The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Monday, October 20, 2003
Germany - On this date in 1964 the Swiss inventor Franz Tschappu filed a German patent application for his air pump type cork ejector (Number 1,911,407). In his design, the needle is at a right angle to the pump, which has a reciprocating action. Tschappu's idea was that by placing the thumb over the needle end, cork ejection could be controlled.
The product is called "The Corky" and is one of the most well known Swiss cork ejectors and is sold throughout the world. Swiss Patent No. 403,526 was issued November 30, 1965.
In the December 29, 1991 issue of the Inquirer, Debra Nusbaum reviewed wine bottle openers in her article "Design, Twist and Shout." Commenting on the Corky, she said "About 12 years ago, a whole new model came along that said goodbye to screws and levers, pushing and pulling. The Corky looks as if it belongs in the dentist's office rather than your home bar, but for some it has removed the barrier to satisfaction. You drive the Corky pin through the center of the cork and into the bottle, then holding the bottle you pump several times. Air pressure will lift the cork. Your only real danger here is breaking the needle in the cork." Nusbaum's "about 12 years ago" pegged the Corky's birth at around 1979. In fact, it has been in production since 1964!
Today the Corky is still produced by Girtag AG (formerly Girsberger & Tschappu) in Glattbrugg, a suburb to the north of Zurich. Franz Tschappu is still in the business with his partner Otto Schwarz. Their Corky has been the most copied air cork ejector with knock-offs coming from China, Italy, and Japan under names including Cork Jet, Cork Lifter, Parkway Cork-Pump, and Robin Hood. When asked whether any legal action had been taken against the manufacturers of Cork Jet, Otto Schwarz replied, "because of extreme high costs and uncertain result, this copy of Corky was cheap-looking and manufactured with cheap material. No serious competition for our Corky and soon out of the market."
Most Corky's have a black body but handles can be found in black, chrome, or both. Needle covers can be found black, chrome, and white. The Corky was also produced with a red body and black handles
Wirtz, Virginia - We are pleased to announce that in late October we will be auctioning online a collector's collection of approximately 700 corkscrews. If you would like to be notified when the auction begins, please send your name and email address via email.
When the auction is ready, an announcement will appear in The Daily Screw.
©2003 Don Bull, Editor