Best 6 for 2013

(a year of hunting and gathering)

1. For several years, a small group of collectors, had a running tradition of publishing their best 6 "wish list" for the coming year. For several years--a decade or so--a Dickson has been on my wish list. And, finally it can be crossed off. This is a nickel plated example of the 1870 Dickson patent, marked on the shaft with the patent date of "PAT AUG. 2, 1870" (see O'Leary, 1996, p. 36).



2. In late Summer of this year, I had caught wind of an auction in Pennsylvania that had a small collection of corkscrews that would be part of the auction. After a few phone calls with the auctioneer (he doesn't do email), he explained that he would be offering the tray of corkscrews as choice; meaning he would hold up the tray in the room, and whomever bid the highest would get first choice off of the tray. This would continue until there wasn't enough interest, and then the remaining few would go as one lot. As it happened, I got first choice. And, then I also got second choice. The rest, I left for the other bidders. The first choice was Hiram Codd's 1881 patent, marked "CODD'S PATENT" and "G.F.HIPKINS" (see O'Leary, 1996, p. 62).



3. While the search for more information on the corkscrews manufactured by James D. Frary will continue--as will the hunt for his corkscrews--this year I added another interesting variation of his design. Unmarked, as is typical, this one features a Hercules-type frame, hammer, spike, and solid decorative cast handle. ( see L'Africain, 2010 at and L'Africain, 2013 at )



4. Several years ago, Mark Woodard--through Don Bull's website--published an article about a newly discovered patent. The A.W. Stephens Cigar Perforator with corkscrew of 1908. After reading the story, the hunt began. Shortly thereafter, Barry Taylor had reported that he too had one, and the hunt continued. I can't honestly say how many Clough sheath corkscrews I have picked up hoping that I would find an A.W. Stephens, but this year at the September Brimfield Antiques Show, amongst a dozen Cloughs, I finally found one. And, it is in fantastic shape. With advertising for "John the Shoeman, 184 Mathewson St., PROVIDENCE R.I.," and on the reverse side of the sheath, "ADVERTISERS, SUPPLY CO. PROVIDENCE R.I.," it also carries the patent date for A.W. Stephens' cigar tip perforator (patent number 889,556) "PAT. JUNE 02, 1908" (see O'Leary, 1996, p. 234).



5. Much like the Stephens patent, which has led me to pick up hundreds and hundreds of Cloughs, the search for the Wilbur B. Woodman patent of 1884, for years has had me looking closely at every twisted wire corkscrew that I come across when hunting at antique shows and fairs, hoping that the corkscrew/key ring would somehow present itself. This year, it did. This is Wilbur Woodman's 1884 patent for a combined corkscrew and key-ring —unmarked as shown in O'Leary page 66 (see O'Leary, 1996 p. 66)



6. After researching and publishing an article on Detroit Corkscrews in 2012, I received an email from Paul Luchsinger who explained that he had a Welch Grape Juice Company Puddefoot that was from Watkins, NY as opposed to the Westfield, NY example that was in my collection. It was also the flat version, rather than the boat type handle. Whilst in Leuven, Belgium this year, on one of the many tables of corkscrews, I saw a Puddefoot, and was quite excited to find the same marking Paul described, "THE WELCH GRAPE JUICE CO. WATKINS, N.Y. and THE DETROIT PAT'D JULY 10, '94."

This would make for the 19th variation of the corkscrews of the Detroit Cork Screw Company in my collection. And, while not exceedingly rare, a rather apropos corkscrew for the Best Six, as Watkins (Glen), NY will be the location of the ICCA Annual General Meeting Gala in 2014 (see L'Africain 2012 at and O'Leary, 1996, p. 88).