KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuter) - A Malaysian has invented a " disposable circumcision device" resembling a corkscrew that is generating interest from foreign companies eager to market it abroad, the national Bernama news agency reported Tuesday. The "Tara Klamp," invented by Gurcharan Singh, would retail at $40 overseas. The device has garnered interest from companies in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, the news agency said. An aggressive campaign was under way to promote the invention, Gurcharan was quoted as saying before leaving for Switzerland to display the device at the International Inventors' Exhibition. Approved by Malaysia's religious authorities, the device comes in various sizes to fit different ages and can do a circumcision in minutes, Bernama said.
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BGI TANNING Partner in Progress
The BGI Tanning Company (Pty) Ltd is a newly registered Botswana company which commenced operations in January 1987 when it acquired the Wildlife Division of the long-established BGI Group. The employees of the Division were retained by the new company in order to maintain its top-quality production of leather, hides, skins and game, trophies, synonymous with BGI's 20 years' experience in the wildlife industry. BGI Tanning utilizes all parts of wildlife specimens, obtained through official culling programmes and properly licensed and legal hunting, such as zebra, springbok, impala and jackal. The company produces mounted heads, full mounts, mounted skulls and horns, as well as leather and ivory carvings for international export. Investigations are currently taking place into the possibility of manufacturing feather dusters from ostrich feathers. The company also specializes in the carving of small ivory tusks of between 1 kg and 2,5 kg as well as warthog and hippo tusks. These are made into corkscrews, letter-openers, bottle-openers and knives which are sold to visiting tourists and also exported throughout the world.
Botswana craftsmen working at BGI Tanning have achieved wide recognition for their ability to achieve realism with the various head mounts, as well as a world-wide reputation for the quality of their taxidermy work. Taxidermy is undertaken for hunters and collectors and examples of BGI Tanning work are also found in natural history museums and collections throughout the world. Since starting operations, BGI Tanning has made considerable progress in the manufacturing and finishing of ostrich skin into fine leather for upmarket goods, and the company plans to make similar advances with finishing of other types of exotic leather.
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Bob Garfield travels to Vienna in search of the world's biggest corkscrew.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host: Ever since he saw the enigmatic British thriller, The Third Man, roving correspondent Bob Garfield has been intrigued by post-war Austria. His one regret, in fact, is not being able to visit there in the late '40s, to witness first-hand the dark textures, the raw human experience of the Vienna underworld. He wasn't born then, so he had to wait to fulfill his curiosity about the city. He set out on a quest for a piece of Vienna and found the world's largest corkscrew.
BOB GARFIELD, Reporter: What makes a fellow cross an ocean looking for the world's largest corkscrew? Who knows? But I was in town on a speaking engagement. [Sounds in background of theme music from `The Third Man']
[1st actor in film clip]: If you'd agree to be our guest, we'd be delighted to have you. [2nd actor in film clip]: If I do this lecture business, you'll put me up here awhile? [1st actor]: Certainly. [2nd actor]: It's a deal.
GARFIELD: And I'd heard that the corkscrew was here. It was just a rumor, sure, but there was something funny about people's reaction. I checked the cafe. I checked all around the Ringstrasse [sp]. I even went to Schoenbrun [sp], a summer palace, and stopped at the information booth. [Speaking to information booth clerk]: Ah, yes, I'm looking for the world's largest corkscrew.
INFORMATION BOOTH CLERK: Sir, I have no idea where you can find that.
GARFIELD: It's in Vienna. I know it's in Vienna.
INFORMATION BOOTH CLERK: I don't know where. I don't know it. I have- I didn't hear about it. But I really would like to hear where it is. I wasn't asked this before.
GARFIELD: A few weeks later, Schoenbrun burned nearly to the ground. But at the time, all I knew was that something didn't add up. I asked a second man. I asked a third man. [Speaking to second man] Corkensier [sp]? 2nd MAN: Corkensier? No, sorry, I can't- can't tell you. 3rd MAN: I'm afraid I can't help you- except with advice, of course. Advice. [Sounds of priest talking]
GARFIELD: Someone advised me to check around St. Stephen's Cathedral- nothing. [Sounds of cello music] Outside, in St. Stephen's Platz [sp], I found a fellow playing a cello. [Speaking to cello player] That's very nice. But, if you were looking for the world's largest corkscrew - corkensier, yeah, [unintelligible]- corkensier - where would you go to find out?
CELLO PLAYER: [laughs] I don't know. [Sounds of theme from `The Third Man']
GARFIELD: I despaired of ever finding the corkensier. Then I saw a woman- a very attractive, knowing-looking woman. I tried to be matter-of-fact. [Speaking to woman] Can you tell me where to find the world's largest corkscrew?
VIENNESE WOMAN: The world's largest? I know the largest collection, here in Vienna.
GARFIELD: The largest collection? Where would that be?
VIENNESE WOMAN: It's in Groensieg [sp]- Groensieg, which is a- a zone where you can find all the [unintelligible] locality, the wine taverns. [Sounds of squealing tires]
GARFIELD: I grabbed a cab for Groensieg. Of course- the wine district. Maybe, just maybe, the largest corkscrew collection would lead me to my prize. [Sounds of tires squealing, car engine roaring, car screeching to stop, car door opening] At a joint called the Hoyoga Wineprecht [sp], I finally found what the woman had been talking about. [Speaking to clerk] Can you tell me, what have we here?
CLERK: We have [speaking in Austrian].
GARFIELD: Three thousand corkscrews?
CLERK: Yes, corkscrews. [Film clip]: Quite a collection of- collection.
GARFIELD: I've been told that somewhere in Groensieg is the world' s largest - Groenstasse [sp] - where is that? It's here? You have it here? [Sounds of running footsteps] Mein Gott, I've found it. It's here. [laughs] This is a substantial corkscrew. This corkscrew is as tall as I am and wider. What is this from? [1st actor in film clip]: I want to find out all I can. [2nd actor in film clip]: Find out-? [1st actor]: Yeah, the details. [2nd actor]: I can tell you very little. [Sounds of woman speaking Austrian] [Sounds of theme music from `The Third Man']
GARFIELD: Here I was, face-to-face with a six-foot, two-inch corkscrew, and the proprietor can't tell me a single thing about it- not its origin, not its age, not its function. I guess this'll have to wait 'til my next visit to Vienna. And I know just what I'll be looking for. Somewhere in this city, I'm sure, is one very, very, very big bottle of wine. I'm Bob Garfield.
[The preceding text has been professionally transcribed. However, in order to meet rigid distribution and transmission deadlines, it has not been proofread against audio tape and cannot, for that reason, be guaranteed as to the accuracy of speakers' words or spelling.]
Copyright 1994 National Public Radio. All Rights Reserved. Bob Garfield travels to Vienna in search of the world's biggest corkscrew. The...., All Things Considered (NPR),
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Many, Many Corkscrews, Not a Drop to Drink By BENJAMIN
EPSTEIN, Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who contributes frequently to
The Times Orange County Edition.
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 19, 1994 Orange County Edition OC Live!, Page 7
Sotheby's in New York has re-released its coffee-table book, "Collectible Corkscrews." The edition, however, mentions no Orange County collectors, and inquiries among some of the county's most knowledgeable wine aficionados also failed to turn up a single local collector. While some may nevertheless exist, we had to take a hop over the county line to find an expert.
"Some collectors get involved because of wine," said Pasadena's Michael Sharp, who is fascinated by the devices. "I'm not a big wine drinker. I like mechanical things. Corkscrews with cranks interest me. I also favor ones with a documented history, where you know the manufacturer or patent, the dream and the scheme. "Man's ingenuity when it comes to making a better mousetrap can't be better illustrated than with corkscrews. We have the small task in front of us of extracting a cork from a bottle, yet there are . . . thousands of variations of going about that." Sharp is intimately familiar with several thousand variations. "I personally own 3,500," he said, "and I don't have the definitive collection." Invented in the late 17th Century, corkscrews use levers, screws and gears to accomplish their task. They often come in combination with implements such as a knife or screwdriver. Collectors often make decisions on the basis of distinctive shape, material or decorations.
Brother Timothy Diener's collection of corkscrews, long associated with the Christian Brothers winery in the Napa Valley, remains the most famous. In an article he wrote on the field, he tells of finding a one-of-a-kind corkscrew with a handle of wart hog tusk, its end tipped with a silver cigar cutter, in a California shop--for $10.
"We do get lucky now and then," said Donald Bull of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts. "I bought a corkscrew for $4 at a consignment shop that recently sold for $2,000." Resale can go even higher, according to Sharp: "It wouldn't surprise me to see a corkscrew selling for $3,000 to $5,000. I've not paid that, but I've seen it offered." Bull is the current "Right" of the ICCA; there is no president, the group's slogan being, "We'd rather be right than president." Diener was the ICCA's first Right; when he left office, he became Just Right. ICCA membership is limited to 50, and the organization requires photographs of applicants' best six corkscrews, information about the collection and biographical data for consideration.
Despite its name, the Canadian Corkscrew Collectors Club boasts a worldwide membership, mostly from the United States, and interest in the field is sufficient to qualify applicants. "The very first thing a corkscrew aficionado should do is join the CCCC," Bull recommended, "then hope to get in the ICCA when one of us dies or resigns." Sharp's oldest corkscrew dates from 1780, and is part of a set manufactured in England that comes with a little funnel and spoon. He nevertheless considers his own "best six" to be of more recent vintage and greater proximity, manufactured in California in the late 1800s. "Will & Fink were famous for manufacturing card-cheating devices and knives after the Gold Rush," he said. "The corkscrews look fairly plain, but they survived. I turned up the sixth one recently at a flea market. It was dirty and rusty. I paid little or nothing for it. I cleaned it up and it said 'Will & Fink.' " Though flea markets, swap meets and antique shows are excellent sources, corkscrews don't have to be old to be a valuable collectible. "I buy new ones, too," Sharp said. "If I don't have it, I want it. Even the new ones I have, most are no longer being produced. So the one that I buy today, that won't be on the market a year from now, is for sure going to be interesting to someone 50 years from now."
To apply for membership in the CCCC, write Membership Chairman Milt Becker, P.O. Box 9863, Englewood, N.J., 07631; annual dues of $30 entitles members to receive "The Quarterly Worm." For membership in the ICCA, write to The Right, ICCA, 20 Fairway Drive, Stamford, Conn., 06903.
Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times, 1994.
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Alas! what pity 't is that regularity,
Like Isaac Shove's, is such a rarity!
But there are swilling wights in London town,
Termed jolly dogs, choice spirits, alias swine,
Who pour, in midnight revel, bumpers down,
Making their throats a thoroughfare for wine.
These spendthrifts, who life's pleasures thus run on,
Dozing with headaches till the afternoon,
Lose half men's regular estate of sun,
By borrowing too largely of the moon.
One of this kidney--Toby Tosspot hight--
Was coming from the Bedford late at night;
And being Bacchi plenus, full of wine,
Although he had a tolerable notion
Of aiming at progressive motion,
'T wasn't direct,--'t was serpentine.
He worked with sinuosities, along, Like Monsieur Corkscrew, working through a cork,
Not straight, like Corkscrew's proxy, stiff Don Prong,--a fork.
At length, with near four bottles in his pate,
He saw the moon shining on Shove's brass plate,
When reading, "Please to ring the bell,"
And being civil beyond measure,
"Ring it!" says Toby,--"very well;
I'll ring it with a deal of pleasure."
Toby, the kindest soul in all the town,
Gave it a jerk that almost jerked it down.
He waited full two minutes,--no one came;
He waited full two minutes more;
--and then Say's Toby,
"If he's deaf, I'm not to blame;
I'll pull it for the gentleman again."
But the first peal woke Isaac in a fright,
Who, quick as lightning, popping up his head,
Sat on his head's antipodes, in bed,
Pale as a parsnip,--bolt upright.
At length he wisely to himself doth say,
calming his fears,
-- "Tush! 't is some fool has rung and run away;"
When peal the second rattled in his ears.
Shove jumped into the middle of the floor;
And, trembling at each breath of air that stirred,
He groped down stairs, and opened the street door,
While Toby was performing peal the third.
Isaac eyed Toby, fearfully askant,
And saw he was a strapper, stout and tall;
Then put this question,
"Pray, sir, what d'ye want?" Says Toby,
"I want nothing sir. at all." "Want nothing! Sir, you've pulled my bell,
I vow, As if you'd jerk it off the wire."
Quoth Toby, gravely making' him a bow,
"I pulled it, sir, at your desire."
"At mine?" "Yes, yours; I hope I've done it well. High time for bed, sir;
I was hastening to it;
But if you write up, `Please to ring the bell,'
Common politeness makes me stop and do it." Copyright © 1995 Roth Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. The World' s Best Poetry on CD is a trademark of Roth Publishing Inc.
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Store for Left-Handers Fits Just Right by CHRISTINA V. GODBEY,
TIMES STAFF WRITER
Los Angeles Times
Sunday November 20, 1994 Home Edition Westside, Page 6
Brenda Greene is living her entrepreneurial dream as owner of Left Out, a Santa Monica store that markets gadgets specially made for left-handed people.
The small shop in Santa Monica Place carries such goods as reverse-spiral corkscrews, video-taped golf instruction for lefties and pens with ink that doesn't smear as left-handed writers move their hands across the page.
For the left-handed, such products can greatly simplify life, but finding the merchandise, Greene says, has not been easy. "Manufacturers don't want to spend any time producing these goods," the 35-year-old West Los Angeles resident said. "A lot of things can be made (for left-handed people) but companies see it as an obstacle and (believe) that there is not enough of a market." Yet, in the year her store has been in operation, Greene has managed to line up goods--and customers.
Some of her clientele consists of right-handers buying for left-handed friends. But mostly, she sells directly to left-handers like Elaine Walker of Mar Vista. Walker had long wanted to crochet, but the only instructional books she could find were for right-handers--until, that is, she entered Left-Out on a recent evening.
Customers can choose from more than 300 items, including calculators with hand grips on the right side, instructional tennis and golf videos featuring left-handed athletes and a corkscrew that must be turned counterclockwise. Prices range from 99 cents to $116--in most cases a bit higher than for similar goods for right-handers. A set of measuring cups that can be read when picked up with the left hand goes for $7.99 and a kitchen knife with a left-hander's handle sells for $6.25.
Greene says she became interested in the business several years ago when she visited a store for left-handers during a trip to her home state of Indiana. A left-hander herself, she had long resented having to write on right-handed school desks, twist her wrist to read measuring cups and turn her left-hand upside down to use right-handed scissors.
Her frustrations no doubt reflect those of left-handers in the population at large--about 9% of women and 13% of men. Though motivated to start her own store, Greene was low on entrepreneurial experience. "I knew absolutely nothing (about running a business)," she said. "I had worked at J.C. Penney in college and that was as close as I'd come to retail." She researched how to start a business and eventually found a Massachusetts distributor who specialized in left-handed goods. With the help of friends, Greene opened Left Out in a rented space last fall in the Glendale Galleria. When her lease expired in May, she moved to the Westside shopping mall. Greene considers herself equal parts entrepreneur and educator. Along with the left-handed spiral notebooks and measuring cups she also stocks instructional books and flyers. She likes to remind customers of famous lefties, who have included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander the Great, Queen Victoria, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, Joan of Arc, Bach and Harpo Marx. She'll do what it takes, she says, to help lefties overcome the centuries-old stigma that being left-handed is somehow sinister, the Latin word for left. "(I try) to reassure (the customers) that there is nothing wrong with being a lefty," she said. "I try to create a homey place. I want people to know that somebody out there cares and that they are special."
Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times, 1994. V., CHRISTINA, BUSINESS; Store for Left-Handers Fits Just Right; Home Edition., Los Angeles Times
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A hallmark of fighting on Okinawa was attacks on caves and fortified
positions that honeycombed the hills, escarpments and terraces. Americans
assaulted many of these positions using a method known as "blowtorch
(flammables) and corkscrew (explosives)." Some scenarios:
1. Support team uses automatic-weapons fire to suppress defenders, allowing flamethrower team to approach.
2. Flamethrower, supported by two riflemen, directs flame into cave, causing suffocation, burns.
3. Demolition man tosses in satchel charge of explosives, sometimes sealing cave.
4. Gasoline, grenade dropped down vent.
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A Knife Place to Visit Knife-making has been raised to an art in the
off-the-beaten-track town of Laguiole By COLMAN ANDREWS, Andrews is
executive editor of Saveur magazine.
Los Angeles Times Sunday March 19, 1995 Home Edition Travel, Page 10
LAGUIOLE, France--My Laguiole steak knives are among the most beautiful objects I own, sleek and elegant, perfectly balanced both visually and in heft. There are six of them and, being handmade, they betray minute differences from one to the next--but the basic form is the same: The blade, mirror-clear, extends just over four inches out from the handle of each one. On its business end, the blade curves gently to a sort of saber point; heading back toward its bolster, it swoops up a bit on top. Three shallow notches are cut into it just before it disappears into the miter that joins blade and handle together. The miter itself is brass, with a shape that suggests an army boot, its shaft swallowing the blade. The handle is pure white laminated wood, arching back into an elongated pistol grip, and is secured to the tang by three brass rivets. Set into the top of the miter is the small, hand-etched, stylized image of a bee. These steak knives bear about the same resemblance to the usual chophouse hacking tool that a Baccarat goblet bears to a souvenir shop coffee mug.
Laguiole (pronounced lie-OLE) is a town of about 1,300 inhabitants in the mountains of south-central France, about 100 miles south of Clermont-Ferrand and 340 miles south of Paris. It is the capital of the Aubrac region, part of the departement of the Aveyron, and a site famed throughout France for its cattle (a sturdy breed, itself called the Aubrac), its cheese, its sausages (one charcuterie in town , Maison Conquet, has been called the best in France by the prestigious Gault-Millau magazine) and its cutlery--in approximately reverse order. Laguiole is a pleasant town, its small center composed mostly of gabled four-story buildings with sloping slate roofs and facades of brick or stucco. Its principal public monument is a hulking bronze statue of an Aubrac bull in the center of the large civic parking lot called the Place du Foirail. Knife shops surround this square and line the main street. Some sell Laguiole knives exclusively; others offer everything from Swiss Army knives to the kind of kitchen gadgets you might find at Williams-Sonoma, or even at Pic N' Save.
Nobody comes to Laguiole for Swiss Army knives or melon-ballers, though. It's a hard place to get to, not on the way to or from anything much. You don't visit Laguiole by accident, in other words. You come, almost certainly, for one of two things (if not both): to dine at the renowned Michel Bras restaurant, awarded two stars in the Guide Michelin and famous for its use of unusual mountain herbs, or to buy Laguiole knives at their source. Though these knives are sold elsewhere in France, the biggest and best selection by far is here--and there are so many outlets that comparative shopping is easy. The Laguiole knife--or simply le Laguiole , as locals tend to call it--exists in numerous variations. Its blade may be made of either stainless or carbon steel. Its handle might be ivory, bone, horn, wood of various kinds, even Plexiglas or Bakelite or, increasingly, a U.S.-made composite called lamina wood. There are two basic designs: the steak knife (ranging in price from $60 to $450 for a set of six) or the original--a fold-up pocketknife, sometimes with an awl and / or a corkscrew included ($40-$300). But there are cheese knives, carving knives, bread knives and other variations available--even forks based on the steak knife design.
The direct ancestor of the modern-day Laguiole was designed in 1829 by Pierre-Jean Calmels, the son of a local innkeeper, who combined elements of local farmers' knives with features of a stocky clasp knife, or navaja , from Spanish Catalonia, apparently introduced to Laguiole either by young local peasants who worked in Catalonia in the winter or by Catalan mule-sellers who drove their beasts to market in the Aubrac.
The original Laguioles were hardly steak knives. Though handsome, they were slender, sometimes clumsy things, meant for farm work. The awl was added to some models in 1840 as a tool for cattle farmers. The corkscrew appeared in 1880, when the sale of bottled wine became popular in France. The bee on the back of the knife is a recent addition. It used to be a fly--apparently in reference to those that buzz around the Aubrac's famous cows--but, as one knife maker put it, a bee is "a nobler thing" (and, he might have added, a more commercially appealing one). By the mid-19th Century, Calmels and six other artisanal knife makers were producing Laguioles by hand in the town. But increasing industrial sophistication in rural France brought an influx of cheaper, machine-tooled knives from other regions, and Laguiole sales dropped. By the mid-20th Century, all local knife makers had disappeared, and le Laguiole was a thing of the past.
In the 1970s, however, as the French began to rediscover the foods and other products of the real French countryside, it occurred to the elders of the Aubrac that perhaps their once-famous industry could be revived. Panels and associations were formed and in 1985, the town's first new knife-making atelier opened. Today, there are said to be as many as 90 ateliers and shops assembling and selling Laguioles in the region, and the knives are sold all over the town and in nearby places in amazing variety. There's even an Academie du Couteau de Laguiole, based in Paris, which disseminates information about the knives, lobbies to uphold their quality and image and offers members specially designed examples. (The Academie's president, Jacques Dereux, displays a fine selection of Laguioles at his Parisian boutique, Tant Qu'il y Aura des Hommes.)
Modern Laguioles aren't always what they seem, however. Knife making may be thriving again in Laguiole, but only one atelier manufactures and assembles every part of the knives; the rest use blades and other components from Thiers, another knife-making town near Clermont-Ferrand, or even from as far away as Mauritius or Pakistan. The exception is Societe Laguiole, whose factory a few miles out of town is an incongruously contemporary building created by noted French designer Philippe Starck, with a huge metallic knife blade, 59 feet tall, protruding through the roof like an inverted rudder. Here, a superb collection of knives (including several updated models designed by Starck and others) is on display--while in individual workshops in the back, steel is forged, bees are etched and filed by hand, blades are polished in vats of water filled with one-inch ceramic rods that act as abrasives, handles are attached and so on.
At first, the Societe Laguiole building may seem like a gimmick--like one of those roadside hot-dog stands shaped like a wiener and bun. But it expresses a key point in the firm's philosophy: "We didn't want to be a sort of museum, just reproducing traditional models of the Laguiole knife," says Gerard Boissins, the Societe's director. "We wanted to make it live, to develop it and bring it into the next century." To this end, they asked Starck to design both the building and a Laguiole knife. "We wanted to put ourselves a bit outside the tradition in Laguiole, as a way of helping that tradition to live on."
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You've heard of General Wellington
Who won at Waterloo,
But there's a good old Irishman
I'll introduce to you
He comes from dear old Dublin
He's a man we all applaud
For he always finds a corkscrew
Far more hardy than a sword.
He's good old General Guinness
He's a soldier strong and stout
Found on every battlefront
He can't be done without
His noble name has worldwide fame
Preserved through hearty cheers
Hurrah for General Guinness
And the Dublin Boozileers!
This hale and hearty warrior
Is worshipped in the ranks,
For he does his task inside a cask
As well as in the tanks.
He's borne the brunt on every front,
North, South, East and West,
And he wears about ten thousand canteen
Medals on his chest.
He's good old General Guinness.
He's won the world's applause.
It was he who kept our spirits up
In the midst of all the wars.
Who was the first to flirt with
Mademoiselle from Armentiers?
Why good old General Guinness
Of the Dublin Boozileers.
All over bonny Scotland, too,
The General is seen.
They've given him the freedom
Of the town of Aberdeen.
From Inverness to Galloshiles,
They keep him warm at night
And they love to gather round him,
Auuuch! On every moonlit night.
He's good old General Guinness
He's as good as Scottish broth.
He's the one who turned the Firth of Forth
Into the Firth of Froth
All Scotsmen dance the highland fling
And shout when he appears
Hurrah for General Guinness
And the Dublin Boozileers!
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Visit The Virtual Corkscrew Museum