Dating corkscrews

Enterprise Not a starship, but a corkscrew dating from about Gilchrist Made in Chicago, patented in Infanta A petite bar corkscrew from about , patented by American Harry Williams. Invincible This patent pending version was made in U. JV An unusual brass fish design, believed to be Belgian.

Corkscrews Online - A website devoted to corkscrew collecting

Lindstrom The first automatic bar corkscrew to be patented, it was invented in Sweden by P. The only other one we know of is in a museum in Stockholm. McMaster An American patent from Milano An Italian version of the U.


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Rapid A clean-lined American corkscrew patented by Harry J. Williams on April 21, Rex One of many designs patented by Raymond Gilchrist around the turn of the last century, this one is a British manufactured prototype. Rotary Eclipse A brass English monster, patented by F. Marwood on March 26, Stanpat A pre-production sample of a British bar corkscrew manufactured by Samuel Mason in about Unique An American design by Edwin Walker, from about A corkscrew is a tool for drawing corks from wine bottles , beer bottles and other household bottles before the invention of screw caps and Crown corks.

In its traditional form, a corkscrew simply consists of a pointed metallic helix often called the "worm" attached to a handle, which the user screws into the cork and pulls to extract it. Corkscrews are necessary because corks themselves, being small and smooth, are difficult to grip and remove, particularly when inserted fully into an inflexible glass bottle. More recent styles of corkscrew incorporate various systems of levers that further increase the amount of force that can be applied outwards upon the cork, making easier the extraction of difficult corks. Its design may have derived from the gun worm which was a device used by men to remove unspent charges from a musket 's barrel in a similar fashion, from at least the early s.

The corkscrew is possibly an English invention, due to the tradition of beer and cider, and Treatise on Cider by John Worlidge in describes "binning of tightly corked cider bottles on their sides", although the earliest reference to a corkscrew is, "steel worm used for the drawing of Corks out of Bottles" from In , the first corkscrew patent was granted to the Reverend Samuell Henshall, in England. The clergyman affixed a simple disk, now known as the Henshall Button, between the worm and the shank. The disk prevents the worm from going too deep into the cork, forces the cork to turn with the turning of the crosspiece, and thus breaks the adhesion between the cork and the neck of the bottle.

The disk is designed and manufactured slightly concave on the underside, which compresses the top of the cork and helps keep it from breaking apart.


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A person who collects corkscrews is a helixophile. In its traditional form, a corkscrew is simply a steel screw attached to a perpendicular handle, made of wood or some other material. The user grips the handle and screws the metal point into the cork , until the helix is firmly embedded, then a vertical pull on the corkscrew extracts the cork from the bottle.

A Toast to the Corkscrew

The handle of the corkscrew allows for a commanding grip to ease removal of the cork. First invented in [5] by the Italian Domenick Rosati [6] who emigrated to Chicago, Illinois to work as bartender before the prohibition. Such design was adapted by other brands as wine-market grown in popularity. The wing corkscrew, sometimes called cork-extactor, a butterfly corkscrew, owl corkscrew or angel corkscrew, has two levers, one on either side of the worm.


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  6. As the worm is twisted into the cork, the levers are raised. Pushing down the levers draws the cork from the bottle in one smooth motion. The most common design has a rack and pinion connecting the levers to the body.

    The head of the central shaft is frequently modified to form a bottle opener , increasing the utility of the device. Corkscrews of this design are particularly popular in household use.

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    A sommelier knife , waiter's friend or wine key is a corkscrew in a folding body similar to a pocket knife. An arm extends to brace against the lip of the bottle for leverage when removing the cork.

    Some sommelier knives have two steps on the lever, and often also a bottle opener. A small hinged knife blade is housed in the handle end to be used in cutting the foil wrapping the neck of many wine bottles. A corkscrew of this type can be used more quickly and with more "show" or panache than a wing-type corkscrew. The term "wine key" came into existence due to the German inventor's last name, Wienke, which is difficult for English speakers to pronounce.