Corkscrewing around 2017…

The lovely and I are heading off for a quick getaway for the coming days, and there surely will be some champagne and antiquing involved in our travels.

And, we wish you all a Happy New Year filled with love, peace, understanding, health, and of course, corkscrews.

Happy New Year!, and what a 2017 it was…

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Best Six for 2017

As mentioned, 2017 was a fantastic year of hunting and gathering.  Here are the best six fo

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  1. Wall mount GENERAL APPLIANCE CO. SO. CHARLESTON W.VA. PAT. PEND opener with corkscrew. Not pictured in any corkscrew publication thus far. No patent yet found.
  1. Syroco Painted Clown in Red.
  1. Charles C. Call’s patent of 1909 (#911,292) for a “Cork Pulling Device.” (see O’Leary, 1996, p. 126). Marked CALL’S IDEAL CORK PULLER PAT. APPLIED FOR SPRINGFIELD MASS. An interesting side note, C.C. Call had several patents with some awarded to Smith and Wesson, where Call was an employee for 65 years!
  1. G. B. Adams 1896 Patent (# 564.356). The second example in the collection, the reverse is marked THE WHITEHEAD & HOAG CO. NEWARK, N.J., PATENTED JULY 17, 1894, APRIL 14, 1896, JULY 21, 1896. The front is an advertisement for R. V. PIERCE, M.D. Pres. World’s Dispensary Medical Ass’n.

(see Morris, 2012, http://www.the-icca.net/library/US_Corkscrew_2012/14.html)

  1. Humason & Beckley Ivory handled direct pull. Marked on the shank H & B, MF’G CO.

 

  1. Spaulding-Gorham Ivory and Sterling prong puller. This looks strikingly like a Converse patent, however the only marking is SPAULDING-GORHAM and STERLING 97. Spaulding & Co., originally was S. Hoard & Co., but in 1920 was bought by Gorham Mfg., and they 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 put a date range to the cork puller of somewhere between 1920 and 1943.

 

What will make the best six for 2018, you just never know what will turn up.

Good hunting!

Another corkscrew article

The other day I received an email asking if I would be willing to be interviewed for an upcoming magazine article on collecting antique bar and cellar instruments.

I, of course, agreed and the interview will be taking place over the next couple days.  Having written a fair amount, and having interviewed others myself, I know that it is sometimes helpful to get some background information.  So, in my affirmative response, I asked is there any specific information the writer was looking for.

One of the questions he responded with was: What are a couple of rare corkscrews they could find but probably won’t?

 

Hmmm…

They probably won’t find a Philos Blake.  But, they could.

They probably won’t find a Russell.  But, they could.

They probably won’t find a Syroco Tramp in a box of kitchen stuff at a random flea market.  But they could.

They probably won’t find a folding Greeley bowl of folding button hooks.  But they could.

When I go out on the hunt for corkscrews, there are lots of rare corkscrews that I probably won’t find.  But,  the mere fact that there is a chance, even a slim one, that something rare, scarce, previously undocumented, unusual, desirable, etc., is what drives me.

It is the reason that we hunt.

And, no, I haven’t found  a Philos Blake (yet) other than the one laying at my feet, and I no I haven’t found a Russell (yet), but for all the Walkers, Williamsons, and Cloughs that you do find here and there, amongst them, there may be a Sperry or a White, or a Rees…   Hope springs eternal!

After the article is published, I will try and get a copy and post it here.

Maybe this it will pique the interest of a new collector or two.

And, while they may not find any rarities as they begin the hunt…they still could.

 

 

 

Narrowing the list

It is that time of year again.  26 days until the end of the fiscal-corkscrew-collecting year. And, while I would love to add a few more to the collection before the year is out, it is time to start narrowing the list of what will make the best six of the year.

And, as has become tradition, I put it out to you guys to vote on what should make the list.

For me, sometimes it isn’t about the rarest per se, but the most appropriateness of fit within the collection.  And, given that I focus on corkscrews of American manufacture, that certainly narrows the list already.

Still, feel free to vote below, and help me narrow the list!

It has indeed been a good year of corkscrew collecting thus far…

Of course, there were many other corkscrews picked up this year that could make the list but just didn’t make the cut.  And, there are those that have been traded away; The combination hammer with fold out corkscrew ended up with John Morris. The black and red legs that got traded away, but then ended up in Jose’s collection via the collectorcorkscrews.com auction.  And, of course there was the folding Greeley that made its way into TC’s collection.

It is still a good time to be a corkscrew collector!  They are still out there.  Here is a small sampling of corkscrews that didn’t make the list, but might make someone else’s best 6!

That said, here are the 9 that are in the running, but it is time to narrow them down to six.

Of course, something could turn up in the coming weeks that makes the decision that much harder.

Still, feel free to weigh in.

 

Looks like I need some corkscrew stands…

As mentioned the other day, the IKEA adventure landed us three cases for the corkscrew collection.  After assembling the first one, and then taking apart and then assembling it correctly, the other two went together pretty quickly.

And, putting them in place we came to the realization that we need more shelves and little bracket thingies to hold said shelves.

And, we need more cases!  We are thinking two more.

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And, we definitely need some corkscrew stands.

Still, I have placed a few in one of the cases, and I like how the top is glass.  This allows for more light to come in, and is a great place to set a glass of wine (or two).

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Did I mentioned we need more corkscrew stands…

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I do like using the oversized cork stands from Tommy, but we need more!  And, probably some of those acrylic stands as well.

I will continue to load corkscrews into the cases in the coming days, and will add more pictures then.

And, if you get tired of looking at corkscrews when you come to visit, the view from the corkscrew room isn’t bad.

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Charles C. Call

One of the cork pullers that I have long been after is the 1909 Charles C. Call patent.

US911292.pdf

An interesting tool, one would push the spike through the cork.  After penetrating the cork, a button is depressed at which point a lever slides out underneath the cork perpendicular to the shaft of the cork puller. This would then allow for the cork to be withdrawn

At least that is how it looks like it work.

In reading the Charles C. Call patent description, he explained it like this.

The device, preparatory to using it for pulling a cork, has the rod C forced to or near the limit of its downward movement, as shown in Fig. 1, longitudinally alining the pivot bar with the stem. The stem with the bar thus ensconced therein may, because of the pointed extremity a, be readily forced centrally through the cork sufficiently far to bring the pivot g a little ways below the lower end of the cork. Now by upwardly forcing the rod, which will automatically be done by the contacting of the angular exteriorly extending member 2′ against the top of the cork so as to bring the lower deflected end of the rod in the least degree above the axis of the pivot, the spring reaction of the deflected extremity in an inward direction exerts a leverage action on the pivot barresulting in the throwing of the same towards a position at right angles to its normal position. This bar then on the upward drawing of the stem through means of the cross handle 03 becomes interlocked the extraction of the cork from. the bottle neck.

It will be noticed that in the position ofthe bar, Fig. 2, a shoulder h is near the point of the deflected spring extremity of the rod. The shouldered formation and the coaction therewith of the stem having its lower extremity of the character mentioned, faciliates in restoring the pivot bar to its ensconced condition, an occasiontherefor may arise. It will be explained in this connection that a person might improperly force the pointed stem through a cork so far to one side that when the pivot bar were thrown to its transverse relation to the stem it might interlock under the. shouldered neck of the bottle, rendering it impossible to pull out the cork or withdraw the implement; but it will be apparent that in such an event the stem may be forced slightly further inwardly so as to carry the bar clear from the cork and then by the manipulation of the red the cross bar would be restored to its alined normal position of alinement with the slot 6, enabling one hand to easily withdraw the device from its engagement through the cork.

By the provision of a cork pulling device substantially such as described, and made of a comparatively small size, quite large and firmly set corks may be pulled with certainty, and after a cork may have been pierced by the bottle stem, and pulled from the bottle and the stem drawn out centrally from the pierced cork, the latter by reason of the elastic character thereof will fill or close the comparatively small axial hole made, thereby leaving the cork more available for continued use than would be the case were the same subjected to the action of a spiral cork screw.

Aha!  An added benefit.  The cork could be reused!

Our man Charles C. Call was awarded several different patents, and importantly, several were assigned to Smith & Wesson, where old Charlie was an employee.  According to Smith & Wesson folk, he worked there for 65 years!

65 years!

I have been in contact with a Smith and Wesson historian, as well as the S & W historical society to see if we can’t unearth a little more information about Charles C. Call.

More information will be added as it finds its way into my email box.

Until then… this surely is a Best Six Candidate for 2017.

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New Corkscrew Cases

The construction on the corkscrew room has been complete for a while now, but we have been in the market for the right cases to house the collection.  I had first thought of steel barrister cases, but the vintage ones are often in poor shape, and when they are not in poor shape, the price of them is simply too high.  And, trying to get three or four stacked sets that are matching is also difficult.

After look at several at Brimfield in September, we needed to head another direction.

Looking around online, I ran into a nice metal and glass option that was available at IKEA.  The measurements were right, they had the right look for the space, so I tried to order them online.

Okay…  Apparently that doesn’t work.

When we visited Tommy, we made a quick stop at IKEA to check them out in person.  Yes, these are definitely going to work.

The closest IKEA to where we live, is in Stoughton, MA.  A mere one hour and fifteen minute boat ride, and a 4 hour vehicle ride down to their location.

So, a couple of weeks ago, we were going to head over to the mainland and pick up 3 cases.  I called the IKEA phone number, only to be told they didn’t have any.

I then asked if I could call ahead when the stocks were replenished, pay for three, and then come down and pick them up at an appointed time.

Okay…  Apparently they don’t do that.

So, yesterday, the lovely bride and I having made it across to the mainland the day before, decided to make the drive down.  If they don’t have any in stock, perhaps they will have something else that will work.

Note to self: IKEA on a Sunday in November is mayhem!

The huge parking lot was pretty much full.  And, the store, filled with people.

We meandered through the store, trying to avoid the less determined, and finally made it to the section that had the aforementioned case.

Interestingly, I had originally wanted the cases to be blue in color, but in talking to one of the IKEA-folk, after they checked their stock levels, there were zero available in blue.

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But, our the other color we were interested in (a light gray) was available.

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Knowing that these apparently are selling lot hot cakes, I asked if they would reserve three of them for me until I could get to the purchase area.

Apparently they don’t do that.

Around the corner, I saw a display of the cases we were after.  And, it definitely reified in me that these were indeed the right addition to the corkscrew room.

The irony of seeing the cases in the display; four stacked adjacent to one another, and another not too far away, was that they were all the blue color.

Okay, so you don’t have any blue cases for sale, but you have five blue cases on display… that I can’t buy.  I mean, can you sell me the display pieces?  I will take three!

Apparently they don’t do that.

Still, with the bulk of the Massachusetts population shopping IKEA on Sunday, and knowing that the gray will also work well in the space, I walked the 1.5 miles through the IKEA glassware, IKEA cabinets, IKEA kitchens, IKEA bathrooms, IKEA lighting, IKEA rugs, IKEA bedding, and after dodging and weaving countless customers, found the warehouse area where, after retrieving a cart, found Aisle 67: Shelf 21, the locale of what was left of the last 10 gray-soon-to-be-corkscrew-cases.  I put three–which is actually 6 different boxes–onto the cart, and headed to check out.

Having completed my purchase, I loaded the boxes into the xterra.

Mission accomplished.

Now, it was on to a well-earned glass of wine, lunch with the lovely, and after an enjoyable evening in Boston, a 4 hour drive back up to Maine, a boat ride back to the island.  The corkscrew cases…which have to be assembled, should be in the corkscrew room and filled with corkscrews within a day or so.

Of course, there are more cases also to be added…  But, pictures will be posted after the assembly is complete, and a few corkscrews are placed in said display cases…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evil Clown

Just the other day, I was perusing our second favorite auction site, and a listing popped up for a “Evil Clown corkscrew figurine ceramic or possibly syraco dist. by King.”

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The piece had a more colorful paint job than usual, but over the years several color variations have turned up.

And, the buy it now price wasn’t bad at all.  I decided to go for it.

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I don’t know if the clown is truly evil.  And, it isn’t ceramic, but it is Syroco and it will make a nice addition to the collection.

Or Tommy’s collection…

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Whatcha got to trade TC?

Looks like there is a space for him in front of the white clown with black hair next to the stained monk…