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Sunday, September 24, 2006

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Lucien Monod's Yaka

Oyonnax, Ain, France - The "Yaka" cork puller was invented by Lucien Monod in his Oyonnax workshop. Monod applied for a French patent ("demande de brevet d'invention") on October 4, 1976. The application number was 2,366,214 but no French patent was issued.

On November 14, 1977 he was granted Belgium Patent Number 857,096 and on February 29, 1980 Swiss Patent Number 615,890. It was not until May 21, 1986 that he secured an Italian Patent (Number 1,126,765).

The Yaka cork puller won a silver medal in Geneva in 1976, a silver medal in Paris in 1977, and the “Grand Prix” for inventors in Lyon (France) in 1977.

Monod says his "Yaka" is easy to use: Grasp the ergonomically designed handle and insert the blade between the bottle neck and the cork. Tap the handle lightly and slowly to move the hook below the cork. Twist one quarter of a turn and pull the cork out.

Why the name "Yaka": « Yaka » in French is the abbreviation of « Il n’y a qu’à… », which means “There is only to…”, ”just…” : “YAKA enfoncer, tourner, tirer“= “just push it in, turn it and pull it”

The cork puller is available from Jean Louis Decor. Direct inquires to Jean Louis offers this story on how he found the cork puller and Lucien Monod:

I collect corkscrews and I saw one I didn't have in the French book La Folie Des Tire-Bouchons by Frédérique Crestin-Billet. I wanted to get it and all what I knew was that this corkscrew has been made in Oyonnax (Ain) by “France Moules Production” (written on the corkscrew). I looked for it during almost 15 days. I called many people in Oyonnax. No positive answer. Most of them had neither heard of this corkscrew; one even told me that France Moules production was closed and his owner was dead ! And finally, I got somebody on the phone who just told me: “I know the man, he is one of my neighbors”. He gave me his phone number. I called and was very happy to have Lucien Monod himself on the phone. I asked him : “I would like to get one of the corkscrew you invented in 1976. Do you still have one at least?”. He answered : “One ? I have plenty of them and I do not know what to do with them”. Two days after, I met him in his workshop in Oyonnax. Since then, we became friends. That was in June 2006.

We asked Jean Louis for a little biographical information on Monod. He wrote:

Lucien Monod lives in Oyonnax (Ain, France). This small town close to Switzerland is known to be the “Plastic Valley” of Europe. Lucien Monod has been working for 40 years as a worker for the plastics industry before creating his own business in Oyonnax “France Moules Production”. He invented several items as “marque deposé” ; two of them have a patent : one for the Yaka and one for bigoudis (curlers).

About the Yaka, Lucien says : “I wanted to create a cork puller easy to use by a woman or a man, right or left handed. You want find the Yaka in any shop, even in Oyonnax. I commercialize myself the Yaka in France and Switzerland”. He sells it on shows , explaining the people how to use it. One day, on a salon in Switzerland, while he was doing his show in front of many people, somebody told him very rudely : “Your cork puller is like s**t !”. Lucien answered: “Let’s make a bet. I set two corks in the neck of this bottle, and if I can take them out with my Yaka, you buy from me ten Yakas. If not, I give the equivalent in money. OK?”. Lucien set the two corks; little by little with difficulty -it was so tight – he inserted the blade, then turned it to place the hook under the cork and pull up strongly. “I really didn't know if I could do it. It was difficult. But finally, two corks came out and so, I won the bet”.

Yaka colors: White marble, blue marble, white, orange transparent, and brown-grey wood.

Yaka Prototypes

Yaka sold for advertising purposes

Lucien's Workshop

Lucien & the Yaka

Lucien's Home Office

Lucien's Curler

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©2006 Don Bull, Editor


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