a little sea smoke…

The last couple of days have been cold here on the island.

Yesterday, by 4:00 (about the time this photo was taken, the windchill was 36 degrees below zero…

Still, with the woodstove going, and a bit of wine, we made it through the evening.

And, this morning we awoke to similar (not the wine).

Currently (at 10 am) it is -1 degree, with the wind chill bringing the temperature down to -27. And, the wind has been howling.

That said, the temps are starting to increase, and she be downright balmy by this afternoon, with temperatures expected to climb to 12 degrees by sunset.

So, the woodstove is still going… and will be for the rest of the day / evening.

No corkscrew news to report at the moment…hopefully that will change over the course of the day.

Stay warm!


From an 1862 issue issue of The Post Office London Directory:


The old process of Drawing Corks by ordinary Corkscrews is entirely obviated in the construction and novel action of the “ Presto and Despatch Corkscrews.”  Their superiority will at once be seen and their use understood by the following instructions, vis –Pull the screw A out to its full extent, and then insert the point of the worm into the Centre of the Cork, and by slight pressure (without turning the hand) it will immediately penetrate the Cork ; this being effected, then proceed to draw it.  To remove the Cork from the worm raise the Button B, or the spring C, then slightly pull the Cork, which will instantly be released.

The principle on which these two Corkscrews are constructed is the same, excepting the mode of securing the screw, which is effected in the “ Despatch ‘ by a spring fixed to the end of the barrel, and in the “ Presto “ at one end of the handle, both producing the same result.  The screw A should occasionally be oiled.  The screw being made of solid brass, and the steel worm electroed, it will not rust.





Sample, of a Book of Drawings, may be had on application

Quite the adventure

During our last days in Los Olivos we hit a few more wineries, with one of the highlights being Holus Bolus.

From what I understand, they don’t have distribution in Maine as of yet, so I have reached out to the owner of our favorite distributor, to see what she can do. If at all possible, we will have Holus Bolus on the shelves of Island Spirits in the near future.

On Thursday, the adventure back to Maine commenced. And, after departing our temporary digs in Los Olivos, we hit Starbucks for the requisite cup of coffee for the drive to LAX. And, at the lovely’s suggestion, we gave ourselves a bit of time, as traffic heading through Santa Barbara, and then into LA, was fierce.

We did make it, with plenty of time to grab a quick bite (lunch), and then boarded our flight. Landing in DC with just an hour before our next departure, we soon were aboard, and taking off for Portland, where we landed just before midnight.

Somewhat on west coast time, but knowing how late we would be flying in, we had booked a hotel adjacent to the airport, and headed back to Vinalhaven the following morning–arriving back on the island just after 1:00 yesterday.

After settling in, I headed off to the post office to receive a pile of mail; including two corkscrew packages–the Walker peg and worm from TWJ and an unmarked Chinnock.

And, this morning it is back to early morning coffee (cup number two), and starting a new article for The Bottle Scrue Times (for those of you considering submitting for the upcoming issue, the end of February would be the proposed deadline. So, you have a month–give or take)

Stay tuned, you never know what might turn up next.

I found corkscrews!

While there has been a bit of antiquing over the course of our Los Olivos visit, there was one store that defintitely had corkscrews. None that I purchased, but they had some!

Largely, our last few days has consisted of visiting new restaurants, checking out some wineries, venturing out to the coast, and just enjoying the sunshine, knowing that we are in for some snow when we get back to Vinalhaven.

There may be some antiquing today, so you never know what might turn up.

If you are in the area, be sure to hop on over to Buellton, and check out Industrial Eats! Their caesar salad was awesome! As wasa their white pizza on a GF crust.

Best Six of 2022

1, Charles Chinnock’s patent #299,738, awarded June 3, 1884; unmarked (See O’Leary p. 67). 

I found this particular corkscrew walking the fields of Brimfield Antique Flea Market in September.  After putting in miles and miles of walking the fields, after hitting every booth that was open, after a day of solid rain, there was little to be had.  The next day the sun was shining, and in the second field that opened that morning, with only three booths left to visit in the field, just sitting on a table in some random antique dealer’s stall, was the Chinnock.  

Persistence my friends.  There are still treasures out there just waiting to be discovered…

2. Sterling triple medicine spoon (1 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons, 1 tablespoon) marked THEODORE B. STARR, INC., and STERLING (Theodore B. Starr became incorporated in 1907, and closed operations in 1918, when it was sold to Reed & Barton).

3. Pie crimper / can opener / with corkscrew, marked PAT APLD. FOR on the can opener.

4. Charles Blantz’ design patent #46,310 awarded August 25, 1914.  

The patent drawing merely says “Tool.”  And, the patent description, mentions none of its uses, “Be it know that I, Clayton H. Blantz, a citizen of the United States, residing at Lebanon, in the county of Lebanon and State of Pennsylvania, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for Tools, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part thereof.”

This year, I found the Blantz patent, as well as an advertisement that explains its functions; most importantly “Cork Extractor”

5. Brown and Bigelow bottle shaped roundlet corkscrew made of aluminum, and serving as a promotional piece for BROWN & BIGELOW, Remembrance Advertising, REG. U.S. PAT. OFF., ST. PAUL MINNESOTA. 

6. Lucien Mumford’s patent awarded May 10, 1892, marked (faintly) Magic, CORK EXTRACTOR, PAT. MCH. 4-79., MAY 10-92, MADE IN U.S.A.  This the square/flat example (See O’Leary, p. 84).

One month to go (and a day)

Well, it is November 30th, and we are one month (and a day) away from the end of the corkscrew-collecting-fiscal-year. And, what a year it has been.

There are always corkscrews to be found, and while I made some terrific finds in the wild, there were some where, to borrow from Jose… the corkscrews found me.

And, as I am wont to do, I figured I would put together a little survey to see what each of you think should make the best six of the year this year.

Of course, with a month (and a day) to go until the end of the year, the list could change. And, of course, I hope something fabulous, or some fabulous somethings, find their way into the collection that will change the potential best six candidates, but let’s see what you all have to say.

Here are the candidates that are in the running:

Thanks for your playing along, and you just never know what will turn up next!

Hopefully I find a corkscrew, or a corkscrew finds me, that makes the choice that much more difficult.

Following up on the Pharmacist’s spoon with corkscrew

This afternoon, the little pharmacist’s spoon arrived, and it is both very small, and very cool.

And, it is actually marked on the backside of the spoon, STERLING.

Now, I am not completely sure that this is a Pharmacist’s spoon, but it certainly is a spoon, certainly is small, certainly is a corksrew, and certainly is STERLING.

A neat addition to the collection!

It’s fairly fabulous…

The Von Gieson arrived the other day, and it is fabulous.

A nice addition to the collection.

What might turn up next?

On an antiquing note, the Union Antiques show in Maine has been cancelled for this year, “due to a supply chain issue experienced by our supplier of tents and tables…”


Yes. Really.

Maybe a trip to Brimfield in September is in order…

We shall see…

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!