Ah-So Cork Remover???

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Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby TomHill » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:37 pm

Last week I just totally mangled my Ah-So of 35 yrs working over an Italian wine, so now am in the process of replacing it.
Curious...anyone know where the name came from??
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:40 pm

I seem to remember hearing it was based on people's reaction when they they were shown the technique ('"Ah-so that's how you do it!"). Might just be an urban myth though.
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Victorwine » Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:13 pm

Hi Tom,
This type of cork removal device is also known as the “Butler’s Friend”, because it allowed “cellar” staff or “downstairs” staff to remove corks, sip away, top up (With what? Who knows? Maybe this is where the Ah-So came from) and then replace the cork without a trace.

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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:25 pm

The Virtual Cork Museum or its Weekly Screw might have the answer, Tom: http://www.bullworks.net/virtual.htm

There's an interesting version called the Say Ah at http://www.bullworks.net/daily/03sep07.htm

I don't see the history of the Ah So in a quick search but Bull is very knowledgeable and answers eamils quickly.

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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Peter May » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:09 am

TomHill wrote: Curious...anyone know where the name came from??



I understand it is the brand name of the German company that marketed the two prong cork puller in the USA.

(The name 'ah-so' is totally unknown in the UK where this type of opener is known as the 'butler's friend')
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Neil Courtney » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:49 pm

Peter May wrote:
TomHill wrote: Curious...anyone know where the name came from??



I understand it is the brand name of the German company that marketed the two prong cork puller in the USA.

(The name 'ah-so' is totally unknown in the UK where this type of opener is known as the 'butler's friend')


Maybe that is because the idea of a butler is a particularly English institution?
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:21 pm

TomHill wrote:Last week I just totally mangled my Ah-So of 35 yrs working over an Italian wine, so now am in the process of replacing it.
Curious...anyone know where the name came from??
TomHill


Tom, as suggested by others, the German company Monopol that developed the opener gave it its name. See http://www.wineaccessory.com/monopol.htm for a brief history and a picture of the original.

Incidentally, this opener as Victor notes is also known as "The Butler's Friend", or, "The Dishonest Butler", because, it is said, a butler, so-inclined, could remove the cork without drilling a hole in it, drink a little wine, and replace the cork, undetected.

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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Ian Sutton » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:33 pm

Peter May wrote:(The name 'ah-so' is totally unknown in the UK )

Really Peter?
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Steve Slatcher » Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:26 pm

Peter May wrote:I understand it is the brand name of the German company that marketed the two prong cork puller in the USA.

The rest of the answer according to a few sources on the interweb is that Ah-So is a translation of the German name Ach So. It certainly sounds plausible, but can anyone confirm that?
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:38 pm

It appears that the Pronged Cork Extractor was first patented in the United States in 1879; Patent 212,863 granted March 4, 1879 and issued to L. C. Mumford of San Francisco for a "Cork Extractor.

The patent was later improved by US Patent 474,480 by Lucien C. Mumford, now of New York, and granted May 10, 1892. "This is an improvement on L.C. Mumford's Cork-Extractor patent 212,863, issued March 4, 1879. The improvement is in the internal ratcheting mechanism. The brass bell is usually marked "Magic Cork Extractor" with both patent dates."

"The Daily Screw" has a bit of drama about Mumford and his patent attorney who competed with him and photos at http://www.bullworks.net/virtual/prong/mumford.htm .

There's a photo at http://users.skynet.be/fa017402/www.cor ... lame3.html of the "Ah-ha" prong puller.

"Original prong puller manufactured by the firm “MONOPOL” and named “AH-ha”.
The two prongs are easily inserted by a backward and forward motion. It has the advantage of having two blades equal in size (very useful during the drawing operation)." There is a picture of the original box as well.

There's a dated picture of a box for the "So So" at http://www.muesch-online.com/drgm%20englisch.html

D.R.G.M. No. 1 242 981 Aug. 29, 1932

Georg Hermann Usbeck, Steinbach-Hallenberg i. Thür.

Description: Extractor with two prongs and sheath.

Material: Steel, Springsteel, Brass

Markings: D.R.G.M. "So-So" Made in Germany

And another picture on that page of the Ah - Ha:



D.R.G.M. No. 1 242 981 Aug. 29, 1932

Georg Hermann Usbeck, Steinbach-Hallenberg i. Thür.

Description: Extractor with two prongs and sheath.

Material: Steel, Springsteel, Brass

Markings: Ah-ha

There is a French version called the As As shown at http://corkscrew.de/Pronges/Prongs3.htm made by AS ATELIERS SAINT GERMAIN; no date given.

The earliest use of the Ah-So name I've found so far is 1977 in a book by James Beard: The Cooks' Catalogue: A Critical Selection of the Best, the Necessary and ... by James Beard - Kitchen utensils - 1977 - 570 pages Page 518
Don't despair—you can use our handy-dandy cork extractor (11.220). Be sure to
dry the dark-steel blades of the Ah So carefully before sheathing it in its ...

[Extract from Google Books.]

More anon, perhaps. Great subject, Tom. :)
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:39 am

Never got the hang of those things. Whenever I try using one, I end up pushing the cork all the way into the bottle. :(

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Well....

Postby TomHill » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:36 am

Paul Winalski wrote:Never got the hang of those things. Whenever I try using one, I end up pushing the cork all the way into the bottle. :(
-Paul W.


It's all in the wrist, Paul. Being an epee-guy helps to develop that special talent!! :-)

There are Ah-Sos and then there are Ah-Sos. My (now mangled) one had thin blades that helped get between the cork & the neck. Some of
the cheaper models have much thicker blades and are more prone to cork push-in. They can be a bit tricky to operate and as soon
as I see the the cork start to move inward, I stop the action.
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Re: Well....

Postby wrcstl » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:42 am

TomHill wrote:
Paul Winalski wrote:Never got the hang of those things. Whenever I try using one, I end up pushing the cork all the way into the bottle. :(
-Paul W.


It's all in the wrist, Paul. Being an epee-guy helps to develop that special talent!! :-)

There are Ah-Sos and then there are Ah-Sos. My (now mangled) one had thin blades that helped get between the cork & the neck. Some of
the cheaper models have much thicker blades and are more prone to cork push-in. They can be a bit tricky to operate and as soon
as I see the the cork start to move inward, I stop the action.
Tom


This used to be my "go to" opener and for two years was the only one I used. I can open bottles much faster with this cork screw than with others. The problem, and the reason I quite using it, was that after 25-50 bottles the prongs tend to curve out of shape and makes it harder to use. Even though it is inexpensive I got tired of replacing the oh so.
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:47 pm

It's worth mentioning that there are at least two hundred different types of this device recorded over the last 150 or so years. It pays to buy the expensive ones, based on the reviews I've seen. Unfortunately, Monopol -- the highest rated maker -- has recently gone out of business. Buy with care.

Here are a few of the many names the device has gone by over the years:

1878 -- B. Lew's Patent -- Benjamin Lew -- _________
1879, 1892, 1900 -- Magic Cork Extractor -- Mumford, US
1899 -- Converse Cork Extractor -- Converse, US
1903 -- MAUSSION -- G.L.Maussion --_________
1907 -- Dudly Tool -- Albert Dudly -- _____

1922 -- MARO D.R.P. -- G.Della Zuana (Milan) -- Italy
1932 -- So So -- D.R.G.M. -- Germany
1934 -- Le Tire-S.E.E.C. 3 Usages -- Serre
1934 -- THE IDEAL CORKDRAWER -- Arthur Crd. Brewster -- _______
1939/1942 -- MARO -- D.R.G.M. -- Fritz Müchler -- _______

1948/1949 -- Ideal and Ah-Ha -- Monopol -- Germany [Paul and Helmut Vitz]
ca. 1950 SANBRI -- Henri Tabard -- _______ -- Arthur Crd. Brewster -- _______
1989 -- Tongues -- Wolfgang Tischler -- ________

____ -- PAM __________ -- BILAME C.I.A.P. -- __________
____ -- Monopol Ah-ha -- D.R.G.M. -- Usbeck -- Germany
____ -- As As -- AS Ateliers Saint Germain -- France
____ San Bri -- _______ -- France
____ -- Korkex-Korkzicher -- DRGM -- Germany

____ -- Ideal -- Monopol -- Germany
____ -- Heiko -- ______ -- _______
____ -- L'Altero ______ -- ________
____ -- Tiro -- ______ -- ________
____ -- INGO -- _____ -- Germany

____ -- AH SO -- Monopol -- Germany
____ -- STAPI -- Brevetto Mondiale -- Italy
____ -- Quick and Easy -- Vaughan`s in Chigago -- _______
____ -- LE PRATIQUE -- "AS" ATELIER SAINT GERMAIN -- France
____ -- WIGGLE `N TWIST -- Heibo Products, London -- England
____ -- TETE DE DELIERS -- __________ -- France
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Re: Ah-So Cork Remover???

Postby Victorwine » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:57 pm

Great job Bob! Thanks.

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