The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Number 593

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News Archive

Floor Board Wrench or Carriage Key?

by Bob Roger

The Weekly Screw of October 21, 2007 quotes from the British Railway Engineering Encyclopedia the following definition of carriage key: "A simple key used to operate the secondary locks fitted to coach doors and some other access panels on locomotives and rolling stock" (italics mine).

Below is a copy of a T Handle Floor Board Wrench advertisement made (or sold) by Beckley-Ralston Co. of Chicago in 1915. Could it be that what Beckley-Ralston call a floor board wrench is the same item as a carriage key? The floor boards of carriages and early automobiles were either easily removable or had removable access panels, and the same tool could serve to open both access panels and passenger compartment doors.

This 2 1/2 inch-long brass/bronze (non-magnetic) tapered square key or wrench was originally painted black (Japanned). The end is 1/4 inch square. It appears to be almost identical to the Beckley-Ralston floor board wrench shown below it.

The large key with a loop handle shown below (with smaller keys) is marked MIDLAND RAILWAY and JONES & FOSTER. It was purchased in England. The Midland Railway operated in the United Kingdom from 1844-1922. The company also operated a carriage & wagon works.


Editor's note: Bob Roger is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Screw. We thank him for his diligent research and articles.

Holiday Greetings

We thank readers for the many greetings received during the Christmas and New Year holidays. We particularly enjoyed this on from Fernando Riquelme.

And this greeting from Bernhard Maurer brought some broad smiles.

Help Wanted

The new book on Champagne collectibles is in the works and your editor finds less time for writing articles for The Weekly Screw. We need your help. Now is the time to share your corkscrew and corkscrew go-with stories with all the readers.

You might even consider sharing some photos of how you display your collection. Reader Klaus Gross writes "I am sending you pictures of a duck, which I put in its natural habitat (background: a 19th cent. painting)." What have you done with your corkscrews?

Popping Corks: Champagne Collectibles

Editor's note: The announcement below appeared in last week's issue. The response has been very good. We have many great additions to the book and look forward to hearing from you as well!!

An important announcement from Don Bull and Joe Paradi:

We are currently working on a new book on Champagne collectibles. Popping Corks: Champagne Collectibles will be published in the Spring of 2011. We have an August 1 deadline from the publisher.

The book will include Champagne and Soda Water Taps, Nippers, Grippers, Easers, Fixed Blade Champagne Knives, Bottle Resealers, Corkscrews with Wire Breakers, Early Waiters' Friends with Champagne Knives, and more. A miscellaneous chapter will include Champagne advertising letter openers, cigar cutters, mechanical pencils, etc. There will also be Popping Corks Postcards and Tradecards. Catalogs advertisements and patent illustrations will complements many of the individual pieces. The book will not include Champagne buckets, glasses, furniture, and other large Champagne collectibles.

We would appreciate receiving information about Champagne collectibles in your collection. If you have items which you would like included, send a snapshot and we will let you know if we need them. Then we will need clear unedited photos (objects on white background) and scans (postcards, catalog references, etc).

In addition to taps, nippers, grippers, etc., do you have any Champagne advertising letter openers (we have only seen three)? Champagne bin labels? Champagne bottle tickets? Champagne tokens? Special purpose small Champagne bottles (e.g. cigar cutters)?

If you can help, please email If you include photos, please email limit each email to 5MB.

If you would like to send photographs on a CD, mail to Don Bull, P. O. Box 596, Wirtz, VA 24184 U.S.A.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your assistance. Contributors will be acknowledged in the book.

Corkscrews for Sale

There are over 1000 corkscrews pictured on the "Corkscrews for Sale" pages. Even if you are not a buyer, you might enjoy looking at the photos!

News Index

©2009 Don Bull, Editor


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