For as long as wine was stored in jugs and stoppered with oil cloth and bits of wood, there was no need for a specialized opener. But in the 17th century, as bottles sealed with cork became more common, corkscrews did too. Collectors say that very early versions of the tool were derived from military kits: Soldiers used screw-shaped “gun worms” to pull misfired musket balls from the barrels of their guns. They would drill into the lead and drag the ammunition up and out. The first corkscrews were small and portable, often nothing more than the worm (the screw itself) and a small ring for pulling with your finger. But in the 18th century, people came to understand the benefits of aging wine, and bottles were standardized in a long-necked cylindrical shape suitable for long-term storage. The new emphasis on shelf life necessitated a better cork — and thus a better corkscrew.