While shopping at an antique fair in Les Andelys, France last fall, my husband and I were browsing the wares of a very nice woman. She spoke very little English and we speak just a bit of French, yet the three of us were having fun trying to communicate as we made our purchases. Ready to move on, my husband noticed an interesting item and upon picking it up, drew the attention of yet another shopper. Suddenly, there was so much French conversation surrounding us, relating to the item in his hand, we were quickly out of the loop. My husband decided he would purchase the vintage Zig Zag corkscrew that he still held, thus disappointing the other shopper. After we paid, exchanged our final pleasantries, and turned to walk away we were met by yet another shopper who wanted to commend us on our find and after asking us how much we paid, she was simply elated for us. The entire interaction was so fun. That morning became our introduction to French Zig Zag corkscrews.
You can just see our Zig Zag on the bench along with some of our other treasures.
Jump ahead a week to a large flea market in Paris where we met yet another charming vendor. This elderly Frenchman sold only vintage corkscrews, mostly French, and had display boxes full of Zig Zag corkscrews. He was a remarkable fellow who shared so much with us. His passion for Zig Zag was contagious to say the least!
These events, paired with the fact that this corkscrew opens a bottle of wine perfectly, have made us true Zig Zag fans.
The Zig-Zag corkscrew or “tire bouchon” was designed and patented shortly after WWI, in 1919, by Jules Bart from Nancy. His creation 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 both sides.
The more recent Zig Zag models feature cap-lifters on the sides to allow for the additional function of opening bottle caps, while earlier versions are without. All parts are nickel-plated and chromed to make them both pretty and practical. These Zig Zag corkscrews are truly classic example of both form and function.
In days-gone-by, a number of ‘lazy tongs’ corkscrews were produced all around the world, that used a series of levers, a pull and/or a rotating handle. Most of these makers are now gone however, Zig-Zag remains in production today using it’s original 1920s moulds and presses.
May I suggest adding the Zig Zag tire bouchon to your bar cabinet or wine cellar or even gifting one to the wine enthusiast in your life? It is a gift that will keep on giving!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
More treasure hunting this Sunday and Monday. Will share my finds next.
Happy Hunting everyone!