Q:

How does a corkscrew work?

A:

A corkscrew works by boring into the cork in a bottle of wine until the device is firmly attached, then allowing the user to apply force to extract the cork. Simple corkscrews just have an enlarged handle for applying leverage, while more advanced models may use levers or even motorized assistance to help with the extraction.

The earliest corkscrews were probably adaptations of a worm tool used to extract unfired charges from muskets in the 17th century. The first patent for a corkscrew used to open beverages dates back to 1795. The wing corkscrew was invented in 1939; it uses a pair of ratcheting levers to extract the cork once the screw is engaged. As the user inserts the screw into the cork, the gears in the device raise two long levers on either side. Pressing down these levers withdraws the screw in one fluid motion, reducing the amount of force necessary to extract the cork.

Another type of corkscrew is the cork puller, designed to remove corks without damaging them. These devices have a pair of thin prongs that the user inserts between the cork and bottle neck. Once it is inserted, the user simply twists the device to turn the cork and pull it from the neck. The cork can then be replaced by reversing the procedure, placing the cork in the puller and slowly working it back into the neck of the bottle.


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