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.

Let the bidding begin!

Tomorrow, the latest 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!!!


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 .

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!

“…holes of different dimensions for the passage of cats and kittens through cellar doors…”

From the April 1878 issue of New Remedies:

Barnes’ Duplex Corkscrew

It has long ceased to be thought necessary to make separate holes of different dimensions for the passage of cats and kittens through cellar doors, but until now, a corkscrew suited for a wine bottle or demijohn would hardly be thought appropriate to draw the cork of a medicine vial.  Somebody named “Barnes” has revolutionized all this, judging by a three-cornered envelope and a corkscrew which have reached us, but which furnishes us no further information.  If Mr. (or Miss, or Mrs.) Barnes or whoever sent us the sample will also send a cut to illustrate this novelty and tell how, where, and for ho much such corkscrews can be bought, we have no doubt that these items will interest our readers, and be productive of enormous wealth the manufacturer.

If anyone of you out there have a three-cornered envelope that contains a Barnes’ Duplex Corkscrew, I would love to see it.

Drop me a line!

High Shipping volumed are causing some delays…

As mentioned yesterday, and as most of you have surely experienced as of late, the U.S. Postal Service is having issues with the volume of packages being shipped as of recent.

Part of this is due to the holiday season, but largely this is a result of COVID-19, and packages the normally would take 2-3 days to ship within the US using priority mail, are taking weeks and longer.

The image above is a screen shot for USPS tracking for a corkscrew lot that I won on eBay in mid-December, and according to the tracking, as of this morning, the package is still in the possession of the post office in California…

That would be 19 days since the package was accepted…

I know that eventually the package will make it to Vinalhaven, but 2-3 day priority shipping is apparently 2-3 weeks at this point.

Patience, Josef, patience…

On another corkscrew note, I did pick up a couple of corkscrews yesterday… Who knows how long it will take these to arrive

Let the 2021 hunt begin!

Over the past few years, I have published a best six wishlist. And, while there is no way to really anticipate what will come into the collection over the next year, you can always hope to add some fantastic corkscrews to the collection.

Here was my wishlist for 2020:

Frary Sullivan
Something from the back of O’Leary
Frary with can opener
Jenner patent (I do have one, but it is in horrible shape)
Philos Blake patent
Zeilin patent: pictured on page 63 of O’Leary and marked, “ONE TEASPOONFULL PARRISHS HYPOPHOSPHITES, J.H. ZEILIN & CO. PHILA, PA”

Of course, as you all know, two Blakes found their way into the collection, and there was indeed a new find from the back of O’Leary with the Matthews patent of 1893.

So, we can cross the Blake off the wishlist, but I will still keep the “something from the back of O’Leary,” on the list, as it is so fun to unearth a previously unknown patented corkscrew.

So… Given that I missed out (twice) on a Shelley patent this year, I think that definitely should make the wishlist for 2021…

Frary Sullivan

Something from the back of O’Leary

Frary with can opener

Jenner patent (I do have one, but it is in horrible shape…still)

1879 Shelley patent multi-tool often marked “LADIES FRIEND.”

Zeilin patent: pictured on page 63 of O’Leary and marked, “ONE TEASPOONFULL PARRISHS HYPOPHOSPHITES, J.H. ZEILIN & CO. PHILA, PA”

Of course, there are many many American corkscrews and cork pullers that I would love to add to the collection, and you never know what might turn up next!

Let the corkscrewy hunt continue.

Best Six for 2020

  1. 1860 Philos Blake patent #27,665 with floating “lever nut,” using the language from the patent description, that, “…bears directly against the cap…and is entirely separate therefrom…” marked MARCH 27-60 (O’Leary, p. 32-33).
  2. 1862 Abraham T. Russel patent #34,216.  Marked faintly on the cam with PAT, but the rest of the marking too faint to read (O’Leary, p. 33).
  3. 1860 Philos Blake patent #27,665 with fixed “lever nut,” that “revolves within and is connected to the cap,” marked MARCH 27-60 (O’Leary, p. 32-33).
  4. 1893 Jeremiah Matthews patent #496,887 for a Door Securer, with peg and worm type corkscrew.  Marked across the handle COLUMBIAN, PAT. APL’D. FOR, and MATTHEWS SOUTH BEND, IND., and on the door securer / peg PAT. NOV. 1, 92.  This is Matthews’ 1892 door securer patent combined with his 1893 patent where the case and corkscrew were added.  As explained in the most recent issue of The Bottle Scrue Times and at our ZOOM 2020 AGM Show & Tell, this is a new discovery from the back of O’Leary (O’Leary, p. 208).
  5. Will & Finck Ivory handled corkscrew with blade, brush, and hexagonal shaft—marked on the shaft Will & Finck.
  6. 1875 Frank R. Woodard patent #166,954 in plier form, unmarked (O’Leary, p. 39). 

Merry Christmas!!!