, we started framing in a new bathroom on the second floor.  I met with a plumber yesterday, and tomorrow I head back over to put in a couple more walls.  By the weekend, it should be pretty much ready for the rough-in.

Meanwhile, while we are not on the mainland, we are on the island with normal day to day activities; Sue teaching exercise classes and me running the wine shop.  And, of course there is a bit of corkscrewing going on.

No fantastically rare finds as of late, but I have picked up a couple of interesting pieces here and there.

One a Marwood registered corkscrew, and the other a Nogent Chrome knife with folding corkscrew.  Neither are American, so they are destined to be traded, but both were fairly priced.


Also, we have registered for both the 2019 ICCA and CCCC meetings in Lofoten, Norway and Stratford upon Avon, England

We are super excited for our next adventure, and today we will start booking out hotels.

And, this morning, I am editing a few submissions for the upcoming issue of The Bottle Scrue Times.  A fun issue to put together, as this one (largely) focuses upon the Maine Annual General Meeting.

Of course, as we close out November and look to December, we have one month left of the corkscrew collecting fiscal year, and choosing a best 6 for 2018 will soon begin.  What will yours be?

Stay tuned…


“Everybody’s Corkscrew”

From an 1880’s issue of: The Canadian Patent Office Record and Mechanics’ Magazine


Cheap Corkscrew

A Cheap Corkscrew –A novel corkscrew has been introduced by Messrs. Nettlefolds, the well-known screw and wire manufacturers of Birmingham, which is well deserving the attention of the retail trade. As it will be seen from our engraving, it is made of twisted wire, ingeniously fastened so as to afford all the strength and convenience necessary in the drawing of corks. The form of the screw is of the simplest character, and there is nothing in the implement itself that can get out of order, for the twist is so pitched that the downward pressure or turn of the screw actually increases the power of the corkscrew. It is obviously designed for “the million,” and since the article is sold retail for a penny, it will probably soon become what we venture to designate it.—”Everybody’s Corkscrew.”

A few acquisitions…

Over the weekend, the latest collectorcorkscrews.com auction took place, and lots of corkscrews changed hands.  A few bidding wars broke out, and there were a few that made their way into our collection.

The lot with the most bids, and actually the high dollar lot in the auction, was a lovely Japanned Thomason.  And, it is NOT headed to Romania


I had a few up for auction, and sold several.  And, as per usual, I bought one or two; a Sterling medicine spoon


(I have several of these, but the medicine spoon / dosage cup corkscrews are a growing part of the collection).  If you have any extra Zeilin patent corkscrews laying around, I would happily add them to the collection, in particular this one:


The other corkscrew I picked up is the large version of the Walker.  I have long wanted one of these, and this will actually be headed to the wine shop for display.


There were many others in the auction that I would love to add to the collection, but they made their way elsewhere.

And, while you were all bidding, I had an email exchange with a collector who had an interesting prong puller in their collection.

It looks like a Converse, but I gather it is a little bit later.  Still, given the amount of advertising Converse cork pullers in our collection, it will make a nice fit.


Have any of you ever had a Gopher Gulch cork puller?  From researching Gopher Gulch, I would gather this is a 50’s – 70’s piece…  Still, pretty cool!

It is making it’s way from the west coast as we speak, and I will add better pictures when it arrives.



The One!

As the year is winding down, and we begin to consider our best 6 corkscrews of the year, the question that comes to mind is, “what is the find of the year?”

What is that one corkscrew that, not only will make the best 6 for the year, but what is the one find that is THE FIND!

As for me, I am in a quandary, is the Silver Syroco Knight the find of the year, or is the Van Zandt patent cork pull the find of the year?

Because the Knight is a variation in color (albeit a rare thing), I would leans towards the Van Zandt.


But, what about you.  What is your best corkscrew find of the year?

Email me at josef@vintagecorkscrews.com , and I will publish your best find here.


Berkeley House Corkscrew


The other day, the odd figural bellhop shaped corkscrew with ruby rhinestone eyes was listed on eBay with a relatively fair buy it now price.  I thought about it for a bit, but given I have never seen another one, I figured I would go for it.

The reverse is marked A Berkeley House Exclusive, Crafted in Italy.

In doing research into the company, while no corkscrews turn up, lots of housewares do, and mostly from the 50’s – 70’s.


Do any of you have a Berkeley House corkscrew?  Drop me a line!

Elaborate Corkscrews

From a 1904 issue of The Druggists Circular and Chemical Gazette


Elaborate Corkscrews
Globe Trotter

In these days of artistic design in almost every line of articles the cork screw is not forgotten. Artists have undertaken and succeeded well in the production of some unique and useful corkscrews in recent years. The accompanying illustrations will give an idea of some of the designs seen by the writer while traveling in various parts of the world.


The Spanish have some very well designed corkscrews, calculated to attract notice, even if the deice is weakened by the fact of its many decorations and carvings. The Japanese have some finely engraved corkscrews, some of which are inlaid with luxurious design work, at considerable outlay of labor. The Filipino, the Hindoo and the people of the Hawaiian island use some fantastic screws for opening bottles.


In America, as in England, one finds some very good examples of what may be done in the line of engraved cork screws, where one is inclined to pay the costs of expensive stock, the carving and setting.
A type of odd corkscrew is exhibited in Figure 1. This is made of ivory, bone, composition, and even of hardwood. I saw it in several forms. The practiced corkscrew designer makes this type entirely of hand work as the chance for using mechanical contrivances is small.


The body portion is one of chosen stock. The eyes are pearls or imitation stones. The teeth in most instances are dog teeth or bone filed to proper size and shape. Various decorations are added. These corks screws when made by artists bring several dollars. When made cheaply, by apprentices or cheap workmen, the same effect is obtained for a dollar or so, if inferior stock is used.


In Figure 2 is still another form of corkscrew used both in foreign countries and here. The Turks use this type. I also saw some similar styles of this pattern in Nagasaki. The handle is made of several different speices of stock. Exceeding hard wood fiber is chosen, or the stock of water-buffalo horn. Bone is also employed. I saw some of this design made from stone. The handle is strongly made up. There are some points described at either end of the handle, the purpose of which no one


seems to know. The flourished work in the middle of the ball of each end of the handle is made by carving with the point of a sharp tool for which much patience is required.
The so called snake-handles are also peculiar in combination and design. One of these snake-handles is exhibited in Figure 3. It is made in wood, stone, bone, and several other grades of stock. The handle is remarkably strong for its kind. One would supposed that it would break under strain. I tried some of these corkscrews and found them to be quite substantial.


The snake head is usually set with glistening stones to get the desired effect in the eyes. The body of coils is highly polished, and with the glistening eyes makes quite an exhibition.

The corkscrew in Figure 4 is made on other lines. The handle is a straight piece of shaft, bone ivory, horn, wood, or other stock rounded and smoothed with tedious work to get the proper results. There are three rings of pearl-set portions adjusted around the handle. In these rings the gems are inserted. I saw some corkscrews in the possession of the sultan of Sulu and the have even found their way into the northern markets. Their value is from $4, the cheapest I saw, to $25, the highest priced one I saw.

One of the knuckle types of corkscrews is the next shown. These are admired by the Asiastic races. I have also seen corkscrews of this class in San Francisco. Metal is often utilized in designing of the rings, and this assures strength. The rings are soldered. I saw soe of these handles made from silver. The rings are arranged so as to insert four fingers; they are usually small and only fingers of a small person can pass in. The corkscrews is more for ornamental purposes than anything else.

Spanish ladies often use the single ring corkscrew, a drawing of which is presented in Figure 6. One of these also attracted by attention in Honolulu. There are not many in use in America, although a druggist tells me that he has handled them in the past. The ring corkscrew is so made that it can me carried readily in a small case or loose. It seemed to me that the owners of these ring corkscrews work them chiefly as ornaments. I saw some set with studdings and gems like ordinary flower rings. The effect is odd. To see a common ring fitted with a corkscrew spiral seems peculiar.

The final cork screw in the cluster is marked Figure 7, and it is intended both for purposes of ornament and for service. The ring cylinder is set with a head piece which is engraved on. Bone, ivory, ebony, hardwoods, metals, horn, etc., are employed in making this type of ring screw. There is appoint supplied to the end of the ring opposite the spiral point.