Best Six for 2021

  • 1. Benjamin N. Shelley patent (#219,313) awarded September 2, 1879 for his “Improvement in Combination-Tools,” marked “PATD. APLD. FOR” and “LADIES FRIEND.”  In his patent description, he explains, “My invention consists of a combined implement for domestic and other purposes, which presents in a single device and compact form the functions of a hammer, screw-driver, cork-screw, can-opener, ice-pick, glass cutter and breaker, stove-lifter, tack-drawer, saw-set, knife-sharpener, wrench, steak-tenderer and, putty-knife.”  (See O’Leary, 1996, p. 189).
  • 2. J.T. Haviland patent (#104,453) awarded June 21, 1870 for his “Improved Instrument in Removing Twine and Wire from Bottles” it is marked “PAT APPLIED FOR and J.T. HAVILAND,” on both sides.  An intriguing piece, as the patent drawing is titled  “Cork Screw,” even though the title of the patent explains the purpose of the tool, with the patent description explaining, “This invention has for its object the production of an instrument for cutting wires and or twine by which corks are secured in champagne and other bottles…” This is a new discovery from the Back of O’Leary (See O’Leary, 1996, p. TK).
  • 3. PAT PEND multitool with interesting fold out, and lock in place corkscrew.  Other tools include can opener, screwdriver, and small tack hammer.  The hammer features a raised section into which the corkscrew locks in place for use.  No patent has been found.
  • 4. George B. Adams patent (#564,356) awarded July 21, 1896 for his “Badge Pin or Button,” marked on the back of the celluloid pinback, “THE WHITEHEAD & HOAG CO., NEWARK, N.J. PATENTED JULY 17, 1894, APRIL 14, 1896, JULY 21, 1896,” and on the edge of the celluloid “JULY 21, 1896.” An advertisement for Mangels & Schmidt’s High Grade Bread; it should be noted that Mangel & Schmidt was also located in Newark.
  • 5. Walter W. Wilkinson patent (458,087) awarded August 18, 1891 for his “Corkscrew,” marked with a maker’s mark for Gorham Sterling on the inside of the folding arms, and on the reverse an additional mark denoting the year of production: 1900. (See O’Leary, 1996, p. TK)
  • 6. Atwood Combination Six, marked “ATWOOD COMBINATION SIX, PAT APL’D FOR. MADE IN USA.”   The advertisement below appears in a 1932 issue of Boy’s Life.   In 1907, John King of Oakland, Maine was awarded patent #854,745 for his “Combined Fork and Spoon.”  The Atwood Combination Six is also from Oakland, Maine and looks to have taken King’s 1907 original patent, and included a few more tools…including a corkscrew.  No later patent has been found.

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?