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!!!

the sixth…

Okay… I have narrowed the list. I do have the best five figured out, unless something incredible turns up in the next two weeks. So, let’s try this one more time. What single corkscrew should make the list?

The Will & Finck and the Matthews patent are in… And, based on your previous votes, I have narrowed the other options.

gotta start compiling…

Already, there have been several best sixes (fantastic ones, btw) that have found their way into my email box from various collectors from across the globe.

And, for those of you that participate in this requisite behavior every year, it is time to start compiling, sorting, photographing, and documenting your best six corkscrews of the year.

I am close to making a decision on our best six, but I am still holding out hope that something in the coming three weeks will push a current best candidate off the 1st through 6th place corkscrew podium.

Not that there is an actual corkscrew podium–although I am considering building one.

Nor will there be a an official best six ceremony or anthem.

Although…there will probably be some adult beverages involved.

Let the best six building commence! What are your best six?

A few wins…

Well, that was exciting!

On Saturday and Sunday, the 983 corkscrew auction lots came to an end with many corkscrews changing hands, with said corkscrews soon to be sent off to collectors across the world.

There were a few bidding wars, a few that snuck through, and a few that garnered attention after the auction was over.

I managed to win a couple (I guess technically 14) and I am quite pleased.

The first, is an interesting multi-tool that I have been hunting for a while. I actually already own this piece, but, it was missing the fold out blade, and I have after a complete one for some time–more on this piece soon!

And, I picked up another Sterling spoon with folding corkscrew.

And, after the dust had settled, I agreed to a fair price on a box of a dozen Greeley cork pullers. I don’t really need a box of Greeley cork pullers, but it will make for a nice display amongst the other cork pullers in the collection.