Sent for 60 cents, postpaid.

From an 1867 issue of Scientific American

Whew! how many revolutions ?–one–my cork extractor is making all over the country ! Sent for 60 cents, postpaid. State rights for sale. Address W. G. Waterman, Middletown, Conn.

This would be W.G. Waterman’s patent of 1967 for his Improved Cork Extractor:

His patent description explains:

Letter A, handle ; B, corkscrew ; C, groove in handle for corkscrew ; D, catch; E, spring ; F, pins ; G, thumb-piece ; H, groove for spring; I, ferrule;  J, cork ; K, bottle.  The handle I construct of wood, into which, at or near the centre, of one side, I attach the corkscrew B, so connected that it can be turned down into the groove C, made in the handle to receive it.  D is a catch, fastened to the handle, to hold open the cork-screw when used.  E is a spring, one oend of which is fastened to the handle by pins F F F, the other end being attached to the submb-puiece G.  H is a groove, made the whole length of the handle A, which is wider at the bottom than at the top, that the end of the spring E may slide in it.  I is a ferrule on the end of the handle, under which the spring is made to slide, by taking hold of the thumb-piece G, which is rivetd into the end of the spring E in the groove.  J is a cork, represented as being extracted from the bottle K.

The patent description then continues to describe the piece in use:

The operation of the instrument is as follows:  Whenever a cork is to be extracted, the end of the handle I inserted into the bottle, then, by taking hold of the thumb-piece G, the spring E can be pushed into the bottle, the spring expands, and when the bottle is inserted, the cork goes between the inner sides of the spring E, and when drawn by the handle, the spring closes around the cork, and is drawn out.

If Waterman’s patent was being offered for sale at 60 cents, I am guessing there may have been a few customers that were interested. Yet, I don’t know if a Waterman patent has yet to have been found in our collective corkscrew collecting world.

If you happen to have an example, I would love to see pictures of it.

Lowenstein’s Bottle Attachment

Collections within our Collections:

Julius W. Lowenstein’s Bottle Attachment

Originally Published in the Spring issue of The Bottle Scrue Times

On May 19, 1903, William J. Lowenstein was granted patent number 728,735 for a “Bottle Attachment.” His intent, was to create a space on the surface of a bottle where a corkscrew would fit behind the label.  His patent description explains, “The object of my invention is to provide a means for utilizing the label of a bottle for holding a corkscrew or other tool, thereby dispensing with rubber bands, strings, wires, &c., for this purpose.”

Later on his patent description, he adds “The corkscrew C is first placed within the recess B, and then the label is pasted on the bottle, with its upper edge extending across the ring-shaped portion B’ of said recess and preferably about the middle thereof, and as the upper central portion of the label adheres to the portion D of the side of the bottle the corkscrew will be securely in the pocket formed for it by the recess and the label, thereby dispensing with the need for rubber bands, wires, &c., for securing the corkscrew to the bottle.  Moreover, it will be impossible to use the corkscrew without defacing the label, which renders it impossible to refill and use a bottle a second time without detection unless it shall have also been relabeled.”

And, of course, as the patent drawing shows us, he provides an illustration of the corkscrew with advertising hang tag, explaining in the patent description, “In Fig. 5 I have shown in side elevation a view of the corkscrew adapted to be used with my bottle and have shown the ring-shaped portion of the same provided with an advertising tag, such as is usually made of tin, but may be made of any preferred material.” 

Beyond the corkscrew, which would be of interest to all of us, is Lowenstein’s use of words “my bottle.”  Further, the corkscrew illustrated in the patent displays an advertisement for “Old Harvest Corn Whiskey.”  

As it happens, Dr. Julius Lowenstein was a dentist from Rochester, New York, who moved with his brother-in-law M.W. Meyer to Statesville, North Carolina in 1884 where they started Lowenstein & Co., a wholesale liquor distributor and producer.   And, one of Lowenstein’s brands was Old Harvest Corn Whiskey.  So, when he mentions “my bottle” in his patent, he literally was speaking of the whiskey he himself produced.

During this time, Statesville was dubbed the “whiskey capital of the world,” as they were the last southern stop on the railroad before trains would head west, and in 1880’s, 450 distilleries were shipping their products through Statesville. 

The title of “whiskey capital” and Lowenstein’s company would be short lived, as with rising taxes and the anti-liquor and prohibition movement being strong in North Carolina, Lowenstein closed in 1896.

On June 16, 1896, as reported in the Statesville Landmark, “It has been an open secret that Messrs. Key & Co., so long in the wholesale liquor business here would go out of that business entirely. Messrs. Lowenstein & Co. have also decided to go out of the wholesale business. The closing of these two houses ends the wholesale liquor business in Statesville.” 

Lowenstein then headed to Atlanta where he gained ownership of the Norris Candy Company.  But, this also adds to the story.   Lowenstein’s patent of his bottle attachment came after his departure from Statesville and the closing of his wholesale business.  And perhaps that is why we have yet to find a Lowenstein patent advertising a Lowenstein product.

Of course, there are variations that do NOT advertise a Lowenstein & Co., product.  And, to my knowledge there are a dozen variations of advertising that appear on the Clough-like wire corkscrew with the advertising hang tag.

I will add here, that none of the examples I have seen carry any type of patent date, but based on the illustration in Lowenstein’s patent drawing and an advertisement for Pearl Wedding Rye, we begin to see what Lowenstein was suggesting—or perhaps suggesting avoiding.

The following are the known examples of the Lowenstein patent, with several coming from a collection within our collection.

Bailey’s H & C Pure Rye

Corkscrew image from Collectorcorkscrews.com

Bailey’s Pure Rye Whiskey was a product produced by Huey and Christ in Philadelphia, and in 1875 took over the production of Dr. Stoever’s Tonic Herb Bitters, German and Cock-Tail Bitters, and were an importer of wines, brandies and gins.

CLARK, CHAPIN, AND BUSHNELL’S EXTRACTS, NEW YORK: 

Corkscrew image from Bullworks.net

Clark, Chapin, and Bushnell were importers, wholesale grocers, and tea jobbers with a location at 177 and 179 Duane Street, New York City.

FRANCIS H. LEGGETT & CO. NEW YORK:

Francis H. Leggett joined his father’s grocery at the age of 18, and after becoming partner a few years later, started Francis H. Leggett & Co., a grocer, jobber, and distributor.  Within the next decade his operation became one of the largest in New York.  

While Leggett distributed a myriad of products, the reverse of the hangtag on this Lowenstein is marked “PURE SPICES, FINE FLAVORING EXTRACTS”

WESTHEIMER & SONS, PLANET, SOUR MASH, ST. JOSEPH, MO:

Ferdinand Westheimer & Son’s was a distiller in Louisville, Kentucky whose brands included Boston League, C.C. Bond, Clover Brook, Manhattan Reserve, McAllister, Number One, Old Hutch, Planet Sour Mash, White House Club, and Pullman Rye, but had their greatest success with their Red Top Rye.

HANCE BROS. & WHITE, PHARM’CL CHEMISTS PHILADELPHIA

Hance Bros. & White was a pharmaceutical chemists company in Philadelphia.  One of their many products was Frog in Your Throat lozenges.

HUMPHREY & MARTIN’S FINE WHISKEYS PHILAD PA (found in yellow or tan)

Humphrey & Martin were distillers and wholesale liquor distributors in Philadelphia producing the brands Anchor Rye, Bouquet, Clyde, and Golden Lake.  

LEWIS 66 WHISKEY

Lewis 66 Whiskey was a product produced by Strauss Pritz & Co., distillers out of Cincinnati, Ohio.  They also made a myriad of brands: 1875″, “A. Lewis & Sons Pure Hand Made Sour Mash”, “Bon Ton Rye”, “Bouquet Rye”, “Cream of Anderson”, “Durham Distilling Co. Rye”, “Durham Rye”, “Edge Cliff”, “Flower of Kentucky”, “Flower of Maryland”, “Fountain Run”, “J. M. Walker’s Anderson County Hand Made Sour Mash Distilled Spring 1868”, “Lewis 66”, “Mercer Co. Kentucky Pure Small Grain Bourbon”, “Mountain Brook”, “Old Bon Ton”, “Old Winchester”, “Planet Rye”, “Roanoke Rye”, “Small Grain Bourbon”, “The Celebrated Longfellow”, “The Famous Lewis 66”, “Winchester “, “Winchester Rye”, and “X & S P Co. X.”

PEARL WEDDING RYE and PEARL WEDDING SELECT RYE WHISKEY

Pearl Wedding Rye, and Pearl Wedding Select Rye Whiskey were produced and distributed by the United Wine and Trading Company in New York.  

And, they even featured the corkscrew attached to the bottle in some of their advertising.  Look closely at two bottles on the right in the advertisement here.

THE GREAT A&P TEA CO’S EXTRACTS (found in red or tan)

That would be the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company that ultimately would become the A & P grocery chain; at one point the largest retailer in the United States with 15,000 locations nationwide in the 1930’s.

WEISS-EICHOLD LIQUOR CO. MOBILE, ALA

Changed their name to Weiss-Eichold in 1901 from Eichold Bros. & Weiss.  

Corkscrew image courtesy of John Morris.

Weiss-Eichold was a wholesale dealer of Liquors, Cigars, and Tobaccos, and apparently a self-proclaimed, “Rectifier of Spirits.”

They produced brands such as Big Hit whiskey, Golden Cream whiskey, and blended brands such as Belle of Mobile, Rag Time, and Simon Suggs.

If you have a Lowenstein patent, that is different than the ones shown in this article, feel free to drop me a line at josef@vintagecorkscrews.com

“Rocking” Cork Puller

From a 1946 issue of House and Garden

NO MORE BROKEN CORKS

No “lost in the bottle” corks, either, with the Gourmet Cork Puller.  It is the slickest way to pull a cork your ever saw.  (It is also a bottle opener).  Very attractive gift box, too.  Silver plated model $ 2.95; Sterling Silver (with tropical wood handle) plus leather case $5.00; Completely gold plated handle $ 10.00 with leather case.  All Postpaid.  Gift Cards enclosed.  Please, no COD’s.

I have seen a few Gourmet Cork Pullers over the years, but I have yet to see one in Sterling. And, I definitely have not see one that is gold plated.

If you have a Sterling or Gold Plated Gourmet Cork Puller, drop me a line.

“Two-Legged” CORK PULLER

From a 1905 issue of Normal Instructor:

Get the “Two-Legged” CORK PULLER.

Anyone can use it.  One size pulls large or small corks with perfect ease without injuring the cork.  Far superior to best cork screw ever made.  Legs are easily removed and slide in handle for pocket use.

Prevents tearing corks to pieces, breaking knifes pushing corks back into bottles or jerking and spilling contents.  Worth the price a thousand times.  Postpaid, only 25c.  Agents wanted.

Kennedy Mfg. Co., Hackensack, N. J.

ONLY ONE SIZE

FITS ANY BOTTLE

Now the Two-Legged Cork Puller would be the T. Kennedy patent (777,380) of 1904…

and I would love to add one to the collection.

If you have a cork puller that resembles the Kennedy, feel free to drop me a line!

and, let the bidding begin

It’s auction time!

The collector corkscrews.com auction is officially open for bidding, and there are over 900 corkscrew lots upon which to bid!

As mentioned the other day, I have a few that are up for bidding, and there are definitely a few that I will be going after.

Let the bidding begin!

Needed in every House, Restaurant, Hotel, Store, Office, Aboard Yachts and Ships

A seller on eBay, is selling a Converse patent cork puller with an original sheet of instructions. The instructions, pictured below, are a bit tattered and torn. And, I won’t be purchasing said lot, but I thought I would see if I couldn’t fill in the missing words.

Needed in every House, Restaurant, Hotel, Store, Office, 

Aboard Yachts and Ships.

THOUGH YOU MAY HAVE MANY OLD STYLE CORK SCREWS

THIS EXCELS THEM ALL.

EASY, QUICK SURE AND SAFE

For Opening Grape Juice, Malt and Ginger Ale it has no Equal.

Does not injure the cork at all.  Pulls large or small corks with equal faculty. No matter how tightly inserted.

It is simple—a lady or child can use.

Will not shake or spill the contents of the bottle.

SPECIAL DIRECTIONS.

Take the Puller and try to open a bottle, following these directions step by step, and after a minute’s practice you will be able to open a bottle, large or small.

You do not want to pull as with the old style cork screw

But turn and gently pull at he same time and the cork rides up and out.

Take notice of that Rocking Motion, (see cut.) TO YOU AND FROM YOU rocking the tines down ALTERNATELY.  If opening a hard wine or Guiness Stout bottle ROCK the puller down the whole length of the tines so as to be sure the bottle is vented.  Now taket eh driction off the cork by turning the Puller, cork and all around and around and the cork rides up, out, ad drops from the Puller.  If the cork is flattened out over bottle neck, stick tines through flattened cork.

To Re-Cork a Bottle with the Puller

Place the cork well up between the tines, insert the tines cork and all into the bottle neck.  Now turn and bear down at the same time and the cork rides in.  When down even with the bottle neck pull the Puller straight out and your bottle is left smoothly corked.

Also, of note, is at the bottom of the instructions is handwritten, Louis Einstein Co. I wonder if the Converse and instructions and Converse was being pitched to the retailer…

Carpets, Wall Paper, Shades, Lace Curtains and (Cork Pullers) a Specialty…

Springing Forward

We had to spring forward yesterday, and before you knew it, it was time to the road.

We were on the mainland, and there was an antique show in Bath to start the morning.

We headed down, found parking, and made our way into the show.

A small show, but with really good dealers and some fantastic things available–not so much in the way of corkscrews–but both the lovely bride and I definitely have an eye for antiques that are too large to carry, and Ralph-Lauren-y-looking stuff that really doesn’t fit into our house.

So, we passed on the fabulous rowing oars the were totally underpriced, what looked like a galvanized steel satchel (perhaps for a horse) an awesome Cartier flask with matching cups monogrammed MEOW (with a cat and mouse drinking martinis also monogrammed on the flask), and a few other items.

Down one aisle, I found a dealer that I know from Brimfield and Montsweag, and he always has corkscrews. Nothing super, but I picked up a faceted bow as we exchanged pleasantries.

We headed down the next aisle and the next, and ran into another Brimfield dealer friend. He too usually has corkscrews, and I picked up a Walker peg and worm from him.

He and I had a promising conversation. A few years ago, I showed him the Van Zandt patent that I had recently picked up…

…and he explained he had a similarly functioning cork extractor–he didn’t know that patent–but we have been talking about it ever since.

Yesterday, he mentioned that he will bring it to Brimfield for me (unfortunately, not the May show coming up).

Looks like I will HAVE to be at Brimfield in July as well.

After walking the entire show, and not buying anything large or oversized, we made another pass around the perimeter, and I picked up a Weinke patent marked O.I.C CORK DRAWER.

It was cheap, and I like how it was marked.

From the Bath show, we headed south to El Rayo for lunch. Then off to Lucky Pigeon! A Maine craft brewery doing only gluten-free beer. Their pale, blonde, and IPA are really good.

Their stout is awesome. And, the lovely picked up 3 cases to bring back to Island Spirits, with a four-pack of stout heading to the house for me.

From Lucky Pigeon it was of to Woodfire (another brewery) where we picked up another wholesale beer order, and after a bit of Trader Joe’s-ing, we were on the road again, but still had another antique mall to hit along the way.

No corkscrews there, and we opted NOT to buy a large brass camel saddle.

Really, the camel saddle was tempting.

A great day on the mainland, and a few corkscrews were acquired.

And, the promising conversation regarding the Van-Zandt-like cork extractor is definitely promising.

Stay tuned!

Lookout for Yeggs…

From a December 1932 edition of The Sierra Madre News

Lookout for Yeggs, Police Head Warns Local Householders

Chief of Police Gordon McMillan has issued the following warning to Sierra Madre householders:

“Look out for solicitors! Now on the eve of our greatest holiday the residents who do not want to be bothered by solicitors , peddlers and those selling everything from a patent corkscrew with an ivory handle, to a can opener, and who do not desire to be disturbed from their early morning slumbers or their noon-day naps, should place a card on their doors, stating “Agents, Peddlers, Solicitors, and Beggars Prohibited—No Trespassing.” In placing this card upon your door you will be cooperating with your police department.

“At the present time there is an influx of box-car tourists from the east going from door to door.

Soliciting and peddling are occupations used by sneak-theives, yeggs and crooks as an excuse to enter your premises, and if you chanced to be away from your home, what might happen? And, besides its 100 to one that the peddler is operating without a liscense, violating the law and you have no come back on their wares or representations.”

As an aside:

Merriam-Webster defines Yegg in the following way:
Definition of yegg
:SAFECRACKER
also : ROBBER

Missouri Wine & Liquor Co.

The other day, DB sent me an email with an image of a Converse corkscrew extractor with advertising that doesn’t appear on my list.

And, well, I don’t have it so, in short order a deal was struck.

The sheath is marked COMPLIMENTS OF MISSOURI WINE & LIQUOR CO.

Of course, it will make a nice addition to the Converse cork extractor with advertising.

So… Who is the Missouri Wine and Liquor Co.

In 1885, the business was called the Missouri Wine Co., but added “Liquor” to their moniker in 1888. And, amongst their offerings they had their own label of whiskey known as “Art Hill Whiskey.”

“Art Hill” being area of Forest Park in St. Louis.

If you want to learn more about Converse cork extractors, and their use as a vehicle for advertising, you can read an article about them that I wrote a few years ago, A Two-Pronged Sales Approach: Converse Cork Extractors with Advertising.