Alf's Best Corkscrews of 1997

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  1. Though it is not particularly valuable, I am fond of its feel and its looks. This is one of two pieces that I acquired at the May 15th Christie’s auction in London this year. It is an English 19th century type straight-pull corkscrew with a polished wood, composition and varied metal handle. It proudly sports a turned shank and a concave button. It has a wire helix.
  2. Very cool! This is an English 19th century polished steel two-pillar corkscrew with a turned oak handle bearing a rolled gold shield-shaped plaque inscribed with, "This handle is part of an Oak Pile that was for 656 years under the London Bridge". The two pillars are inscribed, "The Iron Shoe of an Oak Pile that was 656 years in the foundation of Old London Bridge". PS The Old London Bridge was demolished in 1831.
  3. This two prong cork extractor is marked Magic Twist. It is English. It is Bradnock’s 1883 patent (#3221). [Watney on page 71]
  4. The guy is probably Italian. Made of brass and steel, this double lever corkscrew is possibly a Croppeli (Gropelli?) prototype or an early variation. It is unmarked and has a center worm. Nothing known about him; absolutely nothing in the books about this one. Any ideas?
  5. This is a particularly nice 19th century English double action corkscrew with a two pillar arched steel frame. It is operated with a turned bone handle fitted with a brush and a hanging ring. It has a hermaphrodite raising screw that is guided in the open frame by an elliptical button. The worm is of the helix variety. [DeSanctis/Fantoni on page 76]
  6. Here is a German chap. It is the creation of Benjamin Lew. It was patented on March 26, 1878 (#3341). It is marked "B. LEW’s KORKZIEHER. An American version was patented by Fredmann (or Fred Mann) on August 9, 1881 (#245,301). [O’Leary on page 62]
  7. The cover of the May issue of Ballooning (The Journal of the Balloon Federation of America) pictured both of my corkscrew balloons as they were lifting off from Chateau d’Oex in Switzerland this last January.

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