The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Rat de cave
The Rat de Cave is a candle used to illuminate the stairs to the cellar as well as for lighting in the cellar itself. They can be traced back to the year 1000 when used by the monks of the Abbey of Cluny. A corkscrew like spiral holds the candle, the base catches the melting wax, and the rat tail is used to grip the holder.
In Rowland Strong's Sensations of Paris published by McBride, Nast & Company., New York in 1912, we find, "As he bottles at least three hogsheads a day, most of his waking life is spent in dark cellars lit only by a twisted taper, a rat de cave, or cellar-rat, as it is called."
Guild of Sommeliers Corkscrew
Have you seen this corkscrew before? Do you know when it was made? The answer was found in the November 1980 issue of the Winemaker from the United Kingdom:
Neue Herkules, Bacchus, etc.
In Mechanical Corkscrews, Ferd Peters writes that the "Neue Herkules" corkscrew with cork expeller is Usbeck's German Registered Design 1,246,839 of January 4, 1933. The "Bacchus" with cork expeller corkscrew is derived from that registration and adds a bottle cap remover to the barrel.
Three variations of Usbeck's Neue Herkules: yellow handle, red handle, and black handle. All of the handles are pinned from the end. They are marked NEUE HERKULES MIT KORK AUSSTOSSER D. R. G. M. GERMANY. When the barrel is lowered, it engages a pin on the shaft. I worm is then turned into the cork and extracted with a spring assist. By turning the handle counterclockwise, the barrel can be raised and the cork removed from the worm.
Markings on the Neue Herkules
Two unmarked examples of the Neue Hercules. One has the handle attached by driving a pin through the end of the handle. On the other one the pin is driven through the center of the handle.
The Bacchus with cap lifter cut into the barrel. It is marked BACCHUS MIT CAP LIFTER D.R.G.M. and BACCHUS MIT KAPSELHEBER D.R.G.M.
Markings on the Bacchus
Three unmarked Bacchus corkscrews. The green and blond handles are mounted with a pin in the middle. The dark brown handle has a pin driven through the end to secure it.
Two locking handle with rollover. Both of these have a Bacchus type barrel. The piece above the barrel is a casting unlike the Bacchus which is a stamping. The slots for the pin are present in the barrels and these were corkscrews were probably made with leftover parts by the manufacturer.
Three corkscrews with bell caps having cap lifters cut like the Bacchus. All three handles are mounted with a pin the center. The blond and red wood handle examples have a spring assist. The one on the right has a washer above the bell which is held in place by pinching the shank above it.
Three additional corkscrews with the Bacchus style cap lifter cut into the bell. All have spring assists. The red and blue handles are secured by driving the pins in from the end. The one in the center has the pin driven in the center.
Two German corkscrews with large (1 1/2" diameter) bell. The blond wood handle is secured by driving a pin through the end. This one has a spring assist. The one on the left has a washer above the bell secured by a crimp in the shank. The handle is secured by pin driven in the center.
Lamp Shade Pincers
We have added reader comments to the special December 16 BULLetin on the "RARE ANTIQUE TREEN CHAMPAGNE CORK EXTRACTOR/CORKSCREW."
Within twelve hours of publication of the BULLetin, the listing had an early close with no bids shown and with the original listing price of GBP 4.99. We assume all bids that had been placed were cancelled.
©2009 Don Bull, Editor