I just now dug up this from the Science Codex:

Milestone: A methane-metal marriage

relating how the group of Lucy Ziurys at the University of Arizona have found a promising new way of making methylzinc, and published it at the end of last year. 
Compounds like this have been known since the mid-nineteenth century, but it appears that the new method might require much smaller overheads for industrial scale use, as well as being exciting new chemistry.

However, this immediately makes me think of the related compound diethylzinc, which one generally only encounters in textbooks, where its property of spontaneously igniting in air leaves a permanent post-it in one’s imagination.  According to Wikipedia:

Edward Frankland first reported the compound in 1848 from zinc and ethyl iodide, the first organozinc compound discovered.  He improved the synthesis by using diethyl mercury as starting material.  The contemporary synthesis consists of the reaction of a 1:1 mixture of ethyl iodide and ethyl bromide with a zinc-copper couple, a source of reactive zinc.

Here is someone at Nottingham trying to get diethylzinc to do its party trick:

I remember it coming up in a play set in (I think) late Victorian England about a criminal leader of a small cult.  When the detective asked him how he produced his “magic fire” in the dark, he replied in an ethereal voice:

“Zinc ethyl”.