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Fact No 1

Its Latin name Quercus suber L. cork oak received in 1734 from Swedish botanist-naturalist Karl Linnaeus.

Quercus suber L. – this is the scientific name of the cork oak tree, which is widely distributed in North Africa: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and in Europe: Corsica, France, Italy, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain. The Swedish naturalist and botanist Carl Linnaeus gave a name to this evergreen inhabitant of the Mediterranean.

For its Latin name, this remarkable representative of the beech family is obliged to Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) – a Swedish naturalist, botanist and doctor. Carl Linnaeus (Swedish. Carl Linnaeus) became the founder of modern biological taxonomy, which has built the most successful artificial classification of plants and animals.

He described about 1500 species of plants.
Linnaeus had a passion for plants since childhood. Linnaeus’ father – Niels Linneus was a rural pastor and florist. The garden, organized by his father near the family home in Stenbrokholt, according to Linnaeus “ignited his mind with an unquenchable love to plants. “Linnaeus considered himself as the selected one, called to interpret the plan of the Creator.

The result of this passion was one of his most important works – “Systema naturae ” (“The System of Nature”, 1735). It was a collection of realms of minerals, plants and animals, structured in tables that occupied only 14 pages. Linnaeus distributed the plants to 24 classes, based on the classification of the number, size and location of stamens and pistils.

The new system, created by Linnaeus, proved to be very practical and allowed to define plants even for amateurs, because Linney ordered the terms of descriptive morphology and introduced binary (binominal) nomenclature for simplifying the search and identification of both plants and animals. Later, Karl Linney supplemented his work, and the last lifetime (12th) edition consisted of 4 books and 2335 pages.

The letter L. in the name of Quercus suber L. (oak cork) is the first letter of the surname of the founder of modern biological taxonomy.

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Fact No 2

The largest architectural model of the cork - the model of the Colosseum - was made in 1800 by the English artist Richard Duerg (1775-1819)

The size of the cork model of the ancient architectural structure is 43 cm in height, 136 cm in width and 169 cm in length.

This unusual model was part of a collection of cork models of historical buildings of antiquity made by Duburg and exhibited in London in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The exhibition was designed to educate and entertain a diverse audience.

Duburg also produced theatrical scenery, including special lighting to create drama and movement in his models of the Tiburtina sibyl temple, the Cascade in Tivoli and the eruption of the operating model of Vesuvius. 

Dyubur closed his museum and sold the models at auction in 1819. An unusually beautiful and very large model of the Amphitheater in Rome was also sold at auction in London in 1826.

The collection of architectural models was transferred to the Museum of Science in 1909, when he separated from the Victoria and Albert Museum. If earlier these models were used as teaching aids for students, at the end of the 19th century the interest to the architectural models began to decline and none of the new museums wanted to perform them on the exposition. Some of the models were transferred to regional museums, some were simply destroyed.

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Fact No 3

Cork for closing bottles has become familiar to us not so long ago. A corkscrew for its extraction was patented only in 1795.

It that year in August, when the first patent for the corkscrew invented by the Reverend Samuel Henschel (Samuell Henshall ) was issued. And the International Corpuscrew Corpcrew Addicts (ICCA) community perpetuated this event by installing a memorial plate in the Protestant church of Dow Church in London, where Samuel Henschel worked as a the rector.

“Henschel Button” – the so-called mean for removing the corks from bottles invented by the Protestant priest. It is a disk between the blade and the handle, which prevents the blade from going too deep into the cork, thereby allowing the bottle to be uncorked without too much effort.
It is noteworthy that before the corks appeared, the wine was served on a table in jars, into which it was poured directly from barrels. Later, when the wine began to be stored in bottles, and they were sealed with cork from the natural bark of cork oak with the light hand of the Benedictine monk Pierre Perignon , the cork was inserted in such a way that some of it would look outward – and you could grab it and pull it out.

The fact is that at first the cork was like a mushroom (like a modern cork for champagne). But the massive device from the bark of cork oak was too expensive. Therefore, for reasons of economy, the hat was “cut off” and there was only a leg left. And the last one had to be taken out of the bottle somehow, so they came up with a corkscrew. Let us repeat that it was only in 1795 when Rev. Samuel Henschel came up with the idea to patent this useful device. Since then, more then 350 different devices have been registered.

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Fact No 4

Cork was used to clog the wine back in the 1st century!

Wine and cork are two products that go hand in hand for a long time. The proof of this is the amphora of the 1st century BC, found in Ephesus: it was not only sealed with a cork, but still contained wine. Later, in the 1st century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder referred to the cork oak in his famous “Natural History”.

He explained that these trees were very popular in Greece and were considered as a symbol of freedom and honor, and for this reason only priests were allowed to cut them. In the same work, we can read that cork oaks were dedicated to the Olympus God – Jupiter. Their leaves and branches were used for wreaths that were awarded to the winners. In the Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed after the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano, wine amphoras, sealed with a cork were also found.

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Fact No 5

Have you heard of a seven-meter boat of 160,000 wine plugs?

Have you heard of the seven-meter boat of 160,000 wine corks? The vessel weighing 1600 kg was built by John Pollack, known among other things for the fact that 30 years he was picking up corks and was a speechwriter with US President Bill Clinton . Having swam on their wonder-boat 265 kilometers on the Portuguese Douro River, Pollack got the nickname “Captain cork”.

John, said to the reporters that he understood the “senselessness of the event he started”, but some of his nature “wants to continue playing kid’s games.”

In principle, such a boat is not an ordinary eccentricity: a cork has long been used in seaworthy business, because on the water it holds weight many times higher than its own, and almost does not absorb moisture. For the produce of life-saving craft it is generally indispensable.

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Fact No 6

Do you know that the first measures to protect the cork were taken in the XIV century?

The first measures to protect the cork were taken in the XIV century. The Ministry of Agriculture of Portugal controls the state of the cork forests. Thanks to a reasonable and careful attitude to its “cork pantry”, the country produces about 155,000 tons of high-quality crust per year and has more than 1,100 flours- producing cork-producing companies.

Portugal cares not only for its cork forests: recently the Portuguese lobby in UNESCO has achieved the adoption of laws to protect cork oak from illegal exploitation around the world, which established strict rules for thinning, cutting and harvesting bark.

Cork oaks can be found on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in Italy and in France. Rare strips of plantations can be found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily, Calabria, Algeria and Tunisia, mixed forests in Sardinia and Corsica.