LE CREUSET ENAMELED CAST IRON COOKWARE
In 1924, two Belgian industrialists, Armand Desaegher (a casting specialist) and Octave Aubecq (an enameling specialist), met at the Brussels Fair. They decided to create a foundry which would enamel various cookware items. In 1925, Le Creuset was born and setup business in Fresnoy le Grand in Northern France, approximately 120 miles northeast of Paris, set among rolling hills and arable landscapes. This move was a strategic one for the company, putting it at the crossroads of transportation routes for the raw materials of coke, iron, and sand. The same year, the first Cocotte (French Oven) was produced. This shape and indeed the name was the pivot of what is now an extensive range of cookware.
From 1935 to 1945, Le Creuset began to develop its product ranges: cookers, charcoal stoves, hot plates for electric cookers, and kitchen utensils… as well as a commercial strategy. A first publicity campaign on the radio and in the press was launched to promote the quality of enameled cast iron cookware. However, the onset of war brought troubled times, and the foundry was used by the Wehrmacht to make grenades.
A new start was seen from 1945 to 1955. After the 2nd World War, contrary to its competitors, Le Creuset concentrated on its range of enameled cast iron cookware and was a major innovator of the time with new and exciting styles and pieces. Originality was shown in the creation of various enamel colors. In 1952, export to other countries really began, 50% was destined for Europe and 50% for the United States. In 1974, Le Creuset took a further leap into the USA and setup a subsidiary, Le Creuset of America, Inc., in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Over the years, numerous innovations have been seen in product designs and colors. Today, Le Creuset is now sold in more than 60 countries around the world including the US, UK, Japan and Australia.
THE HISTORY OF THE SCREWPULL
The bark of the oak tree has always been a wine lover's friend and foe. No other material can seal off a fine vintage the way a cork can: it's tasteless, odorless and remains elastic, even over long periods of time. But corks can also be very tricky to remove, and have been since they were first used in wine bottles around the end of the 18th Century.
Before corks, there were casks. Wine was simply decanted from barrels and served in jugs. Later, when wine was stored in bottles, corks were used as stoppers, with part of the cork outside the bottle, so that it could be pulled by hand. But when vintners began pushing the cork into the neck of the bottle, a means of extraction was sought.
It was most probable an English gunsmith who, in around 1790, conceived the corkscrew, as we know it today. The first bottle-opening instrument was modeled after an iron device used to remove shot from muzzle-loading guns.
In 1795, the Reverend Samuel Henshall patented the first corkscrew in England. This invention gave birth to a host of corkscrew permutations over the next two centuries. Worms, awls, augers and lever arms have all come on the corkscrew scene. Fundamentally, however, the corkscrew has never changed.
Then, in 1979, Herbert Allen; a prolific inventor, invented Screwpull. Born in Texas, he made his mark (and fortune) inventing tools for the oil industry and parts for jet engines. In 1951 he traveled to Europe, where he tasted wine for the first time. One taste quickly turned into a passion and over the next 20 years, Herbert Allen assembled one of the best wine cellars in Texas.
His work on Screwpull began in 1975. The impetus for the invention came from his wife, who had a particularly frustrating experience opening a bottle of wine. After trying a number of corkscrews, all unsuccessfully, she gave up and presented her husband with the engineering challenge of a lifetime - to produce a corkscrew that would extract the cork effortlessly and perfectly every time.
The Screwpull Table Model was based on the simple premise that a cork could be removed from the bottle without force, injury or embarrassment, and was an instant hit. Here was a beautifully designed corkscrew that fitted over a bottle's neck. The Teflon coated screw was easily driven into and through the cork, thus ensuring the cork is removed intact without pulling.
Allen went on to develop the Screwpull Pocket Model, and then the Screwpull Lever Model. Perhaps, the only major innovation in corkscrews since that English gunsmith first turned his shot remover on a helpless cork.
Today the Screwpull brand name is recognized world wide, with products being sold in nearly every industrialised nation. Many new products have been developed since the introduction of the Table Model, all following the tradition of simplicity, style and performance, which is unequalled by any other company.