TOP LEFT: U. S. Patent Number 322, 991 was granted to Frank L. Stowell of New York City for his "Knife Eraser." on July 28, 1885. Stowell's tool included a sharp edge for pen making or general cutting, an ink eraser edge, a notch used for pencil sharpening, a file surface for sharpening the lead of a pencil, a handle, and an eraser to be fitted at the end of the handle. Stowell suggested the handle could be made of "wood, hard rubber, ivory, celluloid, or any other suitable material." Two examples have been documented with wood handles. Although the patent does not mention a corkscrew, both documented examples contain a corkscrew accessed by unthreading a wood plug in the eraser end from the worm. The corkscrew would be used for opening an ink bottle. This example is marked PAT. APPLIED FOR. Fred O'Learys Corkscrews: 1000 Patented Ways to Open a Bottle pictures an example marked PAT JULY 28. 85. Neither one has the rubber sleeve to protect the file and on both, the file is wider than shown in the patent. Stowell's intention for the rubber sleeve was "to prevent dropping of the lead-powder on the paper, and also to prevent soiling of the fingers when the instrument is used for cutting, sharpening, or erasing..." He also suggests that "the entire blade and part of the handle may be a sheath similar to that used for an ordinary eraser." For more pictures see

MIDDLE LEFT: Brother Timothy had one of these in his 1984 Best Six with this comment "Cast bronze Roman gladiator. (Willed to me in 1970 by Mr. James Pomeroy Howe, Foreign Correspondent)." For more on Howe see This year another example was offered in an Internet auction. I had the lucky winning bid for the prize Pugilist.

MIDDLE RIGHT: D. R. G. M. 189807 dated December 1, 1902 for a Pocket Lever Corkscrew with Champagne Hook issued to Paul Henckels, Solingen. For more pictures see

BOTTOM LEFT: Man with large drill. Purchased from a seller in Germany in an Internet auction.

BOTTOM MIDDLE: A knife with carriage key marked HUNTER & SON SHEFFIELD on the master blade. The handle is engraved with an ornate design and "W. M. 1878." Time has lost the name to go with the initials and the ocassion to match the date.

RIGHT: I was told that this three-inch high plaque was originally mounted on a leather and wood box that contained the corkscrew depicted on it. The engraving on the plaque is "SOCIETA DEL TIRABUSCION.FONDATA. LA NOTTE. DAL.25.AL26.OTTOBRE.1877.MILANO." My interpretation is that a corkscrew collectors' club was founded in Milan, Italy in October, 1877. One end of the corkscrew is engraved "Josè Mantegani, Montevideo." The family of Jose Mantegani in Uruguay said he was a great corkscrew collector. Because the corkscrew is engraved "Josè Mantegani, Montevideo," one would have to assume that he either traveled to Milan for the meeting or received his corkscrew some other way. The other end is engraved with a script letter "R" and "Pelitti." (The box shown is current). For more pictures see

©2000 Donald A. Bull