History of the corkscrew

The tale of the corkscrew is a treasure trove of ingenuity. From its origins in the 17th century, the corkscrew has evolved, adapting to technical developments and the needs of oenophiles. As soon as wine began to be marketed in bottles, inventive minds perfected this vital tool, filing hundreds of patents for increasingly refined and functional corkscrews.

Since 1926, L’Atelier du Vin has continued this tradition of excellence, combining aesthetics and utility in the design of each of its unique corkscrews.

History of the corkscrew: its beginnings

The corkscrew – an indispensable tool for every wine lover – has a rich and varied history. Its evolution from rudimentary beginnings to the first patented models is based on human ingenuity and creativity in the face of numerous challenges posed by major developments in wine packaging.

The earliest types of corkscrews date back to antiquity where various rudimentary tools were used to extract corks, often with more force than finesse.

When glass bottles and corks were first introduced in the 17th century, it became apparent that a specific tool would be required, heralding the advent of the corkscrew for opening wine bottles.

The corkscrew as we know it today probably had its origins in tools used to remove projectiles that had become jammed in firearms. Initially, these corkscrews were rather rudimentary, consisting simply of a metal rod with a spiral tip.

However, in 1795, the Reverend Samuel Henshall marked a decisive turning point in corkscrew history by patenting the first improved corkscrew. His invention featured a disc or cupule fixed above the helix, or “worm” in corkscrew parlance, which allowed the cork to be compressed and rotated, facilitating its extraction.

Extract from the Crédot Catalogue, 1914

This innovation not only improved the tool’s efficiency, but also paved the way for further variations in corkscrew design, allowing the corkscrew to gradually establish itself as an inseparable part of wine culture and become a link between tradition and innovation.

The ingenuity of corkscrew mechanisms

The history of the corkscrew is notable for its constant innovation and ingenuity. Over the centuries, this everyday object has evolved, becoming ever more creative and sophisticated with its mechanisms.

The arrival of lever corkscrews in the 19th century marked a turning point in their ease of use. Based on the mechanical lever principle, these models considerably reduced the effort required to extract the cork. The Sommelier and the double-lever model, nicknamed the de Gaulle”,are perfect examples of this type of design.

New pocket tool, 1912

Lever corkscrew

Screw mechanisms were in turn progressively introduced. These transform rotational motion into vertical movement, offering even greater precision and efficiency. Herbert Allen’s 1979 U.S. patent for his endless screw system marked an important milestone in this category.

Patent no. 686.504 for “perfecting corkscrews”

Pocket corkscrews with folding worms appeared as early as the 18th century and embody convenience and portability.

Robust and discreet, the “Pocket Collector” corkscrew slips easily into a pocket or bag, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. With its clean lines and intelligent mechanism, it’s not only practical, it’s also an aesthetically pleasing and elegant accessory for collectors and wine enthusiasts.

Leboullanger Frères, in Paris

Finally, the bilame corkscrew, patented by American Lucian Mumford in 1879, extracts corks without piercing them, minimising the chance of cork falling into the wine. Entirely designed and manufactured in France, the bilame has been patented since 1949 by Sanbri®, owner of the protected L’Atelier du Vin ® brand.

Wine accessories – a constantly evolving market

Modern corkscrews are at the heart of today’s wine accessories market, with an appeal that’s driven by design and form as much as functionality, reflecting the varied and sophisticated world of wine.


The design of today’s corkscrews is the result of meticulous research that strives to combine aesthetics with practicality. More than just a simple utensil, these objects have become emblems of the art of living with wine.


L’Atelier du Vin places an emphasis on elegance and simplicity, creating corkscrews that are both high-performance tools and beautiful objets d’art.

Ergonomics is also crucial to modern corkscrew design. Designers strive to create products that adapt perfectly to the user’s hand, reducing the effort required to open bottles, while at the same time making the experience more pleasant and intuitive. This attention to user comfort reflects a deep understanding of the needs and desires of oenophiles.


In addition to corkscrews, other wine accessories have recently become more relevant and sophisticated. Preservation corks, for example, offer an innovative way to prolong the freshness and aromas of wine after opening. Aerators and pourers, meanwhile, enhance the tasting experience by oxygenating the wine and facilitating precise, elegant pouring.

Each of these accessories addresses a specific aspect of wine tasting, contributing to a richer, more complete appreciation of the nectar.


In short, today’s wine accessories – and corkscrews in particular – reflect refined craftsmanship and a passion for excellence. They are the expression of a wine culture that values aesthetic pleasure as much as the quality of the tasting experience, a culture that L’Atelier du Vin embodies and enriches through its creations.

How to choose the right corkscrew

Choosing the right corkscrew is like choosing a good wine: it requires attention to detail and knowledge. Every wine lover knows that the tasting experience begins long before the wine touches the lips. It begins with the act of opening the bottle, a ritual in itself, in which the corkscrew plays a crucial role. A quality corkscrew, adapted both to the type of cork and to personal use, guarantees not only easy, elegant opening, but also respect for the integrity of the wine.

© Architecture Intérieure du Vin | Miléna Latil

To find out more, take a look at our guide: How do you choose a corkscrew?


L’Atelier du Vin, with its expertise and dedication to the art of wine, offers a range of corkscrews designed to satisfy every need and preference. In this way, the choice of corkscrew becomes an integral part of the oenological experience, a link between the connoisseur and the wine. Ultimately, choosing the right corkscrew is about honouring wine and all it represents: a journey of flavourshistory and passion.


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