The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Number 478

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Gero Artmer

by Don Bull

Several years ago I corresponded with Gero Artmer who was very helpful in the research for my book Cork Ejectors: An Alternative to the Corkscrew. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to meet face to face. We continued our correspondence after the book was published and when the ICCA meeting was proposed for Austria and Hungary, I hoped that I would have the opportunity to meet Gero. And it happened! The first leg of the journey was Vienna, Gero's home city. He met Bonnie and I at the airport and delivered us to our hotel with an invitation to his home later in the afternoon for tea and cakes. We rested and then went to the Artmers' beautiful home. We met his lovely wife Betina and had a wonderful time getting acquainted with each other's lives.

Gero and Betina attended the evening Right's Reception and dinner and the next morning Gero made a presentation of his resurrected and refined products. His Cork-Up* will soon be produced with a bottle re-sealer. The combination of cork removal and resealing will be available in one neat little package. Gero also demonstrated his Mister Maximum* and told of his plans to refine and relaunch the product.

*The Cork-up story was featured in the September 11, 2003 issue and the Mister Maximum story appeared in the June 11, 2003 issue.

Mr. & Mrs Gero Artner - August 28, 2007

In 2004 Gero Artmer wrote the foreword to the book Cork Ejectors: An Alternative to the Corkscrew. The work was a re-awakening to him of an important period in his life. Gero wrote:

When I heard from Don Bull that he was working on a book on cork ejectors and he wanted to know something about my Mister Maximum product, I couldn't understand the interest. At first, I thought there could not possibly be anything so important to report about this product. But when I considered his inquiry further, I realized that this product accounted for eight years of my life, my energy, and my living.

Then I read Don's books, The Ultimate Corkscrew Book and Boxes Full of Corkscrews and I saw his passion for corkscrew knowledge. It is the story of corkscrews from the beginning. I knew this story would not be complete without reporting on the period of cork ejectors.

The thousands of corkscrew enthusiasts would certainly find the background and connections of cork ejectors of great interest. It was a time when all of those who were involved and inventing cork ejectors believed this: "Now I have got it - the ultimate cork remover!" The period starts in the 1950s when the first sensational cork removers with this new technique appeared on the market and all claimed to be successful around the world.

Cork Ejectors presents in a beautiful and well-detailed volume the efforts and the painstaking research of the inventor to come up with the very best product. They put their thoughts on paper, built prototypes, and were proud to present their ideas to the patent offices. Hoping to have come up with the best solution each, no doubt, thought "I have built the simplest, best cork remover in the world, working with the push of a button!" Their goals were a worldwide market where millions of wine bottles were opened every day. But, alas, no single product of the many produced, ever achieved total market domination. Perhaps an inventor will one day eye all of the cork removers in this book and, finally, come up with the ultimate machine.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the pre-publication draft of this book and I wish Don good luck and big success. And to all the readers, I wish them much fun while turning the leaves and discovering this world of cork ejectors.

Gero Artmer, Inventor Vienna, Austria

Viking Cruise Ships

Hagar the Horrible comic strip - September 10, 2007

A fleet of Viking Cruise Ships!

Historical Silver Boot

by Walter J. Mellors

I was lucky enough recently to find a silver boot figural sheath corkscrew just like the one shown on page 139 of Don Bull's Ultimate Corkscrew Book. Mine also had the left handed screw, but this one had that little extra.

On the underside of the heel there were the usual "STERLING" and the RBK trademark of R. Blackinton and Co, together with 738 (the pattern number) and the PAT.APD.FOR marking.

But, in addition, on the front of the boot was the dedication "J. G. Vincent Compliments of Governor Alvan T. Fuller"

I Googled for the names involved and discovered that Alvan Tufts Fuller was Governor of Massachusetts from 1924 to 1929. He was founder and owner of the Packard Motor Car Co. of Boston and also Chairman of the board of Cadillac-Oldsmobile Co.

Jesse G. Vincent was his Vice President of engineering at Packard who was famous for designing the V 12 Liberty engine used in World War 1. In 1922 and 1923 he won the Gold Cup for power boat racing with a Packard Chriscraft powered by the Packard engine that he designed. Does anyone know whether he was left handed?

The Coat of Arms of Massachusetts are applied on the back of the boot. These show a native American, generally assumed to be Squanto, who assisted the pilgrims after they arrived in 1620. A banner carries the motto Ense placidam sub libertate quietem which translates as "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty".

The whole forms an interesting record of a part of American history and of the history of the Packard motor car!

Another Tire-Bouchon

Reader Godefroy Perot Dinant from Belgium writes "I travelled last week in France and I saw this restaurant in Montigny Bar Restaurant Tire-Bouchon Route Aix 18250 MONTIGNY Cher (France) 02 48 69 57 67 We didn't visit because of a rendezvous."

Editor's Note: For more "corkscrew" restaurants see the July 2, 2006 issue.

More on Potatoes

Our August 19 and September 9 issues featured some corkscrews combined with potato implements. Above is another potato peeler. This is Edward Arbansin's U. S. Patent No. 1,164,776 of December 21, 1915 for a "Can Opener". His combination tool includes a bottle cap remover, a nail or tack extractor, a can opener, a corkscrew, a Screw driver, and a cutting blade (15) "to be used in the capacity of a potato or fruit peeler." He fits a block of iron (20) into the handle so the tool can be used as a hammer.

In Arbanasin's second "Can Opener" patent No. 24 is a cutting plate "especially adapted for use as a potato or fruit peeler." The second invention is mainly several improvements to the first invention including stop knobs to prevent the corkscrew and screw driver from opening when using the implement as a hammer. U. S. Patent No. 1,199,650 was granted on September 26, 1916.

Six decades after Arbanasin, Joseph Cantales came up with another "Combination Can-Opener Tool" incorporating a potato peeler (10), a corkscrew and other tools. Cantales claims the prior art including Arbansin's patents for this type of tool were too costly produce in an expeditious manner. He was granted U. S. Patent No. 3,909,860 on October 7, 1975.

Editor's note: If you have examples of any of these patents or any of the other "food tool" patents shown in the August and September issues, please send photos..

News Index

©2007 Don Bull, Editor


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