The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper

Saturday, June 28, 2003

News Index

Helixophiles Beware

In the October 8, 2002 issue of England's The Guardian, Jon Swain had a lesson in math for readers. He discusses measuring and closely examining a variety of household objects. When he comes to the corkscrew he says:

The corkscrew · Measure the length and weight. · Count the number of cogs/number of teeth at the end of each "arm". Spirals that have a constant radius (e.g. a spiral staircase) are called a helix, and so, therefore, the spiral of the corkscrew is not a helix. Pupils can be shown how to draw out spirals similar to that found in the corkscrew. One way to draw spiral curves is to use the points of a compass as a background. A spiral is created by measuring out from the centre 1mm on the first line (north), 2mm on the second line (north-east), 4mm on the third (east) and so on.

Read that sentence again, Helixophiles: "Spirals that have a constant radius (e.g. a spiral staircase) are called a helix, and so, therefore, the spiral of the corkscrew is not a helix."

With the stroke of pen, Jon Swain has away what many corkscrew collectors call themselves - Helixophile. And this is what Jon wants the children to learn?!

Corkscrew Ticker

Here's exactkt how the seller from Saskatchewan, Canada listed this corkscrew on June 17:

Up for bid is an old corkscew no way to know it's exact age. A crest on it's hood has lettering in english and a lion and a unicorn. There is printing on ribbon bottom of crest. so small i can't make it out. printing on top says self releasing slide. Bottom printing says patent. Wooden oak handle has differant knobs on each end one end is drilled out for a brush. This was a fairley stiff brush and was used for brushing top of bottles off. The hole is about 3/8" in deep 3/8"wide. It would be easy to glue in a chunk of paint brush in. Allso there is a small hole in the steal rod that holds handle on I believe this to hold a tassel. There is a spring inside the sliding tube I don't know it's function. Slide and hood made of yelow brass. Buyer pays fixed shippig $7.50 You can bid with confidance I am quite sure this is 100 years old. Maybe 2 [sic]

The auction closed on June 27 at $10,300.00

The corkscrew is an extremely rare example of Joseph Roper's February 1, 1865 British Provisional Patent Number 283. Roper describes the action of his corkscrew after the worm is inserted into the cork:

The cork is drawn by continuing to turn the screw in the same direction as that employed for inserting it into the cork, this action forcing the cork up the worm of the screw and out of the neck of the bottle.

The cork is removed by reversing the above action. The badge on Roper's corkscrew says "Self Releasing Slide Patent."

Letter to the Editor

The discussion of the past few days continues:

Can you open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew?

Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Even the most screwless of us can usually lay our hands on something that 'pushes'....whether it be a pointy stick, screw driver, ski pole, or even the barrel of a small bore gun. Just anything that is long enough and thin enough and rigid enough to shove a cork INTO the bottle. Of course, at times the helpful tap of a hammer or a stone or a log might also be required; and even a cast iron frying pan should have enough mass to drive the cork beneath the surface, so to speak.

With that done, the contents of the bottle can be easily got at...well, you may need a reed or a pencil to keep the cork from impeding the free outbound flow of the wine.

There is even a clever little engine on the market that is expressly designed to get at the wine in this 'wrong way'. It is equipped with a 'cork pusher' on one side of the 'T' handle, a 'pounding' surface on the other side and a 'cork elevator' at the intrusive end of this handy tool. It easily allows our screwless man, with only a sharp blow or two, to drive the cork right into the wine; then, with a 90 degree twist in direction, to hook the cork by its base and haul it to freedom.

The device patent information was shown in the April 12 edition of The Daily Screw.

Alf Erickson

News Index

©2003 Don Bull, Editor


The Virtual Corkscrew Museum