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!

The Edie Cork Extractor

From an 1890 issue of The Iron Age:

The Edie Cork Extractor

The cork extractor represented in the accompanying illustration is the invention of Alexander Edie, Bridgeport, Conn., and was patented February 4 last.  Its sale is controlled by the inventor and James A. Murray of Butte City, Montana, for whom is manufactured by the Smith


& Egge Mfg. Company, Bridgeport.  The screw in the extractor is described as made of solid steel worked out in shape by tools designed for this special purpose.  There are no levers in the construction, and it is very simple in operation.  Turning the crank shown in the cut forces the screw into the cork, lifts the latter out, and frees it from the screw, permitting it to fall out of the way. If there be any wires confining the cork it is not necessary to cut them before inserting the neck of the bottle in the extractor.  They are referred to as broken when the cork is extracted by the action of the screw.  It will thus be perceived that the extraction of the cork is easily and quickly accomplished.  The extractor is referred to as symmetrical and ornamental in design and finish, and is polished and nickel plated.

The article mentions Edie as having a patent for this device… #420,572.


Do you have this in your collection?  If you do, drop me a line!



“you know…it’s been a while since you blogged.”

Okay, I know.  It has been a few days since I last posted anything.  Fact is, the lovely lovely personal trainer and I escaped the island for a few days and wining,  dining, and antiquing in Savannah.

Thus far, we have certainly wined and dined, and we even antiqued a bit.  A couple of corkscrews were found, but more or less common.  Not surprisingly, the more or less common, also would have required more (and more) money than we would want to spend.

Being on vacation, however, I tend not to spend a lit of time online.  But, this morning over coffee, after a bit of teaching duties, I figured I should check in.

If any newsworthy corkscrew finds turn up, I will report back here.

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?


Speaking of the Hall’s Red Devil Skull Poison Indicator Corkscrews

As mentioned previously, in doing research into poison indicators with corkscrews, I have been engaged in conversations with some poison bottle collectors.  One of which, happened to have an original box which once contained the Hall Red Devil Skulls.

Here are some images of the information provided on the box…



Poison Bottle Indicator


3 cents –each

2 for 5 cents





¼ Gross

Poison Bottle Indicator







Suggestions to Druggist on How to Sell RED – DEVIL –SKULLS

  1. Recommend them for use on poison bottles already in the home.
  2. When filling or refilling poisonous prescriptions, or other medicines put Red – Devil – Skulls on the bottles.

If you have an empty box that previously contained Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrews, or preferably still contains Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrews, I would love to add it (them) to the collection.  Drop me a line.


In my effort to find more information about poison indicators and corkscrews, I ended up having an exchange with a few poison bottle collectors.  After sharing the poison indicator corkscrews in their respective collections (Mahalah Hudson patent Bell and Hall’s Devils).  One collector also shared an image of the codd pusher corkscrews in his collection.  And, within and amongst the usual suspects was this.

Marked “WONANALL” and “PATENT APPLIED FOR.” it is a really neat piece.

Anyone out there have information about the WONANALL?  Or, do you have one in your collection?


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!