Corkscrews have been around since corks became popular for stopping the ends of wine bottles in the mid 1600s. The first patented design happened in England in the late 1700s. The most basic design is a metal helix attached to a wooden handle. That design was likely around well before the first patent was in place. However, over the past few hundred years, several innovations have made extracting corks easier and more efficient. You can find these innovations in a number of modern designs. Many wine lovers have openers in their collection of wine accessories.
One of the most popular corkscrews is the waiter’s or the sommelier knife. This type of opener involves the traditional worm design attached to a lever. One end of the lever sits on the lip of the bottle. The other end allows the waiter or sommelier to pull the cork out of the bottle. The simple design allows just about anyone to extract a cork with minimal effort. The first design for this came out in 1882 and quickly gained popularity in Europe and America. There have been minor modifications made in the design since then, but the basic concept still stands.
Other popular designs in corkscrews are the wing or t-types. The basic concepts of the wing devices are that as the worm goes into the cork, two wings gradually come up on the sides. Once the person gets the worm in place, they use the wings as levers to pull the cork out of the neck of the bottle. The T-type design uses the basic design of early designs. It has a basic concept that works as well today as it did when it first came into use. Some of the t-type designs have their worm incased in a housing that can act as a stopper for closing the wine back up if it is not all consumed.
Designs for corkscrews took many turns over the past few hundred years. Some come with a hinge design that works much as the lever models do today. Another popular variation is the bullhorn designs that use curved arms instead of straight as in the traditional t-type design. Other designs include the bell design or the lever. Many people collect antique opener designs just for their visual appeal. They are perfect accessories for decorating a wine collection. Many of these designs still work quite well for opening bottles of wine.