Alf's Best Corkscrews of 1996

MY "BEST 6" for 1996 is a bit more complicated than in prior years. Not only have I acquired six "traditional" corkscrews, but I have had constructed a corkscrew balloon. But, first things first:
  1. This dual barreled pistol has two corkscrews as triggers to fire the gun. And when the trigger is pulled back further a knife snaps open at the front. It is probably French.
  2. Here is an unusual compound lever corkscrew. It is a Weir's patent of 1877 (so marked). It is also marked with the initials "J.H.S" with the letter "B" underneath. Presumably this stands for James Healey and Sons of Birmingham.
  3. This rare item is J. Pitt's patent of 1882 (U.S. # 262,613). It is marked "IMPERIAL MFG CO, CHICAGO, PATD AUG. 15, 82."
  4. Here we have Sperry's pump lever. This American item was patented on May 28, 1878. The replaceable worm was the novelty.
  5. The fifth item is Tucker's American patent of 3 September 1878.
  6. The final traditional item is marked "J B & SONS".

NOW to the major undertaking of the year.
  1. For starters, it is "marked" G-BWHW. It means that it is a hot air balloon that was registered in Great Britain in the fall of 1995. Actually, the G is for the UK, and the stuff to the right of the hyphen are sequential alphabetic assignments. I may reregister the balloon in France as F-CORK.
  2. It was constructed by the Cameron Balloon Company of Bristol, England during the summer of 1995. Details of this can be found on my Balloon Page.
  3. It contains, when inflated, 180,000 cubic feet of hot air. That is the equivalent of 9,000,000 bottles of wine.
  4. It wears five of my more stylistic corkscrews, of which, in this photograph, you can only see two of them. Note that they are penetrating non-foiled corks.
  5. It has flown in three wine loving countries on its last three trips: France, Switzerland and Italy. Next month it is going to Prague where it might not be nearly as appreciated.
  6. Finally, it sports the "Bottlescrew Toast".

Jean and I are looking forward to seeing everyone in Barcelona.

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