Corkscrew

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A simple corkscrew.
A 'waiters friend' or sommelier's knife.

A corkscrew is a tool which is used to open wine bottles. It is inserted into the cork and used to pull the cork out of the wine bottle. Corkscrews are needed because the cork cannot be gripped otherwise.

Basic wine tool[change | change source]

In 1732 an anonymous poem shows just how far a man was willing to go to open a bottle of wine:

Sir Roger set his teeth to work/ This way and that he ply'd/ And wrench'd in vain from side to side. Sir Roger then burned the cork from the top and pushed the remainder into the bottle—only to get his thumb stuck in the neck.[1]

With the popularity of wine today, a corkscrew is a common item in kitchens, pubs (bars) and restaurants. It takes between 50 and 100 pounds of force to remove a cork from a wine bottle.[2]

History[change | change source]

The basic design of a corkscrew is been based on a tool called a gun worm. This was used by a musketeer to remove an unfired bullet from a musket's barrel.[1] In the 1800s, many manufacturers that made gun worms also made corkscrews.[2] The first patented corkscrew in England was by Samuel Henshaw in 1795.[1] In 1883 a flat, lever-style corkscrew called the waiter's friend was invented in Germany by Karl Wienke. It is commonly used in restaurants today.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 George M. Taber, To Cork Or Not To Cork (New York: Scribner, 2009), p. 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 Karen MacNeil, The Wine Bible (New York: Workman Publishing, 2001), p. 90
  3. Ned Halley, The Wordsworth Dictionary of Drink: An A-Z of Alcoholic Beverages (Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 2005), p. 627

Other websites[change | change source]