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Since the XVIII century, craftsmen realized corkscrews associated with figural ornaments. The hardness of the metals made their work quite difficult and imprecise. Pocket and “T” corkscrews were the first to receive decorative designs.

During the XIX century, figural elements were more commonly used thanks to some softer metals as brass, bronze or silver. Soon, the handle disappears and is replaced by figural art. The functional aspect of the corkscrew is then often pushed into the background. It is moreover for that reason that collectors are less interested in figural models than mechanical ones, which were specially studied to ease the cork removal.

Some figural mechanical corkscrews can be found, but they are extremely rare. Until years 50, a multitude of items decorated with characters or animals were produced by the American, French, Italian, German, Scandinavian manufactures.

In the second half of the XIX century, the French produced erotic corkscrews, the German produced pocket models as the “ladies legs” made of celluloid, and more others…

Since the XX century, with the coming out of Art Deco and Art Nouveau, factories were exploiting ornaments up to a point that they were forgetting the most essential: the functionality of the object. Some worms without their shaft were even becoming a simple add to an ornament, resulting in a totally ineffective corkscrew. We can find, in large quantity, simple corkscrews decorated with animal motifs that were highly exploited in England.

Pewter was also used because of its softness. Scandinavian manufactures were the pioneers in this field (Viking ship, fish, cock …).

The United -States were not staying backwards with the period of prohibition imposed by senator Volstead. The Syracuse Ornamental realized lots of wooden models (Syroco Wood) (see picture).

In Italy, aluminum is used for the manufacture of double lever corkscrews produced in 1959 and designed by Carlo Gemelli (see picture).

Nowadays, manufactures are not neglecting the decorative aspect, but keep trying not to forget the real functionality of the corkscrew.

*Be aware of false or copies because some recent models are available on the market.


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