Humankind and cork: History

Did you know that humans used cork since the ancient times?

In fact, cork and humanity existed and worked together for many centuries. There is real evidence for the use of cork in the ancient China and Babylon, ancient Egypt, and Greece. In China and Egypt, the material was used for floats in the fishing nets which were made from the bark of the cork oak, whereas in Greece and Babylon, cork was used in shoe making. In addition, the cork has always been used to seal all types of vessels: amphorae with wine, water, oil, or grain.

Scientists came across a treatise by one of the philosophers of ancient Greece named Theophrastus.

He excitingly describes the ability of the cork oak to regrow the bark after its removal, calling it a miracle. Only a priest had the right to cut down a cork tree in ancient Greece, since it was considered the tree of God Jupiter and award wreaths, given to the winners of battles and sport competitions were made from its branches. Therefore, the tree was often thought of as a symbol of honor.

In later centuries, with the advent of gunpowder, the military and civil merchant ships from Spain and Portugal took round cork patches with them to seal the holes from the cannon fire.

The Portuguese law regulating the cutting of cork forests is one of the oldest in the world and is still in effect with revisions and amendments. It dates back to 1209.

Cork was always used for insulation of homes and especially valuable, essential spaces.

The Cathedrals of the XI-XII centuries in Portugal that made it to the modern day have their walls and floors decorated with cork coverings to preserve the warmth. Barcelona’s famous La Sagrada Familia Gaudi has had a cork floor for decades. The daily flow of visitors is about 10,000 people, and it is in excellent condition!

As we can see, cork was and is close to a person and always together with humanity.

Copyright © 2021 Fomentarino. All rights reserved.