THE “NEW” STEEL WINE RACKS

Have you ever wondered where these came from?

People would remember the wood and steel strap racks that were imported and very expensive.

Well I am about to tell you a story that no doubt will cause comment and maybe disagreement.

Currently you will find these bottle racks across the nation in homes as well as many dining rooms, restaurants and liquor stores, as easy fitted relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Way back in 1962 I was watching a new concrete pad being laid and saw the mesh coming off the truck.  As such it happened to be standing upright as each layer was taken away, and there was the beginnings of the idea for the “new” bottle rack.

Sure the mesh size was too large, but that could easily be fixed in hand making up a prototype and here it is, with all its faults.  (See Photo 1)

The frame is too heavy.

There is no need for the top running rail.

The mesh is the same both sides so doesn’t allow for the bottle neck versus base height difference.

However it did work!

While I designed it, Harold Smitke did all the welding, and this took place at Hardy’s Siegersdorf (Barossa Valley) Winery during January 1963.

Being very naïve and somewhat stupid, I took the plan to a South Australian company that indeed made the concrete mesh that had originated the idea in the first place.

Yes, they said, we can do that.  How many do you want?  What sizes?  How will it be fixed to the wall?  Do you want it galvanised to prevent rusting?

Eventually it was decided to have three sizes (See Photo 2), which shows the two larger sizes alongside the original prototype.

Then of course the inevitable request for a royalty per unit.

“You can’t patent that; it’s too simple.  So we will not be paying any royalties.”  “Oh!” said I, and so naively went on my way.

Well within a couple of months they came on the market – all three sizes – and since there are literally walls of them everywhere.

With time they became plastic coated and some even made to lay on their side below the bar tops.

While no return or reward, seeing them everywhere still gives me a buzz, but like bastard children, “they not their father” until now – but I still love them!

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