The Virtual Corkscrew Museum Signature Collection

Austin Corbin Corkscrew

submitted by Tom Staley (

Tom describes his corkscrew as "This Corkscrew has a walrus tusk handle, about 6 1/2 inches long, capped with silver, on a faceted shank. The tusk is marked "Dinner of the First Panel SHERIFF'S JURY, Jan 8th 1896." The silver cap is engraved "Austin Corbin, Car Oriental."

Who was Austin Corbin?

Austin Corbin was born July 11, 1827 and grew up in Newport, New Hampshire. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1849 and two years afterwards moved to the Midwest where he remained until after the Civil War. Then he moved to Brooklyn Heights, New York. By 1882, he had built the Manhattan Beach Railroad and three resort hotels: The Manhattan Beach Hotel, The Oriental, and The Argyle.

In the late 1870s, the Long Island Railroad was having financial problems and Corbin tok it over. Within a short period of time, he turned the railroad into a profitable enterprise. The railroad owened two private cars - The Manhattan built in 1885 and the Oriental built in 1890 (both named after Corbin's hotels.

Austin Corbin died in an accident in 1896. Four years after his death, his railroad was purchased by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Regarding the engraving on the corkscrew: It is assumed that the subject "Dinner of the First Panel SHERIFF'S JURY, Jan 8th 1896" took place on Corbin's Oriental Railroad Car.

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