A splendid (and giftable) visual guide to the beautifully convoluted world of corkscrews
Ever since the standardized wine bottle came into use in the eighteenth century, thirsty people have sought a convenient means of removing its cork stopper. At first they employed whatever was at hand―including the helical gun screws used to clean out firearms―but the patent corkscrew emerged by 1795 and soon multiplied into more permutations than the proverbial better mousetrap.
In Uncorked, Marilynn Gelfman Karp uses her own collection of corkscrews―carefully chosen both for their inventiveness and for their decorative qualities―to trace the history and evolution of this curious tool. She establishes a taxonomy of the corkscrew, based on the fundamental characteristics of handle, shaft, and screw, and then presents more than 650 individual specimens by category. They range from the simplest “basic T” models to the most whimsical flights of fancy (a folding pair of legs, a seahorse) and the most elaborate mechanical contrivances. Each example is illustrated with superb color photography and fully described.
Uncorked is at once a serious contribution to the history of material culture, and a delight to page through. It will be an essential reference for helixophiles (as collectors of these gadgets are called) and an agreeable gift for any corkscrew-wielding wine lover.
The New York Times
"“Art professor, sculptor, and author Karp (In Flagrante Collecto, 2006) has accumulated literally hundreds of corkscrews both primitive and modern. with the imaginative technology and artistry that have gone into the manufacture of so basic a device. . . With meticulous descriptions of every corkscrew in the author’s collection and crisp photographs, this is a useful addition to any collection of books on antiques.”"
""Uncorked: A Corkscrew Collection, Marilynn Karp’s stunningly photographed collection of more than 650 corkscrews, is a museum-like tour from clunky, cast steel bar top contraptions to ornate silver and ivory screw pulls to a four-part novelty corkscrew depicting the corpse of Prohibition. . . ""
"Philip Palmedo effortlessly moves between the worlds of art and science showing that they have always been one. The crux of his wonderfully illustrated narrative is to bring into sharp relief their quest in common for patterns, beauty, simplicity, symmetry and, of course, aesthetics. This book is a must read."
—Arthur I. Miller, Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University College London, author of The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI-Powered Creativity