Some 10 years ago in France my fascination for vintage mechanical objects immediately attracted me to the classic Zig-Zag corkscrew. I first noticed them on antiques market and jumble sales, and some specialized stores and market sellers also seemed to stock them now and then complete with vintage looking boxes. It puzzled me at first whether these were newly made ones or just well preserved vintage originals.
After some more searching around I found a vintage Zig-Zag with some minor superficial damage and slightly crooked levers on a French jumble sale. After some haggling – during which I said it was crooked and the Frenchman pulled it out of my hand, forced it up and down, and said “Il marche bien!” (“It functions fine!“) – I managed to buy it for a reasonable price.
The Zig-Zag corkscrew or “tire bouchon” was designed and patented shortly after WWI, in 1919, by Jules Bart from Nancy. His design uses a series of levers to ease the force required to pull the cork out of a bottle of wine. The design is of simple mechanical functionality with a beautiful pull handle with the words ZIG ZAG pressed into it from both sides. There was a model with and a model without caplifters on the sides. All parts are nickel-plated and chromed.
Back in the day a number of similar ‘lazy tongs’ corkscrews were produced using a series of levers and a pull or rotating handle. All of these are now ancient history, while the Zig-Zag is amazingly still in production today. The parts are made using the original 1920s moulds and presses.
Length closed 15 cm | length open 26 cm | width 4 cm | weight 200 grams