The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Letters to the Editor
Thanks for a very entertaining daily blow from the west. Regarding the medical corkscrews in the May 5 issue - What about thinking about the animals as well ?look at the Bovine Tap on Joe Paradi'sCorkscrewNet - it is real !!! Best regards
Jens Arnbjerg, Denmark
Will the Real Corkscrew Please Stand Up
Regarding the May 5 issue - Let's make a few corrections on your medical corkscrews. The Corkscrew (cancellous bone) suture anchor is not a corkscrew at all. The tip is like an ordinary screw and is made to anchor and not to extract like a corkscrew does. We call them "Stay -Tak". The same goes for the parachute tissue. It is an anchoring device. Here are some real corkscrews that are used to extract:
This 15 inch long corkscrew is used in gynecology to screw in the uterin fibroids during laparoscopic extraction of the fibroid.
This corkscrew is used to extract the uterus during certain vaginal hysterectomy. Not used much in this day and age since there are better and more modern equipment.
This corkscrew is used commonly in orthopedic surgery to extract a broken or osteotomized head of the femur (hip bone). We refer, in the operating room, as a "corkscrew", and this what the OR technician give you.
Al Haché, Canada
Regarding the April 28 The Daily Screw issue with the Sommer's powderhorn - If readers are wondering what the square hole in the powderhorn is for, it is a Prestolite key. Prestolite developed a process for filling tanks with acetylene gas (the traditional way was to drip water onto calcium carbide, which produces acetylene gas in real time). The small Prestolite tanks were mounted on bicycles and the running boards of cars (or under the seat), and a copper or brass tube ran to the acetylene lamp(s) on the front.
To light the lamp, the valve on the tank was opened using the "key" (it was a square shank on the valve) by one person, and another person held a match at the lamp, and warned "stand back!" I don't have the start date for Prestolite (I'm thinking circa 1885), but they existed on the cars until circa 1915, then quickly phased out. Sometimes the caplifters had two different sized square holes, so the Prestolite system must have made two different sized tanks/valves. I would suspect that bicycle tanks would be smaller than car tanks.
Bob Roger, Virginia
In the May 3 The Daily Screw, under the heading of Snaffle, you ask the question: "Do corkscrew collectors also collect these?"
I enclose a photo of our country house at the vineyard showing the wall behind the stair. On the left side of the picture you will see about a dozen "snaffle" bits showing most of the six types you mentioned plus a few other bits. My main interest here is not the "snaffle" bit but the "Ring Bits". About 40 of them are on the right half of the picture.
You mentioned that the snaffle was designed to discipline or school a horse. The ring bit is not used today except maybe in some parts of Mexico. The RB has a "----" or spade that pulls up into the roof of the mouth and the ring slips over the lower jaw. When the reins are pulled there is pressure put up into the mouth and the ring applies pressure on a nerve under the lower jaw. Not too kind but the horse learns very quickly that if he behaves himself, the hurt will go away. These were used to instantly control a wild horse without breaking it, also on mules, donkeys and jacks with a mind of their own.
The ring bit was first used by the Moors in North Africa and brought to Mexico sometime in the 17th and 18th century. Each one is different, hand made to fit the animal that needs it. The U. S. Calvary even used them during the Civil War and shortly after. They could catch and ride wild horses in a very short time with these bits. Many of the ones you see in the photo are over 200 years old. Some are more recent and one that I am especially proud of is from the 17th century.
The Navajo Indians became good ironmongers and started making ring bits in the 1800s. The Commanche Indians were the best horsemen in the country but they stole ring bits, killed for them, but never had the ability to make them.
I guess I could just go on about the RB's but to answer your question, yes, some corkscrew collectors do collect snaffle bits. I only collect the snaffles if I find a very unusual one while I am looking for RB's but indeed I collect snaffles.
Don Minzenmayer, Texas
©2003 Don Bull, Editor