Facts and curiosities

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A World of Endless Surprises

Cork has stories to tell. In the world of 100% natural material there is trivia to unveil. Check it out here.

The number of corks produced annually throughout the world would be enough to complete 15 laps around the world.

One ton of cork planks can produce around 67,000 stoppers.

The cork stopper industry began to flourish in the North of Portugal in the 18th century, due to the port industry. Stoppers were cut by hand, and a man could make around three stoppers per minute.

The world’s largest and oldest cork oak is called Assobiador (whistler). This name is inspired on the sounds of the songbirds that land on its branches. This Cork oak was planted in 1783 and it is over 14 metres high and has a trunk perimeter of 4.15 metres.

In Ancient Greece, only priests were allowed to cut trees that were seen as a symbol of freedom and honour.

A natural cork stopper, considered together with all the cork oak forest that depends on it, retains 112 g of CO2 per unit.

At the NATO Summit in 2010, various personalities like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton received gifts of cork fashions and accessories. The President of the USA also received a collar for his Portuguese water dog, Bo.

In 1964, cork is successfully tested in NASA vehicles, at speeds of up to 17,900 feet per second.

Hollywood uses cork to simulate debris from explosions. Cork was used in the Ghostbusters and Mission Impossible movies.

In 2007, the Portuguese Post Office and Portuguese Parliament launched the first cork stamp, with a production run of 23,000 copies.

In 2011, the Assembly of the Republic declares the cork tree National Tree of Portugal.

Portuguese stoppers close the world’s most expensive whisky, Dalmore Trinitas 64 which costs 118,000 euros a bottle.

Cork was used 3000 BC by the Egyptians and Persians in applications other than stoppers, but it soon served to seal amphorae or other containers for wine.

Cork was one of the raw materials used in the ships that sailed to uncharted waters and it was used in military equipment of World War II.

The floor of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona is made of cork, to improve the acoustics and eliminate cold.

In the 17th century, Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk, chose cork to seal his famous champagne.

That which is believed to be the world’s oldest drinkable champagne is closed with a cork stopper. It was lost for over 200 years in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, before being discovered in the 21st century, perfectly conserved.

Portugal was a pioneer in environmental protection legislation for the cork oak forest, and it is currently the main legislator on this matter.

Following the invention of the optical microscope in 1660, English scientist Robert Hooke was the first person to observe the structure of cork, and invented the word “cell”, still used today.

One cubic centimetre of Cork can contain approximately 40 million cells. A cork stopper can contain approximately 800 million cells.

“Plant a cork oak for your grandchildren”. An old and wise saying that arose because it is necessary to wait more than 40 years for the cork oak to produce quality cork for the production of natural cork stoppers.

The production of cork does not destroy trees. After harvesting, the cork oak undergoes a process of self-regeneration not seen in any another species.

A plastic closure emits 10 times more CO2 than a cork stopper. .Aluminium cap closures emit 24 times more CO2 than a cork stopper.

Cork was the material used in one of the first versions of rescue buoys. Marine Spencer was a circle of oiled canvas with attached 800 stoppers by a strong cord. The first references to this buoy arise at the end of the 18th century.

Microwave radiation allow Cork to yield 40% to 80% more. Cork multiplies and does not lose any of its properties. The work was developed by the Instituto Superior de Agronomia university in Lisbon, and was a finalist for the Inventor of the Year Prize of the European Agency of Patents, in the Industry category, in 2013.

The artist Joana Vasconcelos incorporated cork in the transformation of the Trafaria Praia boat, presented at the Venice Biennale. The ferry boat was transfigured with identifying elements of Portuguese culture. Cork stood out as a decorative component and in terms of technical performance and aesthetic versatility.

The first bottle of Coca-Cola, between 1894 and 1899, was sealed with cork stoppers.


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