Simmons Brothers Sterling Converse

The other day, I mentioned acquiring another example of the Converse patent in Sterling.

And, also as mentioned, it is different than the other one in the collection.

Nicely marked with the patent date of May 9, 99, STERLING, and with the Simmons’ makers’ mark, it is pretty fabulous.

So, while technically it isn’t a double, as the handle is different, it is actually the second Simmons Brothers’ Sterling Converse in the collection.

They do make a handsome pair, although the recent arrival could use a little polishing.

Actually, both could use a little polishing.

And, placed with the Spaulding Gorham example, a nice tri-fecta.

Hayward’s Cork Puller

From an 1886 issue of American Druggist; an article taken from Scientific American focusing on Hayward’s Cork Puller, and some editorializing from the editors at American Druggist.


JOHN W. HAYWARD, of St. John’s New Foundland, is the inventor of an appliance for drawing corks, which makes it easy to get a cork out of a bottle as it is to drive it in.  An ordinary cork, O, of the required size, has a piece of strong non-corrosive twine, 1, let into tis sides.  A button or shield, 5, also non-corrosive, is placed on the inner end of the cork to prevent the twine cutting through it.  A hand metal tag, 2, is secured on the twine where it is knotted, or in case a capsule is placed on the end of the piece, 4, which hangs below the capsule.

A rubber button, 3, placed on the outer end of the cork, has a hole slit through which the twine passes.   In 6 is shown the wire attached to the

bottle neck, 61 representing the hook, and 62 the manner of locking it in place.  7 gives the appearance of a bottle when corked and the twine secured on the wire hooks.  In 8, a capsule has been placed over the cork, ad the tag is seen protruding beneath its edge.  9 shows the manner of securing the twin over the wire by stretching the elastic

button, 2 and 91 the top view of the bottle when the operation is completed When the cork is driven into the bottle, the rubber button is turned over on the twine and tag, as shown in 10, to protect from injury.  The button is then reversed, one loop of the twine passed under the wire hook on one side, and by stretching the rubber button the other loops is secured on the opposite hook.  The process of unbottling is shown in our last figure. The tag is grasped, and by an upward twist the capsule is torn open.  The twine is disengaged from the wires, and, by passing the first and second fingers through the loop, the cork can be readily drawn.  This system does away with the corkscrew entirely, each cork carrying its own means of release.  It is applicable for any liquids, medicines, liquors, inks, etc., and as the corks are not injured they may be used a number of times.—Scientific American

[It is by no means necessary to resort to so intricate a device as the one just described, to accomplish the purpose of getting out a cork without the intervention of a corkscrew.  A piece of of small but strong twine is all that is essential, and two (of several) modes of using it are shown.

In Figure 2, one end of the twine having been tied about the neck of the bottle, the tine is laid across the centre of the opening, allowing a little slack towards the end that is fast (a).  The cork having a notch cut across its lower face to prevent the twine slipping, is then pushed into the neck of the bottle, and the free end of the twine (b) will serve as a means for drawing the cork out.

A second, Figure 3, which is a little more elaborate, consists in first tying a loop, a, by means of which to attach a label, or to serve for hanging the bottle up out of the way of children, etc., then tying the ends together at b, so as to encircle the neck, cutting one of the ends short, and tying the other tightly around the cork in the manner shown.  This serves not only to furnish a cork-drawer, but prevents the cork from being lost.  Either method is especially useful in case of medicine bottles for travellers.—ED. AMER. DRUGGIST.]

Aquos Distilled Water Company

From a 1916 issue of the Indianapolis Star.

Aquos Distilled Water is Used for a Wide Variety of Purposes

Distilled water answers a constantly increasing number of needs in the home, in commerce and in industry, according to the officers of the Aquos Distilled Water Company, 420-West St. Clair street.

Its popularity as a table water grows because of its unexcelled purity and the convenient form of bottles in which it is delivered.  It is an indispensable article in the sickroom, the nursery and the hospital.  It is very generally used for drinking purposes in offices and business buildings.

It serves many uses in commercial and industrial lines.  Druggists, manufacturing chemist and pharmaceutical homes must have it.  Storage battery companies use it.  It is a necessary part of the manufacture of mirrors and it enters into the plating of metals.

Useful In Industries

Photographers find distilled water preferable for a number of their operations and in other lines where the chemical properties of water given the perfection of processes the distilled kind is universally preferred.

“The Aquos Distilled Water Company is twelve years old.” Said I. C. Frush, president and general manager.  “Our business has grown rapidly, owing to the quality of our service and the growing appreciation of the value of distilled water for a variety of purposes.  Each year more families adopt Aquos water for table use, because of the assurance that they will be free from the diseases that may be introduced through water.

“Aquos distilled water is delivered to houses in cases of dozen half-gallon bottles, at a cost of 75 cents a dozen, with a rental charge of 50 cents for the bottles.  Within the ‘mile square’ downtown we maintain a cooler service for offices and buildings, icing the cooler daily and supplying five-gallon bottles of water as frequently as they are needed.  The charge for the cooler service is $2 a month, with ta charge of 50 cents for each five-gallon bottle of water.’

Ginger Ale in Demand.

“In addition to the distillation of water for domestic and commercial uses, our company manufactures Aquos ginger ale and a line of bottled sodas.  The ginger ale is one of our specialties and the growth of the demand for it shows, in our opinion, that it meets the most exacting judgement of what a palatable and beneficial ginger ale should be.  Too many persons have formed an impression of ginger ale as something biting and unpalatable, but they are familiar only with improper compounds which are ginger ale in name only.

“We claim for Aquos ginger ale that it is, “imported in quality, domestic in price,” and the growing preference for it sustains our contention.  It is mile, exceedingly pleasant to the taste, absolutely pure in ingredients, and really quenches the thirst.  It has a tonic quality that makes it an agreeable and beneficial beverage for some disorders of the stomach and alimentary tract.”

The Aquos company operates two stills.  Recently it installed a new bottle washing machine.

Recently, a hook cork puller made its way into the collection that carries an advertisement for both Aquos Distilled Water and Jason Mineral Water…

A neat addition to the collection!

The Clipper Cork Puller

From an 1903 issue of Iron Age:

The Clipper Cork Puller

The Arcade Mfg. Company, Freeport, Ill, New York office, 08 Park place, are putting on the market the cork puller shown in the accompanying cuts.  It is what is known as the skeleton type of puller, showing the working parts exposed to view.  

The Clipper Cork Puller

No. 90. No. 95.

It is made in two types: No. 90, to fasten to a table or bar with a screw clamp, and No. 95, designed to fasten to a partition, ice box, or wall with ordinary wall screws.  The puller is designed to meet the demand for a puller that can be sold at a low price, and is referred to as being well constructed and substantial.  The goods are finished in plain black Japan and packed for shipment one each in a box, half a dozen in a case

The BIG L.E.B.

Over the years, I have shared information regarding the L.E.B. CO. tool kit; an interesting multi-tool that amongst other tools, includes a cork puller that would be used in the manner of a Greeley.

Appearing in advertisements in various publications from 1912 to 1915, we clearly can get a timeframe when the tool kit was produced.

And, there are variations as to what the kit was named; Premium Pocket Tool Kit, Sportsman’s Pocket Tool Kit, and Pocket Tool Kit, and The 47 Pocket Tool Kit.

In a 1912 edition of American Stationer, the tool kit was also featured:


The illustrations here shown are the 47 Pocket Tool Kit which is sold by the L.E.B Sales Company, of 115 Broadway, New York. This kit, true to its name

takes up but little space, being quite easily carried in one’s pocket. As can be seen by the list of tools it contains it is practically indispensable around the house, in the barn, garage or, for that matter, in one’s office. Besides the usefulness of its tool it has the added advantage of economy and price. The Kit being sold for a dollar, and the whole lot not taking up the room that one ordinary hammer occupies. Moreover, the tools can always be found because the Kit is at hand in which to replace them. There is therefore every argument in favor of the Kit for the ordinary run of uses.

As truthfully stated by the L. E. B. Sales Company: “No matter where one goes, or under what circumstances, some one or more of these tools will serve some useful or vital purpose. You have seen tool holders, tool chests, and other collections of tools, but never before a Pocket Tool Kit, a Kit that can be made your constant companion and servant to serve so many wants that cannot be enumerated.

“Some of the tools included in the Kit are: Hammer, screw driver, chisel, dividers, tweezers, compass, saw, protractor, file, round file, rule, bevel, universal chuck, tool handle, T square, tri square, scratch guage, depth gauge, slide calipers, reamer, countersink, brad awl, scratch awl, straight edge, ink eraser, tack claw, nail set, center punch, bag needle, sail needle, button hook, spatula, scraper, stiletto, and ten others. They are made on honor and sold on guarantee, price $1.”

Before we left on vacation, I managed to pick up a large version of the pocket tool kit. And, the size difference between the regular L.E.B. Co. tool kit, and the larger one is significant:

Unlike the regular version, where the base is sold, the larger version is cutaway, for ease of removing the tools.
And, they are marked differently. Looks like we have another name for the piece; the “AUTO POCKET TOOL KIT.” Both are marked PAT. PEND.
The cork puller tools, are also different in size. Not only in length, but also reflective to the chuck size into which they would be inserted for use.

A really neat addition to the cork puller collection.

Charles C. Call

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


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.


off to Moosehead

The lovely personal personal trainer and I are off to Moosehead Lake for a few days, if any corkscrews (or mooses) are found along the way, I will report back here.


Speaking of finding corkscrews, or cork pullers rather, this cork puller hook, is on its way to the collection.


If you have cork puller with which you would like to part, feel free to drop me a line!