Frary, Frary, Frary, Frary

This morning, a listing came up on eBay for a couple of catalog pages from 1890’s Dunham, Carrigan & Hayden Co. catalog,

And, while I don’t collect catalog pages, the images shown were pretty cool, as there are four Frarys pictured on one of the pages…

In the literature from the time, there is a reference made to a Frary catalog that features his corkscrews. If any of you find it… I would be interested.

Empire v. Curley

Recently an advertisement for the Empire Forge Co., appeared, and shortly disappeared, from eBay.

Not that it really disappeared, but it was purchased.

No, not by me.

Said advertisement, features several of the items made by Empire Forge, but of interest, is that it is yet another advertisement for the Curley corkscrew that was produced by Empire Forge.


While the example shown in the advertisement carries the patent date, albeit the wrong one–as the patent is actually April 1884 NOT March 1884–that is the way the corkscrew was produced, with the wrong patent date.


Empire also made their own corkscrew, mimicking much of Curley’s design, but instead of the slot and screw that is present on the Curley, they created a removable worm corkscrew, and marked the handle EMPIRE.



When you compare the two together, Curley v. Empire the size and overall design are pretty close:


I am looking for a second example of the EMPIRE if you have one with which you would like to part.

Or course, I am open to any, and all, antique corkscrews, so feel free to send photos to


The Holy Grail…

I will preface this by saying, that as I peruse the back of O’Leary and scan patent drawings of corkscrews that have still yet to have been discovered, there are countless American patented corkscrews that I would love to add to the collection.

And, over the last 20 years or so, I have been able to add several that were considered in our collective corkscrewy world, as new new discoveries.

For longtime readers, the one corkscrew that is my holy grail, will not come as a surprise.      I have known of two examples.  One a dealer friend in Connecticut told me about, years after he had sold it.  And, the other, is in Ion’s collection in Romania.  I am guessing that they didn’t make only two…

It’s a Frary, of course, and I know that someday one will present itself, and it will round out the James D. Frary corkscrew collection.


This has been on my wish list for years, and clearly continues to be.

Here it is as shown in an 1889 issue of Iron Age:

frarywithopenerCombined Corkscrew, Can-Opener, Ice Pick, &e


It is the corkscrew that I WANT in the collection…   This example is in Ion’s collection.


If any one out there has this…  Please drop me a line.

That all said, what is the ONE corkscrew that you want to add to your collection?  What is YOUR Holy Grail?  Send photos or drawings…  I will post them here.

From a 1903 DUNHAM, CARRIGAN & HAYDEN CO. catalog

From an 1903 DUNHAM, CARRIGAN, & HAYDEN CO. catalog:


The two corkscrews illustrated up top, are both Frary Corkscrews.  Interestingly, what DUNHAM, CARRIGAN, & HAYDEN CO. are calling the No. 240, wasn’t illustrated within 1889 copy of The Iron Age: A Review of the Hardware, Iron and Metal Trades, which was where Kenneth Cope found the images that identified the corkscrews as made by Frary in his book Kitchen Collectibles; this same issue of Iron Age became the basis of my article Finding Frary, which you can link to here.

There are some collectors that have asked me, was the non-hammer-non-ice-pick Frary a production item, or was it that their hammer and spike had gone missing.

Well, this clearly answers the question!  A production corkscrew, that cost 25% less than the Ice Pick and Breaker Version!

No. 240—5 inch, Self Drawing, Revolving Bell, Convex Twist, Cast Steel, Fancy Iron Handle, Full Nickel Plated .. Per Doz $6 00

241—5 inch, Same as above, with Ice Pick and Breaker …………………………. $8 00

Dozen per box