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The History of the Wine Bottle Corkscrew

Fri, Dec 02, 22  |  wine

History of Cork ScrewWe all are familiar with the wine bottle corkscrew.

Those funny-looking but handy metal tools that help us defeat the final barrier between us and a bottle of wine. The wine bottle corkscrew is designed to break the seal between the bottle and cork without damaging the glass bottle. That nifty invention had to go through a couple of years of engineering in order to become today’s current wine bottle corkscrew.

The English were the first to seal their wine bottles and make wine storage possible. Before glass blowing technology was perfected, wine was unable to safely age, so it had to be drunk as soon as possible. Wine bottle corkscrews were naturally invented around that same time in order to remove the cork seal.

The earliest reference to a corkscrew was in late 1681 and was described as a “steel worm used for the drawing of corks out of bottles.” Many things were stored in bottles at that time, so this particular device might not have specifically been a wine bottle corkscrew. The exact inventor of the corkscrew is unknown, but it is largely believed to have derived from a similar device that would remove bullets stuck in rifles. However, the first known patent on the corkscrew dates back to 1795 by a Samuel Henshall of England. That was only the beginning. His design was followed by countless more.

From to the mid-1900s, several different types of bottle corkscrews were patented in several countries in Europe and North America. Carl Wienke of Germany invented the single-level corkscrew, nicknamed “The Butler’s Friend,” and is one of the more well-known and still exists today. Other popular designs of the time include the British A1 Heeley Double Lever and the American patented “The Walker Bell.”  Edwin Walker’s design pushed down upon the bottle, which allowed the cork to lift out. This type of wine bottle corkscrew is still considered one of the best ways to remove older or more fragile corks. With all of these different designs and patents, it’s no wonder that we have a wide variety of different wine bottle corkscrews today.

Here at Julio’s Liquors, we have taken advantage of corked glass bottles that allow our wine the benefit of aging. And of course, we’re grateful to the wine bottle corkscrew for allowing corks to be removed easily. Interested in learning more about our Wine Department? Feel free to drop by and have a look and put your own wine bottle corkscrew to use.

Did you know that there was so much history behind wine bottle corkscrews? What was most interesting to you?