History of the ICCA

The Genesis

The roots of the ICCA go back to a trip of Brother Timothy Diener to Sweden and England in about 1973.  Brother Timothy, who was the Cellar Master of Christian Brothers Winery in Napa, California, had already been collecting corkscrews for almost 25 years, and during that time he had become acquainted with other serious collectors including Jan Ekman in Sweden.  During that trip, Bro. Tim, as he was known, visited Jan who told him about another avid collector in London, England by the name of Dr. Bernard Watney.  Upon arrival in London, he contacted Dr. Watney and arranged to call on him.  It was during that visit that each learned the other knew of ardent corkscrew collectors in other countries, and so the idea of a corkscrew collecting club was hatched.  So, the idea of an international club blossomed into an effort to contact those other collectors with the suggestion that a meeting be arranged in the near future.

As for the name, International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts, it is a fact that it came to Dr. Watney one morning as he was taking his bath.  The inclusion of the term correspondence of course, was really a necessity, since in those pre-internet days, virtually the only reasonable means of international communication was by letter. 

And, so it was that the ICCA was born.      

The Founding Meeting

Once that original idea had taken root, the first meeting of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts (ICCA) was organized and hosted by Dr. Bernard Watney and held at the Guinness Brewery, London, England on October 1, 1974.   Dr. Watney was the Chief Medical Officer of Guinness. 

The leader of the group, rather than being known as the president would have the designation Right.   Homer Babbidge, a founding member, suggested at the meeting that in the words of the American congressman and statesman, Henry Clay, it was better to be right than president.  On that theory, the ICCA leader has hence been known as the Right, and so Brother Timothy was elected the first Right and was also designated as the ICCA’s Chaplain.  Dr. Watney was elected to the Chief Correspondent’s post, the only other elective office at that time.


The ICCA membership was initially fixed at 35, but at the 1977 meeting, it was agreed that membership be increased to fifty.  That number has remained constant and works to be optimal for more intimate meetings, which almost always includes visits to member’s homes and much smaller venues.  Since there is usually a waiting list, persons desiring to become members should make application to the Right.  Such application should include size and nature of collection, number of years collecting, how addiction was developed, any research done, special interest, names of members personally known and some biographical information on family, work, etc.  A photograph and detailed description of what applicant regards as his/her six best corkscrews should be enclosed.

Countries Represented

As of December, 2010, membership included addicts from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.  The United States members represent California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.