Uncorked: A Corkscrew Collection (Hardcover)

Uncorked: A Corkscrew Collection Cover Image

Uncorked: A Corkscrew Collection (Hardcover)

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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.



Marilynn Gelfman Karp is professor emerita at New York University and a collector and historian of extraordinary objects. Her other publications include In Flagrante Collecto: Caught in the Act of Collecting.

Jeremy Franklin Brooke is professor of filmmaking at the New School, as well as the creator of the information management systems used in the preparation of Uncorked.
Product Details ISBN: 9780789213778
ISBN-10: 078921377X
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2020
Pages: 224
Language: English
Selected by The New York Times as one of “5 Books to Take a Deep Dive into Design”


This is the rare collecting book that is not just for collectors. It’s for anyone who loves wine and can appreciate the power of everyday objects. It’s simply one of the best general-interest wine books I’ve seen in decades.
— Wine Spectator

“Art professor, sculptor, and author Karp (In Flagrante Collecto, 2006) has accumulated literally hundreds of corkscrews both primitive and modern. This catalog of her collection will surprise and amaze 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.”

— Booklist

"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. . . Uncorked is an irresistible page turner for any lover of the grape."

— Matthew Sutherland - Foreword Reviews