It’s fairly fabulous…

The Von Gieson arrived the other day, and it is fabulous.

A nice addition to the collection.

What might turn up next?

On an antiquing note, the Union Antiques show in Maine has been cancelled for this year, “due to a supply chain issue experienced by our supplier of tents and tables…”


Yes. Really.

Maybe a trip to Brimfield in September is in order…

We shall see…

Van Gieson…

In 1867, William H. Van Gieson, of Passiac, New Jersey was awarded patent number 61,485 for his Improved Cork-Screw.

For years, the Van Gieson has proven illusive. I have seen them come up for auction, and have tried trading really really hard with Robert for one he picked up a couple of years ago for a pittance, and as of yesterday morning, a deal was finally struck for one–not from Robert.

In reading through the patent description, Van Gieson explains:

“The object of my invention is to produce a cork-screw which shall be rapid and simple in its operation, as well as strong and durable, and not too bulky to be convenient in handling.

To accomplish this object, I attach to the middle of the handle a metallic tube, in the position usually occupied by the shank of the instrument, and extend the shank of the screw or spiral to about double its usual length, making the upper part in the form of a regularly twisted square, or other prism-shaped rod, having about one twist to the inch, and turned in the opposite direction from that of the screw or spiral itself, and make this twisted square portion to turn up into said tube through a plate at its lower extremity. This place has a hole through it, of the exact form of the twisted rod, acting on the rod in the matter of a screw-nut, so that as the rod passes up into the tub, it is caused to revolve on its axis, thus driving the screw or spiral into the cork against which it is pressed. When the twisted square rod is thus driven up into the tube, and the screw or spiral into the cork, a spring-catch, which is fastened to the lower end of the tube, catches under a shoulder at the lower end of the square rod, where it joins the shank for the spiral, and holds it securely while the cork is being withdrawn. The cork can be removed in the usual way, or the spring-catch may be disengaged, and the twisted part drawn out, ready for use again. In the last case the cork would be run off from the spiral at the same time.”

When it arrives, I will give it a try…

This could make the best 6 of the year!

I kind of hope it doesn’t…

The Utility Patent

As mentioned the other day, recently I picked up a Japanese patented corkscrew (patent # 64,845) from 1922. And, in the patent drawing it shows a can opener that is house within the handle.

Also, as previously mentioned, I promised to give the handle a good twist, just in case the can opener was actually was present.

There will be no big reveal here, as the handle is solid wood; pinned on the side, but no can opener…

Still, a nice addition to the growing Japanese patent corkscrew collection.

Anchors Away

7 years ago, and a few days, I was in St. Louis going through the process of becoming a certified personal property appraiser, and I reached out to Tommy, who made the drive from Chicago, and we spent a few days antiquing around St. Louis.

Of course, one of those days included a visit to Art Santen, and you can read about that visit here.

During our visit, amongst a few other corkscrews, I acquired an interesting wallmount corkscrew made by Anchor Products… you can read about that one here…

That said, at some point, the Anchor Products Pat. Pend wallmount bottle opener went elsewhere. I honestly don’t remember to whom it was traded, or what I got in exchange…

And, since the two were acquired (Tommy got one too from Art), I have yet to see, or hear, of another one.

Clearly, Anchor Products didn’t only make two, but it is surprising that others haven’t shown up.

Last week, one did.

For a week, on eBay, a lot of three items entitled “Vintage Ice Pick, Sharpening Stone and Multi Can & Bottle Opener” was sitting unnoticed with no bids.

Except, I had noticed, and put it on my watch list.

Yesterday, with a few hours to go, I placed a bid.

And, I hoped, and patiently waited.

Interestingly, while the images showed the corkscrew, a corkscrew was not mentioned in the listing. And, I really don’t even know how I came upon it.

But, I did, and I bid…

And, I won.

And, now an Anchor Products Pat. Pending wallmount corkscrew will again be in the collection.

Better pictures when it arrives, and a welcome (re)addition to the collection.

on the Fürstenwärther hunt…

On February 7, 1888, Johann B. von Fürstenwärther was awarded his patent (#377,483) for a Medicine Cup and stopper.

And, for those of you not familiar with Johann’s patent, it is quite different than the Zeilin patent, insofar as instead of having the corkscrew extend from the bottom of the dose cup, it is instead set at a right angle. This serves several purposes, but our man Fürstenwärther, explains it pretty clearly in his patent description, explaining:

“The cup A may be made capable of holding any desired quantity of liquid—for instance a tea-spoonful, two tea-spoonfuls, a table-spoonful, &c. –-and may be marked with appropriate inscriptions showing the capacity of the cup for use by druggists and physicians. It will obviously perform the two functions of assisting to extract the cork from the bottle and to measure the quantity of fluid or other material taken from the bottle. If provided with the corkscrew, it can be readily applied to any cork or stopper of any size, and the cork, if worn out or unfit for use, can be exchange for another. On the other hand, the cork or corkscrew, which is attached to the cup at right angles to its vertical axis, will serve as a convenient handle for the cup whenever the cup is used apart from the bottle. The cup may also be used as a cover for the bottle by being inverted and placed over the mouth thereof.

Unless the corkscrew is at right angles to the cup the latter, when filled, would have to be emptied at once. By my invention the dose can be laid aside on a table until the patient has been adjusted to receive it. The bottom of my cup serves as a base to rest it on, the corkscrew not being in the way.”

I would love to add an example of the Fürstenwärther to the collection, and they are out there.

Well, I know of at least one that is out there, but surely they didn’t make just one.

When found, it is marked with the patent date: “PAT. FEB. 7, 1888.”

If you have a medicine cup corkscrew, I would happily make a trade for it. Drop me a line.

Ham’s Patent Cork Puller

From an issue of American Stationer


There is always more or less difficulty in getting corks out of bottles.  Many a knife has been broken and still the cork moved not.  A patent cork puller has been brought out which overcomes all these troubles and saves the cork besides. 


The accompanying illustration shows what it is.  To work it insert the blades between the bottle and cork, rock it forward and back until a firm grip is secured, then turn and pull gently.  It never fails to work, and saves both bottle and cork for future usefulness.  The retail price is 10 cents, and the New York News Company will supply the trade.

As the article explains, this is, “Ham’s Patent Cork Puller.” That would be Herbert H. Hamm and his patent for a cork-extractor (#702,001) awarded June 10, 1902.

And, Triple H explains in his patent description:

“In a cork-extractor, the combination of a resilient bow or fork, a hollow handle embodying a plurality of open-ended hollow parts, the said open-ended hollow parts being adapted for engagement with each other, one of the said hollow parts being slotted to receive the arms of the bow or fork adapted to be alternately contained within the said handle and to be fitted therein to extend from the said handle, the middle portion of the bow being adapted to form a bearing against the interior of the hollow handle, substantially as described.”

While I have yet to find a Herbert H. Ham patent, and not for a lack of looking, there have been a couple found–and when found (see O’Leary page 117) they are marked “PAT APPL’D FOR.”

As shown in O’Leary

If you happen to have one, I would love to add it to the collection.


On Apr. 29, 1890, Abram C. Monfort of Pawtucket, RI was awarded patent # 426,510 for his “Champagne or Mineral Tap.”

As the story goes, well over a decade ago, I was at Brimfield, and was traversing the fields, and I saw an unusual shaped champagne tap. The price wasn’t super high, but high enough that I balked, and left it behind. Just prior to the next field opening, I ran into Barry to ask him about this unusual champagne tap.

He responded with, you should have snapped that up, it is a rare American patent. Apparently BT, didn’t balk at the price, and I believe it made his best 6 that year. And, I kicked myself a little bit, for not trusting my instincts of seeing something that was unusual and pulling the trigger.

Several years later, II managed to acquire a Monfort, without balking at the price, and it resides in the collection.

That said, the other day, a pair of champagne taps were listed on eBay, and one of the shapes looked very familiar.

And, now a second Monfort is heading to the island.

Now, I don’t really need two, so if any of you need to add a Monfort to your collection, just let me know….

a few corkscrews…

The other day, I picked up a small collection of corkscrews (and a cigar box opener) And, while the majority will end up in the junk box, there were a couple of interesting ones.

Nothing really rare, within the collection, but a few things of note:

The Ward patent (1918) is definitely the star…

but given it is British, this will be going up for sale/trade if any of you are interested

The two-tool fold-out corkscrew piece, definitely is interesting.

No markings, but very cool:

As an aside, it is officially antique season in Maine (not that there is an official antique season in Maine).

On Saturday, Montsweag opened up, and the lovely and I headed down yesterday to check things out.

No corkscrews at Montsweag, but the lunch with wine that followed was fabulous.

The Meriden…

From an 1894 issue of The Manufacturer and Builder:

The Meriden Cork-Puller

The cork-puller shown herewith is being manufactured and introduced by Manning, Bowman & Co., of Meriden, Conn., and 57 Beekman street, New York.  To operate the deice the handle of the puller is raised so that it will rest back over the counter ; the cork of the bottle is then pressed up firmly against the barrel of the puller, while the handle is brought forward and down to the position shown in the cut.  This operation, it is explained, passes the worm through the cork, while the reverse motion of turning the handle back until the cam is on the crank rests on the lever draws the cork.  After the bottle is removed, the handle is turned still further back, which, it is stated, presses the lever down and throws off the cork, leaving the machine in position for the next bottle.  A hole in the rack, or plunger, is provided for oiling the parts, and the top of the barrel is covered with a removable cap, so that the puller may be taken apart for replacing parts that may become broken.

The Meriden Cork-Puller

The manufacturers state that the instrument is well made, and simply strong for its intended purpose, and that it is not only easy to operate, but also durable in service.