on the dollar table…

The past week, I have been on vacation.

Yes, it’s true.

I took a week off from developing curriculum, and while some of that time was dedicated to new lighting in the corkscrew room, landscaping the yard behind the Vinalhaven house, and a few more requisite chores that needed tending, the last few days the lovely bride and I headed off on an adventure to Southwest Harbor, Maine.

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For those unfamiliar, Bar Harbor is a pretty popular place, even in these times, and on the OTHER side of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, is Southwest Harbor.  This non-Bar-Harbor-ish area is known as “the quiet side.”

So, we packed up the kayaks, a fair amount of wine, and headed up.

And, we enjoyed some quiet time kayaking various waterways, going out to eat again, as restaurants are allowed to re-open for dine-in eating (albeit with a fair amount of restrictions) and doing a bit of hiking and running along backroads of Maine and the trails of Acadia.

On our last day, as we headed back down to the midcoast, we hit a couple of flea markets–most of the dealers and shoppers were wearing masks–and in one tent, I found three corkscrews.

On the dollar table.

Technically, each of which was worth the asking price of $1.00, but I only grabbed one.

A simple T-pull, nicely marked for R. Murphy.

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Actually, it’s marked twice for R. Murphy Boston

After getting back to Rockland, and the lovely picking up Philos from boarding, we headed out in the Penn-Yan; taking a spin around the Rockland harbor.

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A fantastic week of getting away from it all, whilst still staying in Maine.

 

 

 

The Norvic Corkscrew Mystery

Just the other day, a patent pending corkscrew was ending on eBay, and while on my watch list, I forgot to place a bid.

I don’t have the Norvic rack and pinion, and would love to add one to the collection if you have one.

And, in some ways it was good that I didn’t throw out a bid, as the winning bidder was Bob G.

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After this win, we were exchanging messages about the piece, and we began to wonder who Norvic is / was.

That said, before we start heading down that path, Bob was messing around with the rack and pinion corkscrew, and noticed that the helix seemed a little loose.

He explained, “While inspecting the Norvic closely, I thought what?  A loose helix?  But, on further inspection, I discovered it was equipped with a replaceable helix.”

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Our exchange continued, and we set about trying to determine who Norvic might be.

Now, there is a Norvic Shipping, but they were established in the last 20 years, and we know this corkscrew has some relative age to it.

But, who (or what) is Norvic???

As you all know, I do get a little obsessive about this type of thing, and I started looking closely at the handle and the markings.

Is there information present that might help inform the search?

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As you will notice, the NORVIC is not just a marking, but appears to be a very intentional font choice; a logo perhaps?

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And, then there is the patent pending mark.

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What is that odd set of characters just after U.S.A?  Is this a clue?

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What is the purpose of this?

Decoration?

Ancient alien code?

Perhaps a clue as to the mystery of Oak Island?

That all said, Bob and I thought it would make for an interesting discussion.  And, so we put it out to all of you in blogland: Who (or what) is Norvic?

I did come up with a couple of options, but let the search commence.

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Norvic Shoes?

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Norvic Lager?

Who is Norvic!!!!????????!!!!!!!!??????

Do you know who Norvic is?  And, whether you have ideas, or have the definitive answer, drop me a line at josef@vintagecorkscrews.com

And, if you have a Norvic corkscrew with which you would wish to part, feel free to email me as well.

Combined Corkscrew and Time Dial…

From an 1891 issue of Pharmaceutical Record:

 

THE CLOUGH CORKSCREW AND CAPSULE COMPANY, 132 Nassau street, New York, issue an illustrated price list of vial Corkscrews and Capsules.  The Wire Corkscrew Rings are made plain, and also with name in raised letters stamped on the ring with steel dies.  Folding Corkscrews are made with decorated metal handles, with name printed to order on the outside, or both outside and inside.  Combined Corkscrew and Time Dials are so arranged that the Corkscrews serves as a hand to designate the hour at which time medicine is to be taken.  Clough’s Capsule is metal cap designed to fit over the upper portion of the cork, to facilitate the removing of the cork from the bottle.  This company is prepared to quote prices on these goods in quantities up to 1000 gross.

 

For years, I have been on the hunt for the Combined Corkscrew and Time Dial; also known as Clough’s Medicine Dial.

 

 

On Don Bull’s site, Ron MacLean explains that in 1977 Bob Nugent found a number of them and gave them away as Christmas gifts to fellow members of the ICCA.

I was not a member of the ICCA in 1977 (I was still in grammar school), so I wasn’t one of the fortuitous recipients.

That said, yesterday a deal was struck, and a Combined Corkscrew and Time Dial is heading to the island.

 

 

Thanks for the trade RL!

 

 

“simple and powerful implement for extracting corks…”

From the September 4th, 1869 issue of Scientific American

Improved Cork Extractor.

Our engraving shows a simple and powerful implement for extracting corks from bottles, patented Jan. 14, 1868, by James Morton, of Philadelphia. It consists of three bars pivoted together, which, together with the corkscrew, constitute the entire apparatus. One of the bars has a socket or cap at its lower end, which is placed on and around the neck of the bottle. Near the upper end of this first post or bar is pivoted the end of the second bar, near the middle of which the third bar is pivoted. The second and third bars have handles at their outer ends, and at the inner end of their third bar is a hook.

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This hook engages with the corkscrew in the manner delineated in the engraving, and by forcing the handles together or pressing them downward, the cork can be easily extracted. The instrument is equally adapted to extracting corks on which rings or hooks are already formed so that no corkscrew is needed.

For further particulars address James Morton, 912 South Eighth street, Philadelphia, Pa

BALLET-CORKSEREWS

 

I will preface this by saying, if you are going to hire an engraver, you might want to be sure that they know how to spell.

Just sayin’

The Manufacture of Ballet-Corkscrews corkscrew arrived the other day, and while there are a couple of hairlines to the celluloid, the corkscrew is pretty fantastic.

Although, in looking closely (really closely) at the writing across the advertising plates it looks as if the piece is marked CORKSEREWS rather than CORKSCREWS.

Now, clearly they had a C nearby, as CORKSEREWS starts with a C, and MANUFACTURE also has a C.

And, as they got to the end of the plate, knowing that were trying to make CORKSCREW (or more aptly CORKSEREW) plural, but were running out of room, the S is a bit smaller, but they still made if fit.

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Even with the replacing the C with an E, the corkscrew is pretty darn awesome, and has the potential of making the best 6 of the year.

I have yet to clean the shank of the helix up yet, but it does look to have a maker’s mark. I will report back here once I figure that one out.

More corkscrew news as it happens.  Stay tuned!

manufacture of ballet corkscrews

Yesterday afternoon, for a moment, I decided to hop on to eBay, and how fortuitous it was that I did.

A pair of ladies legs had been put up for sale with a pretty fair opening bid.

Still, it was a normal pair at first glance, so I simply put it on my watch list.

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And, then I went back to the listing to check for cracks, missing celluloid, size, markings etc.

It looks to have one crack at the knee.

The second photo that came up revealed that this was not your average ladies legs corkscrew.

On one side, it was normal black and white/cream stripes, on the reverse were advertising plates like the Old Elk Whiskey – Always Pure pair of legs that I picked up last year:

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On the plates on this particular pair, the advertising was not for Old Elk Whiskey, instead across the two plates it reads: “MANUFACTURE OF BALLET-CORKSCREWS”

How cool is that?

A legs corkscrew advertising legs corkscrews!

Did I mention it also had a fair Buy it Now price?

I clicked.

I paid.

And, the MANUFACTURE OF BALLET-CORKSCREWS legs are on their way to Vinalhaven.

A really cool piece, that could make the best 6 of the year.

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Better photos after they arrive!

Steinwender & Sellner

A couple of weeks ago, I found a non-ebay online auction lot, that I found pretty interesting.  And, over the following days, I would go back and see how the bidding was going.

After registering for the auction, I placed a bid, and went back to business at hand.

At the end of the first week, I was the high bidder, and actually the only bidder.  As we got closer to the auction close, a few more bids were placed, but I was still in the lead.

My initial bid was not particularly high, but obviously higher than others that had also seen the auction.

With about 8 hours until the auction close, and knowing that there were 8 other bids, I went back to the auction lot, and upped my bid quite a bit, hoping to ensure that the lot would indeed be heading to Vinalhaven.

Last night the auction ended, and this morning I got the confirmation email.  I had indeed won.  And, the additional higher bid wasn’t necessary, the lot ended at a whopping $27.50 and with a 10% auctioneer’s fee, just over 30 bucks.

The auction lot, was billed as “Metal cork screw, “Steinwerder & Sellner”, St. Louis”

And, the metal corkscrew?

It is a Brangs patent, and it carries advertising, not for Steinwerder & Sellner of St Louis, but for Steinwender & Sellner of St. Louis

And, who is Steinwender and Sellner?

That would be Gustav A. Steinwender and Christian Albert Sellner; wine, beer, and liquor importers and dealers in St. Louis

 

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Steinwender and Sellner, was established in 1863, and the ads above date to 1891 and appeared in the St. Louis Dispatch.

Of course, the Brangs is the Jules Brangs’ French Patent Number 122,704 of April 23, 1878, which is a hard to find piece.  But, with the additional advertising, it is pretty darn cool.

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I will add pictures, sans the Cory Craig, Auctioneer watermark, when it arrives in a few days.

A really neat little corkscrew that I have tried to acquire several times to no avail.

Best 6?  It certainly will be in contention!

 

 

Napier Hollweg arrives…

The 8 dollar buy it now lot arrived yesterday, and I was quite pleased that the Napier Hollweg had a nice sharp helix.  The images from the auction didn’t show the tip, and at such a smokin’ deal, I didn’t take the time to inquire about the condition of the piece.

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Marked PAT APPLIED FOR on the end hanging ring, and NAPIER STERLING on one of the hinges, it is pretty darn cool.

And, with a little silver polish, is suddenly got pretty shiny!

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A handsome corkscrew, that is a nice addition to the collection.

Van Zandt Re-Vizited

While the deal for the Van Zandt patented cork pull was struck last week, the agreed upon price and subsequent payment needed to be completed through the U.S. Postal Service with a USPS Postal Order.  And, with holidays and Sundays, and then the lovely and I heading off  for a get away, the Van Zandt didn’t make it into my hands until yesterday.

Opening up the package, and looking at the piece, I am beyond pleased.  The mechanism works just as Van Zandt describes in his patent description, and oddly enough, functions very much like the Call’s Ideal that made my best 6 for last year.

I haven’t tried to clean the piece up (yet) but as mentioned the other day, this should make the best 6, and perhaps the best cork puller / corkscrew

of the year.

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I have done a bit of research into Van Zandt, and have yet to unearth anything other than the patent.  The hunt will continue, as will the hunt for antique corkscrews.

Stay tuned!

 

Best 1 of 6 of 2018…

It is early in the year, and there is much hunting and collecting to take place, but over the last couple of days a deal was struck for a cork puller that easily will make the best six of 2018.

If over the next 12 months, I manage to find 6 pieces that are rarer, and it doesn’t make the list, well…that would be a good problem to have.

As mentioned in the past, I spend lots of time looking at O’Leary’s tome on American patented corkscrews.  And, while I haven’t memorized every patent drawing in the back of his book, there are some that I indeed have.   Still, only going by a patent drawing isn’t really enough.  From drawing to manufacture things can change.  So, it really really really helps, when suddenly you are presented with a previously yet discovered cork puller that is clearly marked with a patent date.

The question of who?, what? when?,  is that really what it was intended for?, is answered pretty quickly with a quick  glance in the back of O’Leary.  This, of course, is often followed by visit to google patents.

Now, this very well may exist within another collector’s collection, but given it isn’t in O’Leary (at least the front) and given that it has yet to appear in any of the patent updates, I will say “new discovery.”   If it has been previously found, I will happily say, “it is a rare thing.”

“So, what did you find Josef?”  You are asking yourself

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the 1867 James D. Van Zandt patent for an Improved Cork Pull.

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Marked “PATENT JULY 30, 1867,” within short order, I found the patent drawing on page 181 of O’Leary.

 

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And, after checking on Google Patents, found even more…

Van Zandt’s patent description explains:

“The operation is as follows:  The cork-drawer being in the position indicated in Fig. I, it is forced down into the centre of the cork until the swing-bar has been pushed beyond the bottom of the cork, when, on drawing up the cork-drawer, the friction of the cork on the sliding prong d causes it to descend, b which the swing-bar is placed in a right-angled position to the prongs, and the cork follows the instrument as it is drawn out of the bottle.  The cork being drawn, it is easily disengaged from the prongs by sliding back the prong d by means of the thumb-piee and drawing it off, when the cork-drawer is again ready for use.”

The Improved Cork Pull will arrive in a couple of days, and I will add better pictures when it does.   Definitely a Best 6 candidate!  And, a fantastic addition to the collection.

In the meantime, the lovely and I are heading to Vermont for a quick getaway tomorrow… could the best 2 or 3 of 6 of 2018 be found in our adventures?

Stay tuned…