The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Northampton Cutlery Company
Bay State Cutlery Company was founded in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1863. The firm went bankrupt in 1870 and H. R. Hinckley bought the firm and incorporated it as The Northampton Cutlery Company in that year. The factory was located on the Mill River. Silver-Plated knives and forks as well as fixed blade knives were the main product lines of the company in the early years. In later years they produced knife blades for various other companies. The company closed in 1987.
Northampton Cutlery did produce one corkscrew. When the late Bob Nugent acquired one, he wrote "I bought this piece from a gentleman who used to work for the Northampton Cutlery Co. His description is as follows":
This piece was designed by Harvey Finison, the late owner of the Northampton Cutlery Co., Northampton, Massachusetts. Only about 50 were made between 1985 and 1986 when the cutlery was closed.
The handle was dropped forged from 410 stainless steel. The screw was handmade in a special jig with a Bridgeport machine. The bell was also handmade on two lathes and a Bridgeport machine involving about 7 separate operations. I remember on a good day 3 bells could be made.
The corkscrews were being sold in New York at Tiffany's, I believe.
Corkscrew marked Northampton Cutlery U S A
In 1978 Harvey Finison (1916-1987) presented a 5" bottle opener and a 5" can opener to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He designed these in 1977 and they were produced by his Northampton Cutlery Company. Note the somewhat similar graceful handle on these as well as on the corkscrew. It is possible that Finison designed the corkscrew around the same time and Nugent's source may have been off by ten years in citing the year of manufacture.
View of the underside of the bell.
Michael Levine is a third-generation restaurateur of Montys Steakhouse in Woodland Hills, California. Not only is he a talented chef but he is also an inventor. The elegant looking device above looks like a double lever corkscrew. But Michael's invention is a bit different. Michael discovered a small problem in his restaurant, "suddenly the wine bottles were being produced with screw-tops instead of cork. My customers were unhappy with the presentation of a non-cork wine bottle, it just wasn't the same." So Michael came up with a solution - a screw-top remover that looks like a corkscrew for a traditional wine presentation.
The screw-cap is removed in four easy steps:
- 1. Push down on the top knob which raises the levers
- 2. Place the bottle collar over the bottle
- 3. Push push the levers down
- 4. Turn the handle counter-clockwise
Even the package makes an elegant statement
The Butterfly is trademarked and Michael Levine has filed for a patent. More information and ordering details can be found at http://butterflywineopener.com.
Editor's note: Michael shipped via Fedex two of the first production models to me while I was in London for the CCCC / ICCA meetings in August. They arrived in time for the show and tell session of the CCCC meeting. I opened a screw-cap bottle of wine with it to the delight of those attending. One of the pieces was sold in the ICCA auction a couple of days later for $44.00.
Another Editor's note: Last night I had dinner at my local favorite restaurant. I showed the Butterfly to the owner and the first words he spoke were "I want to buy one!"
©2009 Don Bull, Editor