The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Number 482

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Mrs. Dugan's Discovery

From the August 1908 issue of Good Housekeeping "Mrs. Dugan's Discovery" by Ellis Parker Butler

Wan day whin Oi was afther rummagin' in me cellar, Oi found wan dozen champagne bottles goin' t' waste, an' 'twas a pity t' see thim go t' waste. Oi tuck a look at thim an' Oi seen they was all in good condition, excipt they was full av champagne-wather. Puttin' th' twilve bottles t' wan soide, Oi went inta th' back yar-r-d, where th' grapevine do be, an' from th' grapevine Oi tuck wan av thim long curly tendrils. A frind av mine so happened t' be th' prisidint av th' United States Steel company, an' Oi sint him th' long curly tendril from th' grapevine, an' Oi said, "Wud he mek me a duplicate av it in timpered steel?" Shure, he was glad t' accommydate me, because wance me old man was afther buyin' a share av steel stock from him whin no wan seemed t' want anny.

'Twas not six weeks whin Oi resayved back from th' prisidint av th' steel trust th' timpered steel imitation av th' curly tendril av th' grapevine.

Onta th' upper ind av this, an' crossways, 'twas no thrick at all t' fix a clothespin. Oi thin pressed th' sharp point av th' lower ind av th' steel tendril inta th' cork av wan of th' champagne bottles, an' twisted th' tendril around. Thin, by pullin' sharp upward on th' clothespin, an' at th' same time houldin' th' bottle toight betwane me knees -- which Oi had covered wid rosin to prevint th' bottle slippin' -- Oi drew out th' cork.

Oi laid th' cork t' wan soide an' emptied th' contints av th' bottle down th' drain, excipt wan small tumblerful, which Oi drank.

Oi thin removed th' cork from another bottle, an' emptied th' contints down th' drain, excipt a small tumblerful, which Oi also drank.

Oi thin removed th' cork from another bottle, an' emptied th' contints down th' drain, excipt a small tumblerful, which Oi drank.

Oi thin removed another bottle from th' cork an' emptied th' drain down th' contints, excipt a small tumblerful, which Oi drank.

Oi thin removed -- another drain from th' contints -- and -- and emptied th' small cork down th' tumblerful, excipt a bottle -- which Oi drank.

Oi thin bottled another small remove -- from th' tumbler -- excipt a small corkful -- which Oi drained -- an' contentsed th' drank down th' bottle.

Oi thin tankled a bump from 'nother dottle an' -- Oi mean Oi dunkled a tump from 'nother copple -- you see, me frind, Oi mean Oi drankled a kump -- Oi mean Oi cackled a -- Oi mean Oi conkled -- Oi -- Oi -- well, annyhow, Oi did it t' all thim twilve bottles.

Thim bottles was now all impty, an' Oi steadied th' house wid wan hand an' counted th' bottles wid th' other. There was twinty-siven left out av th' dozen! Thin Oi got me scrubbin' brush an' a pail av wather t' clane th' bottles, but t' me surprise Oi found Oi cu'd not git th' brush inta th' neck av th' bottles. Oi therefore turned th' twinty-siven bottles wrong side out, an' scrubbed thim well, an' turned thim roight side out agin.

Be this toime th' house was revolvin' rapid, an' Oi sot on th' floor an' counted th' bottles as they wint by. There was sixty-four av thim. Oi clumb t' th' kitchen table an' produced out av th' drawer th' can-opener, on th' hind legs av which was a glass cutter. Oi crept back carefully t' th' bottles, and seated mesilf in th' cinter av thim, and thim goin' round me continuous. By pritindin' indifference t' thim, an' springin' at thim whin they was off their gyuard, Oi was able t' catch thim wan at a toime. Whin Oi had thus caught a bottle Oi held it firmly down -- by lyin' on it -- an' wid th' glass cutter Oi cut off th' bottom an' th' neck av it. These Oi put t' wan soide, an' what remained av th' bottle made an excellent lamp chimney.

Whin Oi counted thim, Oi found Oi hed sivinty-two!

In 1916 Steve Porter adapted the story to his radio recording. Click here to listen.

Article courtesy of

Israeli Corkscrew Follow-up

Reader Helgir Solheim comments "There was definitely a connection between the Austrian producers/designer and the Israelis. A number of the known Austrians were of Jewish descent. Some of their employees emigrated to Israel before and after the World War II. Among them were some who started to produce souvenirs including designs in a number of the corkscrews we find from that early period.

Getting steel worms in that period was a problem because of import restrictions and government regulations that gave priority to the use of steel to what was considered as more 'urgent' or 'necessary' utensils. Hence we see all these corkscrews cast all in on piece in brass or bronze, a material that had less restrictions when used. The method was in addition cheaper but the corkscrew unfortunately inferior. The same can be said to apply for many of the former Communist countries who had similar regulations resulting in many of the corkscrews we find that are cast in one piece."

She Phone

Mobile Magazine had this report in September:

"Ask any woman what she would like to see in a cell phone and obviously the first and last request would be a condom dispenser. At least that's what Mia Kim from Popgadget came up with when she was asked by Marie Claire magazine to develop the ultimate cell phone for women. But wait, there's more than condoms in here!

Other funky functionality that you'll find in the iPhone-looking cell phone includes things like pill storage, a vibrator (yes, you read that correctly), a corkscrew, an atomizer for perfume, and a home pregnancy test. Nothing quite like being paranoid about having a bun in the oven than taking the pill, wrapping it in a rubber, getting yourself off with a shaking bunny, and then checking the results by peeing on your phone. Great idea Mia!

I'm thinking that Mia Kim is little out of touch with reality. Then again, I know nothing about women."

...and Dollymix published this review:

"Women! Can't live with 'em, can't batter them over the head and dump them in the nearest ditch...! Ho, isn't it hilarious that they all love pink, spend all day thinking about shoes and can't change a tyre to save their lives!!

Patronising? Embarrassing? Imagine if it was a fellow girl who was saying that. Well, actually, don't imagine. Just read the list of features that Marie Claire included on their alternative to the iPhone - the ShePhone: Vibrator. Condom dispenser. Xanax dispenser. Corkscrew. Pregnancy test. Yep, Marie Claire are going to have you peeing on your phone. I wonder what that does to the warranty?

Yes, I get it. It's a joke. They don't *really* think we will wee on our gadgets. But honestly, these features create an image of a women who spends equal parts of her day shagging, drinking and chilling on anti-anxiety drugs. Not cool. Especially when we're still trying to explain to manufacturers that we're going to need more than a splash of pink paint to create a gadget that appeals to women.

The one redeeming feature of the phone was the mace dispenser, although the effect was somewhat neutralised when it was combined with a perfume dispenser (in their own words "just be sure to pick the right setting!"). It's somewhat of a surprise that the phone was created by a fellow female gadget blogger, Mia Kim, from Popgadget. [Update: Mia has replied to this discussion on Wired, saying she had little to do with the final product, but is just happy that technology is being featured in women's magazines].

What would I have put in? A battery that lasts for weeks at a time. A GPS system that you can use to navigate, and can also pinpoint your position in an emergency. An indestructible casing for all the times I drop it. In fact, scratch that - indestructible and waterproof. A feature that alerts you when your friends are in the area. Hundreds of gigs of memory."

Xanax compartment? Not so much.

The Old Way vs The New Way

Part of a Crown Cork and Seal Company advertisement from the May 1898 issue of the Western Brewer (submitted by Mark Woodard).

Guess Who's Coming to Die?

Mark Woodard found this book by Patricia Sprinkle at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Here is Mark's review:

"Patricia Sprinkle's latest murder mystery, Guess Who's Coming to Die?, is set in the small Georgia town of Hopemore, where the members of the Magnolia Ladies' Investment Club have gathered for their monthly meeting. This meeting is a special occasion, as Wilma Kenan presents her cousin and outgoing club president Willena with a sterling-silver bar set, complete with a stainless steel corkscrew with a sterling silver handle and a monogrammed silver shot glass. When Willena leaves the room, Wilma confides to the other ladies that the bar set cost her $700. A few minutes later, we find Willena's deceased body sprawled on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. Her hand is clutching at the apparent murder weapon sticking from her neck - her own sterling handled corkscrew!

But whodunit, and why? (We can assume that the culprit is not a helixophile, as he or she would never leave a sterling handled corkscrew behind!) And Police Chief Muggins wonders, is the corkscrew in her neck the real murder weapon? Or is there more to the crime scene than meets the eye? In the pages of the book, the clues are uncovered and the truth is revealed.

Guess Who's Coming to Die? by Patricia Sprinkle is published by Signet and is available from a number of online booksellers (ISBN 0451220617)."

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©2007 Don Bull, Editor


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