Let the bidding begin!

Tomorrow, the latest collectorcorkscrews.com auction opens for bidding.

Hundreds and hundreds of twisted treasures will be changing hands, and there are some juicy items in this round of the auction.

You can link to the auction site here.

Bid High! And, bid often!!!

Haff again…

About a year and a half ago, there was a rare example of the Edward P. Haff patented corkscrew, that was coming to close on eBay. I placed a bid, and was lucky enough to win the auction, and while the brass band on the handle, as well as the frame and spring, had been painted black–with a little paint remover, that issue was remedied.

And, the Haff made my best 6 of 2019.

Over the past few days, I have been keeping my eye on an non-eBay auction that happened to have a similar Haff patent with frame within it.

Fortunately, it looks like it won’t need any paint remover…

Of course, I wasn’t merely keeping an eye on it.

I placed a fairly fair absentee bid and hoped for the best…

Last night the auction ended…

And, the Haff lot will soon be heading to the island.

Now, I am going to work under the assumption that this Haff is marked similar to the one that I already have–and, we will wait and see when it arrives.

But, I have a feeling this might end up being tradebait…

Who is in need of an 1885/1886 Haff patent corkscrew with frame?

Whatcha got?

“The fulcrum arm is pivotally mounted between the bifurcated ends of the sheet metal lever and adapted to be swung upwardly and over the bifurcated end portions to folded position…”

From a 1914 issue of Pharmaceutical Era

A corkscrew presenting some novel features is the recent invention of John H. Kissinger, Spokane, Wash. (Patent No. 1,110,210).  As shown in the accompanying illustration,

it comprises spaced parallel members forming a lever, each of the members being curved upwardly adjacent one end having a portion extending outwardly therefrom, the forwardly extended portion having longitudinally disposed slots, the upper wall of the slots being formed with alined recesses opening in a downward direction, an arm adjustable in said slots and adapted  for interchangeable engagement with the recesses, the arm forming a fulcrum for the lever, and a corkscrew pivoted between the members rearwardly of the arm described.  The fulcrum arm is pivotally mounted between the bifurcated ends of the sheet metal lever and adapted to be swung upwardly and over the bifurcated end portions to folded position.  Suitable means are provided for retaining the device in folded position.

This would be the Kissinger patent awarded September 8, 1914.

If you have a Kissinger corkscrew, I would love to add it to the collection. Drop me a line!

“Handiest kit known…”

As advertised in the June 1931 issue of Boy’s Life:

“The Combo” only $1.00 Prepaid SIX HANDY UTENSILS IN ONE–knife, fork, spoon, can opener, corkscrew, bottle opener. Locks together in one unit 5 1/2 ” long. Chromium plated, sturdy, and substantial. Handiest kit known for tourist, camper, fisherman, hunter, guide, boy scout, trapper. Satisfaction guaranteed. Dealers write for prices. SEND YOUR DOLLAR TODAY TO The Atwood Combination Six Co., Oakland, Maine.


John King of Oakland, Maine was awarded patent #854,745 for his combined fork and spoon 24 years prior to the ad in Boy’s Life.

And, clearly there has to be a connection, as it looks as if John King’s folding knife and spoon are 2 combinations of Atwood’s Combination Six:

Fortuitously, Atwood somehow explained to John King, that he needed four more combinations…

And, included a can opener, bottle opener, and most importantly a corkscrew…

A neat addition to the collection, and a patent/patent applied for corkscrew from Maine.

Translation anyone?

After digging around at the Japanese patent office, I managed to find the patent description for the 1910 Japanese patent corkscrew.

Of course, with my command of the Japanese language being nonexistent, and the patent description being in a jpg to pdf format, getting any kind of translation online is…well…not happening.

So, why not throw it out to our corkscrewing-around-bloggy-blog readers, can anyone translate the patent description that we have here?

At the very least, I would like to figure out who the patentee is. I would like to be able to name the inventor, so we can attach a name to the corkscrew.

Have at it folks!

And, thank you in advance!

1910 Japanese patent…

A couple of years ago, I was doing an appraisal of a corkscrew collection (for those that don’t know, both the lovely and I are certified appraisers), and in amongst the various pieces–the bulk of which were American, was an unusual corkscrew that was clearly broken, and also clearly of Japanese origins.

As was my practice, I took photos, and included it in the appraisal.

I was intrigued by the sillcock-like handle, and when I got back to Maine, I grabbed Don’s book on Japanese corkscrews, and thumbed through.

Surprisingly, there are a couple of corkscrews in the patent illustrations that have similar handles…

I settled on the piece being an 1910 patent, as illustrated in Bull’s book.

Of course, knowing that this broken example existed, I have been on the look out for a complete example.

And, keep in mind, with the exception of the illustration that is present in Don’s book, a complete 1910 patent has yet to turn up in any book on corkscrews.

As of last week however, after a bit of searching, a complete example is headed to the island.

When it arrives, I will provide better pictures and try to decipher all of the writing upon it.

Stay tuned.

And, if you have an antique Japanese corkscrew, drop me a line!

As you like to have all the new wrinkles…

From the September 24, 1869 issue of English Mechanic and Mirror of Science


SIR, –As you like to have all the new wrinkles, I send you a clipping which contains a new description of corkscrew, which has recently been patented by Messrs. Jafroy Brothers of Paris, which is less complicated, has fewer parts, and is more effective and cheaper than those already before the public.  I t is represented in the accompanying cuts a, and a brief description will render it perfectly intelligible.  

Owing to the disposition of the levers the cork can be extracted very gently and with great facility.  There are five parts in this crew, but they are not detached, as is frequently the case, and consequently there is no chance of the screw being rendered useless by the loss or mislaying of any one piece.  Referring to the cuts, b is the handle, which may be made of wood, horn, ivory, or any other suitable material.  The screw is screwed into the socket d, which allows for its being replaced when broken or worn out without necessitating the loss of the rest of the apparatus.  The spring c is mounted in a manner which permits of its ready replacement by any locksmith, and the cap is lined with an internal leather collar.  The screw itself presents no feature of particular novelty, being identical with those of common use.  

T. W. B.


From the October 19, 1870 issue of American Artisan:


The cork-screw has, in the past years, been the subject of several modifications and improvements, none more ingenious than the one illustrated in Fig. 1 of the accompanying engravings, the essential principle of which, as indicated in Fig. 2, may also be employed in the construction of augers and boring tools.  It was patented through the “American Artisan Patent Agency,” on August 2 1870, by Mr. Walter Dickson, of Albany, N.Y.

The invention consists in the connection of the handle with the shank and screw of the cork-screw or other implement by means of two reverse rag-wheel clutches, whereby the rotation of the shank and its attached parts, when in use, may be obtained without removing the hand from the handle drying the entire operation of the device in any given case.  The screw, A, has its upper end or shank extended into the attached handle, B, in such manner that the handle may have a moment around the axis of the screw.  The shank of the screw is provided with a button, C, affixed thereto, and working within the recess, D, in the handle, the upperside of this button being formed with a series of rachet-teeth facing in one direction, while its lower side is furnished with a similar series facing in the opposite direction.  The handle at the lower side of the recess, D, has an annualar ratchet, a, capable of clutching with the lower ratchet of the button, and at its upper side with a similar ratchet, b, capable of clutching with the upper annular ratchet, the space D, affording such play to the handle that, by moving the same up or down upon the shank, one or the other of the annular ratchets may be clutched with button as may be desired.

To use the cork-screw the point of the screw is inserted into the cork, and the handle is pressed down to clutch the same upon the upper ratchet of the button on the shank.  The handle is then turned back and forth without removing the hand from it, and, the clutch operated only in one direction, the screw is of course screwed into the cork with an intermittent movement.  In order to reverse the motion with reference to the cork, after the withdrawal of the latter, it is only necessary to take the cork in one hand and the cork-screw in the other, so that, the ratchet of the button clutching with the handle, a reverse motion of the latter quickly operates the screw to withdraw the same.  It will thus be seen that the entire operation of Inserting the screw, withdrawing the cork, and removing the same from the screw may be done without once removing the hand from the handle, which in other cork-screws is a source of considerable delay and inconvenience.  The augur, represented in Fig. 2, is made on the same plan, the tool turned in one direction by the clutching of the handle with the upper side of the button, and in a reverse direction by the connection, in like manner of the handle with the underside of the button, and therefore requires no specific description to make the method of its operation understood.

The Dickson is a hard to come by American patent, and there are a couple of variations out there.

If you have an 1870 Dickson patent, ( usually marked PAT AUG. 2, 1870 ) drop me a line at josef@vintagecorkscrews.com .

unusual roundlet

The other day, there was an unusual roundlet-like corkscrew on eBay with a buy it now or best offer.

After looking at it closely, I threw out an offer, and received a prompt counter offer.

After the fact, I learned that RL had also sent an offer, only to be countered as well.

Interestingly enough, RL’s counter offer was higher than my counter offer, even through our initial offers were identical.

Thanks for balking at the counter RL!

Now, it will take some time for the piece to arrive, as the seller is in Ukraine, but the price was decent enough to take a chance on the piece, and on shipping.

Notice the little slot at the end of the case.

It looks that the inner shell rotates into the outer shell to close the case.

When it arrives, I will post better images, but definitely an interesting roundlet corkscrew.

John A. Smith patent…



THE object of this invention is to provide for the more handy and expeditious drawing of corks than has been the case with the instruments that have heretofore been employed.

The peculiarity of this cork screw is that it does not require the hand to be turned in using and does not require the hand to be removed from it in its operation, the whole of which is performed by a simple push to insert it in the cork, one pull to withdraw the cork from the bottle, and another to remove the screw from the cork.

The handle, A, is made in two parts, and is held together by screws inserted at each end.  An extension, a, is made at the central portion.  Received in this extensions and made to return freely therein is the journal, j, of the screw, C, being held in A by the nut, g.  A handle, B, is attached to the screw, and is made of a curved form to allow of the fingers being conveniently placed on opposite side of the shank, f.  The screw, C, is formed with a straight core, e, around which is a thin thread, e, of very rapid pitch, the lower end terminating in a cutting edge.  The point of the core, c, is sharpened to facilitate its entrance into the cork.

To insert the screw into the cork, the handle, A, is grasped in the hand, and the point of the screws is placed on the cork, and a push given to the handle with force sufficient to enable the screw to enter the cork, the shank in the meantime turning in the handle and the screw during in the cork.

To draw the cork, the fore and second fingers are placed in the part, B, of the handle, to keep the screw from turning; while the part, A, is grasped in the hand, and the cork may then be pulled out of the bottle as with an ordinary cork-screw.  After the cork is drawn, it is removed from the screw, by holding it with one hand and pulling the handle, A, with the other.

This improved cork-screw was patented through the “American Artisan Patent Agency,” on November 6, 1870 by John A. Smith of 105 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., to whom reference is made for further information.

If you have an 1870 John A. Smith of 105 Flatbush Avenue corkscrew in your possession, I would love to see pictures of it.

That said, if you go to the patent drawing and description, the drawings are a little more clear:

And, Smith points out in his patent description that the handle should be brass or some other metal, and further explains:

“It is obvious that with my cork-screw a cork can be drawn and removed from the screw in less time and more handily than by an ordinary cork-screw.”

Of course, I would be happy to acquire Smith a patent, and put it into the collection.

Drop me a line!