8 Greely’s

April 1889 issue of The Iron Age:

Greely’s Cork-Extractor.

This article which is represented in the accompanying illustrations, embodies, it will be observed, new features in a cork extractor. 


It is represented in Fig. 1, while its use is indicated in Figs. 2 and 3.  From these illustrations it will be seen that it consists of a piece of steel bent and handled in the form indicated.  There is however, along the back a groove, which is not clearly shown in this cut, this groove being intended to permit the air to enter the bottle when the extractor is in place, thus overcoming the suction which is countered in drawing the cork the usual way.  As indicated in Figs. 2 and 3, the extractor, the end of which is rounded as to conform with the inside of the bottle neck, is inserted between the cork and the bottle, and when sufficiently far down the hook on the end is turned into the cork, placed direction under the end of the cork which may then be extracted.  It is obvious that in the use of this article the cork is not as liable to be injured as with the ordinary corkscrew, and it is referred to as doing its work efficiently.  These cork-extractors are made in eight different sizes and styles, giving a requisite variety for the different uses for which they may be required.

“…eight different sizes and styles…”


We have three different versions within our collection.  Two different sizes, and the folding Greely (found in a tray of button hooks in Florida).

I know that John Morris has an example that has a hole for one’s finger.


But, that would make 4 versions.  Two different sizes, as shown in O’Leary (4.5″ and 3.7″), the folding version, and  also the Morris example.

I will add here, that in other literature from the time explains that the Detroit Cork Screw Company was making the Greely Cork Extractor, and I wonder if that could explain John’s other find.  The folding Greely bow, with the patent date, but with a helix instead of the hook cork extractor.

So, let’s see if there are any variations within our respective collections.

Grab a measuring tape, or ruler, and go check your Greeley’s.   Do you have other sizes of configurations?

Does no Injure the Cork

From a 1913 Shapleigh Hardware Company catalog:


 Does not Injure the Cork



Take the Puller into the hand so that the handle rests in the palm, putting the thumb on one tine and the forefinger on the other.  Adjust the tines to size of Cork by pressing thumb and forefinger together, insert the tines each side of the cork between Cork and Neck of Bottle, work the tines carefully below the bottom of the cork by pushing one tine then the other (a rocking motion).  When the tines are well below the bottom of the cork turn the Puller around and around, at the same time pulling very gently.  Around goes the Puller, Cork and all, and out rides the Cork on the tines and drops from the Puller without labor injury to cork or spilling contents.

If the cork has flattened edges out over neck of bottle push the tines through the flattened edges and operate as above; for Cork in bottles of Glue, Mucilage or other adhesive matter insert the tines in two or three different places before turning the Puller.   Per dozen.

No. 35—Tempered Blued Spring Steel Tines; Maple Handle, Mahogany Stained and Varnished; Nickel Plated Brass Case; Length Closed 4 in; Lengh of Handle 3 in; Weight per dozen 3 lbs………………. $ 4.00

One Dozen in a Box.

didn’t you mention a trade???

In yesterday’s Brimfield recap, I did mention a trade.

Yes, a trade.

A few weeks back, Tommy picked up an Sterling and Ivory handled Gorham prong puller that resembles a Converse.  It shares many similarities with the Converse patent, with the biggest exception being that instead of the 1899 patent date, it reads STERLING 97, and SPAULDING-GORHAM–the sheath is also marked STERLING

Spaulding & Co., originally was S. Hoard & Co., but in 1920 was bought by Gorham Mfg., and changed the name to Spaulding-Gorham Inc.  The name remained until 1943, when it was changed to Spaulding & Co, in 1943.  So, we can at least but date range to the cork puller; somewhere between 1920, but before 1943.

In a 1941 Spaulding-Gorham Catalog, they feature a similar cork puller.  The lines are pretty similar, but it is described “Wine Cork Puller, sterling, and is illustrated with a Sterling handle, rather than one of Ivory and Sterling.


Do any of you have the Spaulding-Gorham that is entirely Sterling?

After Tommy picked it up, we had discussed trade.  And, he threw out several options that would seal the deal.  That said, after I picked up the General Appliance wall mount with corkscrew, that was what he really wanted.  But, given that I had been trying to find that particular corkscrew for well-over a decade, I just didn’t want to part with it.

The conversation went back and forth over the course of the Brimfield adventure; scarcity, rarity, desirability, value, etc…  And, it continued with possible trade scenarios.

On Wednesday, Tommy presented another offer.  We had batted around a couple in the preceding days…  Folding Greeley patent and the half sized signed Clark, in exchange for the Spaulding-Gorham prongs.

I thought about it for a minute or two.  Tommy has a thing for the smaller (but not miniature) corkscrews, and I have thing for Converse and other prong pullers, so after grabbing a small Hall’s Red Devil Skull poison indicator corkscrew from his stash and placing it next to the prongs, I agreed.


I also promised, that should I ever begin to trade and/or sell the General Appliance wall mount, that he would get the right of first refusal.

But, given that it will surely make my best six for 2017, I am guessing it will be sticking around.  I am thinking the Spaulding-Gorham prongs will also make the best 6!

Thanks for another epic trade TC.  There have been so any over the years, and I look forward to the next one!

Chick Can Opener

From a 1911 issue of Commercial America, Volume 8.

Chick Can Opener

To open a can with the Chick Can Opener illustrated herewith, the opener is simply set to the proper size, the center disc placed on the center of the can and by slight pressure on the large center holder, the pins penetrate the can.  A turn of the long handle then cuts a circle open in the can.  The straight blade at the end is used for opening square or odd-shaped tins and is provided with corrugations to prevent slipping.


The Chick Can Opener is offered for export by the Andrews Wire and Iron Works, 80 Griswold Street, Detroit, Michigan.  It is made in two styles, one for ordinary household use and a larger one for hotel use, the latter opening any cans up to the one-gallon size.

“The Chick Can Opener?” you ask.

Well, sure.  This particular can opener was patented in 1908 by Oscar F. Braconier, and was assigned to our man Oscar F., but it was also assigned to one Thomas Chick.

Hence the Chick Can Opener…


I don’t yet have this patent, but I would happily trade heavily for it.  Or, perhaps make an outright purchase.  So, if you have the Chick Can Opener (with corkscrew), feel free to drop me a line.


This would start the 2017 corkscrew collecting year off right.  Do you have one?


three Murphys


As mentioned in the Brimfield post, I picked up the early example of the “challenge-type” Murphy corkscrew.   It is a welcome addition to the collection, and soon enough will be added to the Murphy page.

But, for kicks, I thought I would show three Murphys together.  Each has different markings.  Two with the arched frame, and one with the squared frame.  The one on the right has marking on the handle as well.



As you all know, I like Murphy corkscrews!


And, while I would love to add another Ivory handled one to the collection…



what I am really after is an unusual Murphy that has little teeth below the button.


Do any of you have this?  I would love to trade!

W. A. Zietzke…

The other day, I was doing a little research on combination tools with corkscrews, and ran into an 1897 newspaper article from The Tennesseean that mentioned a patented combination tool with corkscrew:


A W. A Zietzke patent combination tool with a corkscrew?

Let’s check the back of O’Leary.


Okay, how about Google patents.  Whatever might this look like.


From his patent description: In the accompanying drawings, which illustrate the invention, Figure 1 is a side view of the present device. Fig. 2 is a bottomplan showing the parts in their folded positions. Fig. 3 is a detail view with one of the sides of the handle cut away to show the construction of the corkscrew and its retaining’spring, and Fig. 4 is a detail showing the wrench and screw-driver in its open position.


A pretty cool looking piece.  Do any of you have this?

Let the hunt begin!

But, you said that you, “…made a commitment to a few.”

Okay, I know that a couple of days ago in mentioning Don Bull’s corkscrew sale that I had “made a commitment to a few.”

Four actually.

Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to add even more to the collection. And, I was tempted by several others. Still, I knew that Tommy would be after a couple pieces, and a couple had been sold even before I jumped in.

And, there may be others that make their way to the island, and I am anxiously awaiting the next round of corkscrew pages (and the next).

What were the four?

The 1914 Josephine Spielbauer patent mentioned yesterday:


A glass bowl dosage cup. This would be the 1882 American Patent # 254,760 of J. Henry Zeilin. The Sterling examples do turn up, although not often. The glass example, I have never seen before. How could I resist?


I also grabbed the 1917 Otto Gessler patent (#1,218,757) for a Compound Tool. A fairly simple looking piece; I only know of a couple that have been found, and thus far it seems, no one has found it with the sheath as shown in the patent drawing.


And, finally (not that this is final, as I have no doubt there will be others in the coming weeks) I picked up the folding/bow example of the 1888 Greeley patent. A very cool little corkscrew, that I have been after years!


Will there be a fifth? I have no doubt that there will be. And, you just never know what will be turning up on our next antiquing trip, on the next auction, or…

Stay tuned.

Another nice grouping, and a best 6 candidate…

The other day reader, PW, sent in a photo of his obsession (and a collection within his collection) that of Thomasons. Fabulous collection PW!


Keep those photos coming!

On another corkscrew note, or cork puller note rather, I came home the other day from the wine shop, and there was a voicemail from BT, he had run into a hard to find cork puller, but since it was a double for him, wondered if we might work out a trade over a brief phone call.

On the voicemail, he laid out what he was looking for.  It all sounded fair to me, so I picked up the phone, in a couple of minutes, the deal was done (trading with Tommy or RL takes a bit longer than that, months sometimes).

So, in short order a nice cork puller will be heading to the collection. It is a pretty hard piece to come by, and a patent. Kahlen and Jordan’s design patent of 1948. When found, the sheath is marked BOTTLEKING.








Kahlen and Jordan’s patent description explains that, “…we respectively, Fritz Kahlen, a citizen of Germany, residing at New York, in the county of New York and State of New York, and Peter P. Jordan, a citizen of the United States of America, and residing at Jackson Heights, in the county of Queens and State of New York, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Combined Bottle Opener and Cork Remover, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part thereof.”

In the patent drawings they provide several illustrations.

Figure 1 is a front elevational view of a combined bottle opener and cork remover, showing our new design,



Figure 2 is a side elevational view of the device shown in Figure ‘1,


Figure 3 is an exploded view of the device shown in Figure 1,


Figure 4 is a side elevational view of the device as shown in Figure 3.



A great addition to the collection!

Thanks for the trade BT!

The Bottleking Cork Puller, could very well make the best 6 of the year!


Every one has a use for a Knife, Reamer, File, Saw, Chisel, Screw Driver or Cork Puller.

From the The Columbian volume 4, number 1 – April 1911;

No. 602 “ULERY”
Pocket Knife Tool Kit

Every one has a use for a Knife, Reamer, File, Saw, Chisel, Screw Driver or Cork Puller. This outfit is practical, yet so small, being contained in a Leather Pocket Book 4 ¼ x 3 ¼ inches, is, by carrying it in your pocket, always at hand for immediate use, whether Camping, Boating, Teaming, Driving, in the Shop, Factory, Office, Store, Warehouse, Automobile, on the Farm, Bicycle, or around the Home.

Any Tool firmly attached or detached to the Pocket Knife in a second.



Quite the handy little kit, the cork puller tool that attaches (and detaches in a second) is William T. Vallandingham’s American patent for a cork extractor (# 883,988) awarded April 7, 1908.