BELOW-THE-LINE: DESIGN CHOICE; Lazy Fish Corkscrew

Kevin Byrne, Director, Direct Dialog

Kevin Byrne, Director, Direct Dialog



Corkscrew design is similar to that of the mousetrap. For hundreds of

years, man has wracked his brain in search of easier and more humane

ways of getting the job done. On more than one occasion, pain and

heartache have resulted from the end product, which is one of the

reasons I love the Lazy Fish Corkscrew. It is a pleasure to use, but it

also looks good.



The origins of the Lazy Fish go back to 1888, when the lever mechanism

was patented as the ‘lazy tong’. However, it was not until the 1920s

that it was incorporated into a corkscrew design, but manufacturing

costs at the time meant it was not a viable commercial proposition until

it was rediscovered recently by those clever people at Bacchanal, the

producers of the famous La Cafetiere.



It requires none of the pulling and shoving needed in the application of

so many of its inferior brethren. Admittedly, you do have to turn the

device to twist the screw into the cork, but the modicum of effort is

more than amply rewarded with what follows. To extract the cork you

gently pull the tail of the fish and, pleasure of pleasures, the cork

comes sliding out.



No knees together bent over contortions. No, the series of levers do all

the work for you. So, if you want to drink like a fish at this time of

year, this one helps you without floundering around.



However, sheer practicality alone is not the marque of great design. The

Lazy Fish looks good and its aesthetic features are all practical

features. The jaws of the head open to direct the screw into the right

position. The eye is a rivet to stop the user pushing the screw too far

into the cork. The body is formed by the ingenious collection of levers.

The tail is the handle.



It was voted 1994 Gift of the Year by the housewares industry, and, as

if all this isn’t enough, by Gad it’s British too. So, what better gift

can there be for Christmas than the Lazy Fish to show appreciation to

your nearest and dearest. Or better still, buy one for yourself.



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