The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Getting the Cork Up
Vienna, Austria - On this date in 1965 the young inventor, Gero Artmer, applied for a patent for his "Gero" air pump cork ejector. He began production in 1966. In February of 1968 he was granted Austrian ,patent number 260,058.
The all-metal Gero is a rather ingenious design, which comes as a 5" x 7/8" cylinder. The needle stores in the end of the piston. Unscrew it, turn it around, thread it onto the piston, and it is ready for work. In a departure from the norm in air ejectors, the hole in the needle is drilled completely through near the tip allowing air to exit on both sides.
In a bit of tongue-in-cheek German advertising, the Gero was offered as "A versatile heavy duty machine with countless possibilities - removing pearls from oysters, repelling man-eating fish, spindling postage stamps, smuggling diamonds, eating pomegranates, and tattooing and finally, it can quickly, cleanly and easily open a 1922 bottle of Chatau d'Yquem Premier Grand Crus."
In England Artmer's product was sold as the "Cork-up deluxe - The Modern Cork-Screwer one posseses." Instructions caution the user to wrap a napkin around the bottle and never use it to open bottles containing spirits. By the 1970s sales had slowed and in 1971, production ended. During the five year period 195,000 pieces had been manufactured in eight colors.
Cork Up Resurrected
Wirtz, Virginia - Back in 2001, Gero Artmer supplied information for his "Gero" and his "Mister Maximum" for the book Cork Ejectors published on-line in The Virtual Corkscrew Museum. Subsequent to the publication of the book, Artmer was contacted by the Austrian firm Idee-Exclusiv.
Artmer wrote to us "An investor comes to me and wanted my cork-up. He said now the market for all accessories for wine is enormous and all are interested in exclusive new items, best quality they could find." After some discussion, they reached an agreement and Artmer was ready to jump back into production. He was willing to sacrifice some of his tennis and skiing time.
Months later The Corkup was resurrected. Artmer sent us some samples for testing. They are packaged under the name "Bottle Tool."
The timing for the re-introduction of the product couldn't be better. In Early 2002, the English production of the "Corkette" ceased. Corkette had been around since the 1960s and was marketed worldwide. Several competitive products were produced during the period and, perhaps, the closest to come to being a household word was the Swiss "Corky". The Corkette housing was plastic and the Swiss Corky is plastic. The Corkup is all metal construction.
We suspect Artmer is back to stay in the market for a long time. It is a finely crafted product and does its work effortlessly.
©2003 Don Bull, Editor