Corkscrews in France

On September 24, 1997 Bonnie and I departed for France for the 24th annual meeting of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts (ICCA). We spent a week in hot, smog filled Paris before joining the group in Avignon on September 30. We did the usual Paris sites including the Louvre where we saw the 1770 Phillippe Mercier painting "Le Dégustateur" complete with corkscrew (see Watney & Babbidge Page 104). We also visited the wine museum at Dickens Square which has about 30 unimportant corkscrews. The only Paris corkscrew hunting we did was in a Kitchen shop and Souvenir shops. In Provence the temptations to buy new corkscrews won us over. Our visit to Yves Rousset-Rouard's Musée du Tire Bouchon in Mènerbes netted three. Don't miss that museum if you are in France! Here are the slim pickins' we brought home:

A new corkscrew purchased in Paris in a Kitchenware Shop for FF140 (US$24.77). An extremely well made (Made in Taiwan!) open frame corkscrew with teflon fine helix and spring assist on shaft in top of barrel. I was surprised by the quality and by the low price.
More new corkscrews. The Brabantia Screwpull knock-off was purchased in Avignon for FF59 (US$10.44). The waiter's friend is quality stainless corkscrew marked with advertising for the Musée du Tire Bouchon. It was purchased at the museum with the excellent prong puller made by L'esprit & Levin in France and the bottle / magnet at bottom center. The bottle has the label of Yves' winery "Domaine de la Citadelle." The other bottle magnet was purchased in Paris. The silver direct pull was a gift to all ICCA members and features a Cicada, a symbol of Provence, on the handle
In the ICCA auction, I battled for and won the brass cat with stand; the bow marked DRGM; the Columbus Waiter's Friend celebrating the 135th year (1948) of the Joh. Koch company in Westerstede, Germany; and the Muller 1896 Patent knives. The "Korkenzieher" is marked Ostfriesen which is an German area of people who are the butt of many jokes including the turnless corkscrew. I got that without a battle! I like corkscrews in original boxes or packaging - the ROWOCO pocket corkscrew was a nice addition to that part of my collection. The brass Pixie direct pull was a gift from friend and addict Jack Bandy.
Also won at auction were the silver plated keys from Bremen (left) and Petrus (right); and the open frame with signs of the Zodiac. The golf ball has a worm inside and is used to cap a bottle when the cork is extracted. On October 5, the group made a morning trip to the market at L'Isle sur la Sorgue where it seemed that one dealer had the market cornered and, therefore, our attention. I purchased the Eterno Double Lever from him. This is Ettore Cardini's 1945 Italian Patent. Unlike the one in my 1996 Best Six it has most of it's nickel plating and in addition to the ETERNO mark says BREV CARDINI OMEGNA.
When we were checking in at American Airlines in Paris to fly home, the attendant asked us if we had any electrical appliances in our luggage. Bonnie replied that she had a hair dryer. I replied to an incredulous attendant that I had an electric corkscrew. Disbelieving she said "Sure you do!" and gave us our boarding passes. At home I already had a 110 Volt version marked NORELCO (right). At the auction I completed my set by winning the 220 Volt version marked PHILIPS - and in the original box! These were made in 1976 and they do work.
Last year I managed to outbid Luterman for the Stopper Extractor described on webpage "An Unusual Find". This year Luterman gave up earlier on this more recent version which is marked CREDO. In addition to the stopper extractor, it has a cap lifter, corkscrew and P-38 type Can Opener. The waiter's friend below it and the can opener also carry the CREDO mark. The can opener with stopper extractor at bottom is marked SESAM.
After lunch in Avignon Joe and Monika Paradi, Howard Luterman, Ron MacLean and I went off on a quest for new interesting corkscrews in the shopping district. We came to a cutlery shop where Joe and Ron both bought knives with corkscrews on them. When I saw a Victorinox display on the store wall, I asked the shopkeeper for a price. He immediately responded that it was not for sale. After some reflection, he disappeared to the back room and returned with a similar somewhat dusty display board which was missing a scissor backspring and the knife scale. He sold it to my surprise and
The last corkscrew from the trip to France was made by ICCA member Jens Arnbjerg from Denmark. Jens is a veterinarian and the handle is from a part of a Great Dane. It makes the ladies blush (well - some of them, maybe).


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©1997 Donald A. Bull