Collecting Vintage Cigarette Lighters

June 30th, 2008

In this article, Eric Beeson talks about collecting vintage cigarette lighters, including brands such as Zippo, Ronson, and Dunhill.

Cigarette lighter collecting is a hobby that never gets boring. Just by browsing eBay auctions for ten minutes, for example, I recently found a lighter shaped like a lion’s head, one made of jade and gold, and an electric lighter in the shape of a woman’s face that hangs on the wall.

cigarette lighter with flameA flame we can carry in our pockets is something that we take for granted, but it was much harder to make fire in earlier times. The match wasn’t invented until about 1805, and early matches were expensive and dangerous. The lighter wasn’t invented until 1823 by a German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. He created the precursor to the lighter, which he called the Feuerzeug (often referred to as ‘Döbereiner’s Lamp’). The device created hydrogen gas in a tube from a reaction of sulfuric acid and zinc together, which would ignite after passing through a platinum sponge. The Feuerzeug was a huge success, with an estimated 20,000 in use by 1828.

But the Feuerzeug, in all its effectiveness, was not very safe, and would probably be illegal today. Various other types of lighters appeared throughout the late 1800’s, most of them making use of a wheel striking a ferrocerium flint, or a similar flint-like substance. Lighter development advanced greatly during World War I, as soldiers found them much more useful than matches, which caused a large spark when lit, easily giving away the positions of soldiers in the dark.

The basic shape of the modern cigarette lighter can be traced back to its ancestor, the match holder. In the 1800′s, safety matches had not yet been invented, so match users were victims of accidental ignitions far too often. By keeping them inside metal cases, they stopped the danger of pocket fires. This shape, roughly rectangular with rounded edges, became the prototype for almost all cigarette lighters. In fact, some crude lighters have been housed in match cases.

Lighters of the early 1900′s are hard to find, as many have fallen into disrepair, or rusted due to poor construction. By the 1920′s, lighters had become functional as well as artistic. The shapes and designs reflected the modern aesthetic, such as the early Art Deco patterns and styles.

At that point, there were three basic types of lighters. The manual striking type, the semiautomatic type, and the fully automatic type. The manual striking type, such as a Zippo, has the user physically make the spark come in contact with the wick by means of turning a flint wheel or striking the flint themselves. Another type of manual lighter, commonly known as a permanent match, contains a well of lighter fuel in which a metal-enclosed wick sits in. This metal matchstick is then struck to a flint, igniting the fuel-soaked wick inside the tube. Various companies have made these over the years, in portable and table lighter forms.

group of cigarette lightersThe semiautomatic lighter first appeared about 1922, and is still standard for many reusable lighters. The user will flip open the lid or push a button that opens the cover, which will simultaneously spin a flint wheel and ignite the wick. This is a common design for table lighters.

Ultimately, the automatic lighter was created by Louis Aronson, founder of Ronson lighters, in 1926. Nicknamed the “Banjo” for its distinctive shape, the design became immensely popular. Aronson was telling the truth when he released it with the ad slogan “Push, it’s lit; Release, it’s out.” The automatic lighter requires only one motion – the push of a button – to create the flame, and as long as it’s held down, the flame stays lit.

All the aforementioned lighters ran on naptha, a petroleum mixture that would be poured into a well filled with cotton, where the wick could absorb it. In the late 1940′s, new technology arrived on the scene, and soon many people favored the new butane lighters. The compressed butane, as opposed to naptha, allowed the user to control the flame intensity, and eliminated the need for a wick. Others claim that butane became popular because it had a less pervasive odor than naptha – though most people I know who use lighters or who grew up around smokers are nostalgic for the smell of a naptha lighter. Butane lighters are the most common type today, as butane is the fuel of choice for disposable lighters, such as Bic, that you’d buy in a grocery store.

Lesser known than their flint-based counterparts, Piezoelectric lighters were first marketed in the late 1950′s. Piezoelectrcity was discovered in the early 1800′s, but wasn’t used for lighters until Ronson started making them. Piezoelectricity works by creating compressed pressure between quartz crystals, creating an electric spark.

cigarette lighter gridThough lighters have changed drastically over the years in terms of design and technology, one brand remains nearly unchanged since it was founded over 75 years ago. The Zippo Manufacturing Company was founded by George Blaisdell in Bradford, PA, in 1932. Presumably Blaisdell liked the sound of the word ‘zipper,’ and thought ‘Zippo’ sounded modern and hi-tech. Inspired by an Austrian lighter which claimed to be windproof, Blaisdell improved on the design, creating a product almost identical to the Zippo we know today.

Zippos became immensely popular over the next few years, and their sturdy, windproof construction made them ideal for soldiers. They were standard issue during WWII, and when supplies ran short, miniature lighters were made out of two top halves, saving metal. This vintage of Zippos is hard to find, as many were left behind or lost, and those that survive are extremely valuable. Many of the lighters made for soldiers were covered in a ‘black crackle’ finish that soldiers could carve names and drawings into with knives or pins. ‘Trench art,’ as it has become known, increases the value of a Zippo lighter significantly.

Zippo became an aesthetic icon, as well as one of functionality and quality. By the 1950′s Zippo was making custom-decorated lighters for different companies, clubs, and teams to be used as advertising or gifts. It wasn’t uncommon for businesses to give monogrammed lighters to their employees for celebrations of service or retirements. Introduced in 1956, the Zippo Slim was another development, adding a thinner, sleeker lighter to the company’s lineup.

Today, Zippos can be found with any number of designs, ranging from sports teams’ logos to tattoo-style art. What makes Zippo unique is its design that has remained nearly unchanged for over 75 years, plus its lifetime guarantees. If a Zippo breaks, it can be sent to the factory for free repair. As a collector myself, I enjoy being able to have all my pieces working, to say the least. Zippos are also popular among collectors because each lighter since 1955 has been stamped with a date code, and for pre ’55 lighters, the year can be identified by a number of features of the stamping. This information is readily available on the internet, making it easy for a collector to get started.

close up of zippo cigarette lighterThough Zippo is considered its own genre within the lighter-collecting world, non-Zippo collectors have just as much to work with. Dunhill lighters, for example, were introduced in Britain in 1923 to immediate success. Ever since, Dunhills have been regarded as the cream of the lighter crop, with new models selling for as much as a thousand dollars. Older models are even more valuable, starting with the single-wheel flint and naptha styles dating from the 20′s, and the single and double-wheel butane lighters from the 1930′s. Though WWII slowed down business greatly, Dunhill made a comeback in the 1950′s with their thumbroller-ignition lighters, a design which is virtually unchanged today.

On the less-pricey side of the spectrum, Ronson has been making reliable lighters for almost 100 years. Known for inventing the fully automatic lighter in 1926, Ronson’s designs have been copied continuously since then. And the automatic lighter isn’t Ronson’s only claim to fame. The company also made the first refillable gas lighter, the first adjustable-flame gas lighter, the first plastic lighter, and the first electronic-spark system. Their most famous models, the Varaflame and the Comet, are highly sought by collectors worldwide.

I’ve only mentioned three famous brands, but as I said before, the potential for lighter collecting is endless. Just to name a few other brands, Penguin, Colibri, ST Dupont, Scripto, and Evans have all enjoyed rich histories as well.

With the drop in popularity of smoking, reusable lighters have become rarer, but companies such as Zippo are still going strong, and there appears to be a renewed interest in them. There are hundreds of lighter collecting clubs around the world, and more are founded every year, so collecting is now a popular hobby for all ages.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Do you have an article you’d like us to publish as a guest column in The Collectors Weekly? Let us know.

114 comments so far

  1. Catherine Says:

    What a great collectible and article! Thanks so much for sharing your story and collection. Good luck with school. Caty

  2. Danny Booher Says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for the information! I came across your site researching a Zippo lighter I just purchased at a garage sale. It is old and just learned it is a black crackle zippo: 3 barrel, 14 hole chimney, humped spring, 2032695,made of solid steel, and rounded bottom. According to the grandson I purchased the lighter from, it belonged to his grandfather who was stationed in France in WWII. His grandfather found it under a dead German soldier he was dragging away for burial. I am discussing with the grandson to write down as much history as possible about this. What makes the lighter unique is that it appears all the black paint was scraped off except the black paint found in the stamp on the bottom and a little bit missed on the back. There are four coins silver soldered onto the lighter. One is a Russian coin with hammer and cycle and CCCP on it. The other three I have not identified. I did not realize that this is a trench art zippo until yesterday. The lighter works etc. but is rough because of the black paint being scraped off. I have no clue on it’s value. What is interesting is this lighter was made 40 miles from where I live, made it’s way into a German’s hands, (where he got it who knows). Has a Russian coin on it. And then ends up in the hands of a US troop stationed in France who happened to live here in Warren, Pa. There is alot more to this story that probably can never be constructed. Any comments are welcomed.

  3. lee Says:

    Does anyone know how i can repair my 1968 Kreisler butane lighter. T hank you….Lee

  4. george corradino Says:

    Hello, read your artical about zippo lighters. Do you know where I can sell a art deco ,model -1847- Dunhill “Unique” The name is the Unique.This dunhill is made in England as all dunhill’s are made. I beleave it was made in the late 1920′s. It does not have the original box not any papers eithe . It is authetic and given to me 30 years ago by some buisness associte from England.It works and looks perfect. Thank you George. P.S. I do not want to sell it on E-Bay . Don’t know how to do that and I want the maximum for it. The true value. my phone number is 954-548-6901.

  5. TIM SCOTT Says:

    I HAVE WHAT APPEARS TO BE A WORLD WAR II ERA LIGHTER.I DON’T THINK IT’S A ZIPPO.ON THE FRONT IT HAS A MAP OF THE ISLAND OF JAPAN,AND ON THE BOTTOM THE WORDS ARE STAMPED AS FOLLOWS. ( M.S.K CO GI NO.525 QUEEN LUCKY)CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT I HAVE?THANK YOU,TIM

  6. Carole Jones Says:

    I have a 1971 Dupont silver lighter which is still in its original casing in excellent condition (never been used) containing instruction book, guarantee etc. with a factory series no. E0665. It was purchased in Singapore in 1973. Does anyone have any idea who to contact for a valuation as I now wish to sell the lighter.

  7. D.H Says:

    I have a round cig. lighter about the size of a silver dollar.I found it about 45 yrs ago.It has engraving on both sides.A crest of some sort on the other side with the date 1650 at the bottom.I’m sure thats not the date it was made. It pulls apart in the middle and uses flint and fluid.

  8. Renee Bryant Says:

    I am looking for lighters that were popular in the 1950s(?). They were clear and had fishing lures suspended in them..where would I find these antiques/collectibles?

  9. pm gray Says:

    I recently came across a vintage Georgia Tech De Luxe Blue-Bird musical lighter that plays the Ga. Tech fight song when wound up. Everything is in working condition and it is still in the original box. The condition is pretty good with just a small amount of enamel chipped in the back along with some very slight pitting in the chrome, also on the back. Any ideas on what the value would be?

  10. john Says:

    I have a Kreisler silver lighter in the orginal case, cleaning brush.instructions paper,nozzel, flint never used,(lighter accessories ). Also the butane fuel can . The case has # 15507. Any ideas on the age and value . thanks for any help. john

  11. susan Says:

    I have an old lighter signed with the initials RW. Does anyone know what name they stand for? WHo made it and where? Thank You

  12. Smiley Says:

    I have an Evans combination lighter/cigarette case/snuff box, that belonged to my brother in laws father. I remember him using it as far back as the late 40′s. I’ve been searching for information on it and found many Evans lighters/cases valued from about $10 to $100, but have not found one of any make, that included the snuff box in the cover (it still has snuff in it). Unfortunately the condition is not very good and although I believe it is restorable, it is not functional now.
    I am very surprised to find there are no dedicated cigarette lighter collectors forums on the net.
    If anyone can provide any info on this lighter I’d greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks,
    Smiley

  13. g. Marie Says:

    I have a silver/silver plated looking table cigarette lighter. I do not know how old it is. It is shaped like a Cornorcopia, on a short pedestal. It is about 6 inches long, and 3 inches tall. Does anyone know how old it is and who made it? Thanks

  14. Girldiamond45 Says:

    I bought a HUGE zippo lighter about 8 INCHES HEIGHT AND 6 INCHES WITH, I believe it is all silver. IT HAS A VERY LARGE ROPE LIKE WICK. CAN ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS LIGHTER? tHANKS

  15. Terry Warren Says:

    I recently came across old lighter of my dad’s from being in the service but can’t find any information about the lighter. Can anyone help? It is a silver lighter(zippo look alike) that has the name “Super Ace” on the front of the lighter it has engraved:

    5TH STRAT RECON
    WING (H)

  16. Bob Massaro Says:

    I have a lighter hat I purchased in summer of
    1952.It is Ronson Whirlwind.Purchaed in the
    Army PX.On the bottom it is written that the
    US patent #19023 expired June 12,1952.Is this
    worth collector value?Thanks,Bob

  17. Smoreguy Says:

    I jsut came across an old Coronet lighter, with the Sealtest logo on both sides. At one time there was a sealtest dairy in our area. Would this be of any value to a collector?

  18. John Says:

    Nice article, I learned a few things….& thankyou!
    I started collecting trench lighters from ww 1 back in the eary ’70s. On occasion at rummage, garage,antique,& gunshows thats all that I was interested in…..untill I tried E-bay in march of 2009.
    Please, someone stop me! I now have a collection of the unusual, obscure, & unique. 1870′s cigar table lamp lighter, to a collection of strange Occ. Japan lighters, to one of the newer lighters in my collection…a Cricket (Bic style) Nixon “Hot Seat” Watergate Throw-away.
    Any Idea what the most complete pricing guide available is titled, & who the author might be??
    P.S. I need to stop spending every extra dollar I make…but I sure enjoy the hobby!

  19. anita shallcross Says:

    My father in the early 1950′s invented a lucite type lighter. I do not know alot about lighters, but i remember something about dual vessels in the lighter so you do not run out of the lighter fluid as quickly. I have several of these left. I know he sold his patent to a lighter company? I would love any info or interest in these. The original name was MASONLITE. They came in several colors, red, orange, clear, green & blue.

  20. Bob Kerr Says:

    BARCLAY lighter parts required.

    I have just found my late brother’s Barclay lighter that he received for a 21st birthday present in 1953. Unfortunately, it has the plunger missing. The plunger activates the flint wheel and also lifts the cap off the wick.

    Can anyone help me in finding replacement parts or advise me what to do. This lighter would have been manufactured in the 1950′s I would emagine.
    Best Rgds

  21. terry washburn Says:

    information needed.have manual lighter,round shape,looks like brass.no brand or company name nor any letters,numbers,identifying marks.one side has a eagle,wings spread,head facing left.left leg grasping olive branch,right grasping three arrows.21 stars above head in three concentric rows.other side has a union shield with wreath underneath.above are 14 stars in two concentric rows.thank you.

  22. Diana Petrovic Says:

    I have read the information contributed by Eric Beeson on vintage cigarette lighters. I have two vintage cigarette lighters that I am interested in asking him questions. I have one that I have never seen anywhere. It was given to me as a gift. The other has a sticker with initials of the manufacturer but the complete name is not spelled out. Can you help me in getting touch with Eric? Thank you very much.

  23. Mike Says:

    I stumbled onto your article while searching for an old lighter I once had.
    It was shaped like a lions head with open mouth and operated by pulling back the ears. It ran on butane and was solid brass I believe. If that is the same as the one you found or you have any leads as to where i can find one I would appreciate the feedback. It meant a great deal to me and was misplaced somewhere never to be found.

  24. Donald Says:

    I have come across an St Dupont vintage lighter. It has on the bottom just one fill screw the #’s DH6378 along with the name and paris made in france and the little square.It is a smaller model, with the gold insides and it is silver itself. Can you tell me anything about this lighter?

  25. David Thomas Says:

    Art Nouveau pattern petrol lighter. Brass, Circular, with maiden’s head in profile (long flowing tresses) on both sides. French style/classic art nouveau, appx 3″ in diameter. Artist’s signature, de Feure at bottom.

    Anyone out there seen one or own one? Don’t think its a one-off, but research has failed to come up with any others. De Feure was a painter, late 1800′s – early 1900′s, but I believe he was also a medallist.

    Please get in touch.

  26. Gerry Atwell Says:

    I have a Kentel Glass lighter called Queen of the Orient, on the inside is some beautiful metal artwork, I can’t find any info at all about this lighter anywhere. Does anyone know anything about it? I’m pretty sure that it probably came from overseas. Please help.

  27. C. Matthews Says:

    My husband purchased a very early cigarette lighter that is shaped like a pistol (he said a flintlock) from an antiques dealer at a street festival today. I tried finding information on it on the ‘net, checking out numerous sites, with no luck. Does anyone have pictures of these types of lighters that we could compare this one to? Thanks for any assistance!

  28. Beth Says:

    I am seeking a crudely made brass lighter from WWI that belonged to an ancestor and was lost years ago. It is small, rectangular, and has names of various battles engraved on it (Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood). Any information would be much appreciated!

  29. Doug Says:

    I have a Ronson Banjo lighter that I can’t find any info on. Brass, engraved/stamped with “Ronson Banjo – This period was the Jazz Age” and it has a record label engraved/stamped – Black Swan Records, Song title: Oh Daddy. Would greatly appreciate any info…

  30. Tim Says:

    I have a glass Dunhill lighter with a silver top. It is very old. The glass base fits into palm of your hand and features an underwater scene with fish and coral. Bottom says made in England. I would apprecaite any information you may have on this lighter.

  31. David Thomas Says:

    To girldiamond45

    Re’ your ‘giant’ lighter – I used to have one, based on classic Zippo design, but stamped ‘Japan’ on base. Same size as the one you describe. I believe they are shop window type display models to promote the tobacconist’s trade, chrome finished. I don’t have mine any more (did a swop for something older) but it did make a good talking point!

    David

  32. Sean McCaskey Says:

    Tim:
    Sounds like you have what is called an Aquarium lighter made by Dunhill. Those lighters in just moderate condition can reach in the thousand dollar plus range in an online auction like Ebay. Excellent condition were talking a few thousand dollars… Hard to find and very desireable by collectors worldwide… Just think of it this way… All books are just guides … An item is only worth a collector will pay for it.
    Sean McCaskey
    seantbird96@aol.com

  33. Sean McCaskey Says:

    Beth:
    Sounds like you have a homemade lighter wich is called a trench art design lighter… Soldiers used old brass casings to construct there own flame makers… I dont think you will ever find one like it or the same as what you had… You may get close though… Search Ebay… Search word WWI trench art lighters or WWII trench lighters… Alot of people dont know what they have or the time periods they list under is wrong… Good luck !!! Happy hunting.. May be able to get one for a good price !!!!

    Sean McCaskey
    Vintage Lighter restorer and seller
    seantbird96@aol.com

  34. Sean McCaskey Says:

    Doug:
    HOLD ON TO THAT BANJO LIGHTER !!!! Its ronsons first fully automatic lighter !!!! WOW.. Your lucky to have such a fine lighter and believe me…ITS VALUABLE AS HECK!!! Ronson did remake it for a short spurt in history but the original is still the best !!!! What do you want to know about your lighter?????
    Sean McCaskey
    seantbird96@aol.com
    Ebay:seantbird96

  35. Sean McCaskey Says:

    C.Matthews: Sounds like you have a DUNHILL tinder pistol… Very nice and a valuable piece.. Prolly auction around 100-400 dollars depending on condition… May go for more if you have the box and all that…. Retail price is higher … Like an antique store or ?
    Sean McCaskey

  36. Lita Grant Says:

    I purchased at an estate sale what I believe could be a Dunhill table lighter. The item is an aladdin lamp on a ceramic base, the handle resembles a hood ornament at the tip of the lamp is a flame. The lamp is in a silver finish the base has drapes on each side. The lid to the lamp looks like a snuffer on a chain the lighter is missing. In trying to research this I did notice that some of the Dunhill lighters had the flame and wondered if this is their trademark. Any information you could give me would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    Lita Grant

  37. Maura Says:

    Hello Sean,

    I have been trying to get an idea of the worth of a BIC style brass case. It has Jack Daniel’s inscribed on the side,
    on the bottom CHA S.T.
    Kennedy
    Pat. Pend. is stamped. Unlike many BIC cases I have seen this one DOES have a lid and the lid is not hinged. I have the original brown fabric drawstring bag it came in. I have had for at least 25 years but I don’t know how old it was when I received it. I have done Ebay (current and completed) search, Google, Yahoo and Frontier searches to no avail. Any help would be appreciated.
    Maura

  38. larry mcneely Says:

    i have what may be a one of a kind lighter . it is all metal ,what ? it looks a dachsund dog , you put the fluid in the belly side , flip the head up to light it . i know it is pre. 1940′s there are no markings anywhere to let you know where it was made , or who made it . any input would be great . thanks a lot.

  39. Rochohan Says:

    I have a “vintage” (from what alot of ebay sellers are saying) Sterling Silver Windproof Dunhill lighter. Very odd looking contraption even for an old lighter, was mostly curious about when it was made if indeed it is an old piece. if u know anything please shoot me an email roch1984king@yahoo.com thx

  40. Ken Says:

    I am interested in knowing anything about the manufacturer Negbaur N.Y. that made airplane cigarette lighters circa 1930′s to 1950[?].
    Dates they were in business and if you know where to get parts for these great lighters. Thanks!

  41. Ron Says:

    I have an Old all brass lighter that was given to me, it’s brass, about
    2 1/2″s long, 1 1/4″ wide, and approximately 1/4″ thick. It is rounded
    and tapered at both ends, and a brass band about halfway down the lighter, this is the cap section. It has a flint wheel with no chimney and a
    single wick. I’ve been searching for info on this lighter, and BTW it still works very well. Any body recognize this type of lighter….

  42. Sean McCaskey Says:

    Update to ron :
    Is it a WWII trench style lighter ??? May be homemade if brass (OLD SHELL CASINGS)
    seantbird96@aol.com

  43. Clive Mealing Says:

    I have a Zippo lighter from the early fifties.
    It is engraved Matchwell Sales Limited,Toronto Canada.Your Zippo
    Supplier.Any one have any info?

  44. Clive Mealing Says:

    That was Hatchwell Sales Limited (50s)
    Thanks

  45. Jack Healey Says:

    I have a 99% S.T.DuPont lighter, which seems to be either gold on-lay or (hopefully) solid gold. I have twice written to duPont to ask about this lighter, but they never returned my e-mails. I undertand their factory and offices burned down two or three years ago, but have been told they are now back in business. Can anyone be helpful in advising how to obtain information from duPont about a particular lighter. Mine has a serial number on the bottom, which should identify it.

  46. Pat Copeland Says:

    Hello, I recently went though a old box of things my husband had in his army trunk and I found this little black striker lighter. It is 1 1/2 inches long x 1 inche wide, it has a gold or copper striker stick on the top as well as another small looking gold or copper thing on the top. On the side of this little lighter is where you strike the striker stick. On the bottom it reads made in hong kong. Any help is appricated.

  47. george anderson Says:

    I have a scripto clear case lighter with dice inside it it has a black band around the top part of it. it works fine ,very few scratches on it case is very clear please someone tell me what it is worth I would like to sell it.Gambling was not very popular back then with companys and womens groups.

  48. Tom Clark Says:

    I have a 14K gold zippo case from Bancok 1964 erra. The lighter itself is a zippo but the case has no other markings but the 14k. Itnis gold but I cant locate who made the case section. Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank You
    T.Clark

  49. Anthony Wehage Says:

    Dear sir,

    I have an old lighter that could either be a ‘Ronson Crown’ or a ‘Mastercraft’ On the bottom it says: Crown automatic lighter, Pat. No. 90041, Pat No.02357, Japan. It is decorated with an enamaled map of Oregon, showing all the major cities, rivers, and the coast. the other side has an enameled scene of the state capitol. The top is unlike all the old ‘Ronsons’ due to the solid side, next to the button, striker, etc. Any idea when it was made, by who, and value? On the bottom are two different sized screws, which I assume is for filling with gasoline. Ha Ha, just kidding, but thanks for the history lesson. Until next time, A.

  50. ira pilossof Says:

    tom

    please send me a pic and I will tell you what I can about your lighter

    Ira Pilossof
    Vintage Lighters LLC
    PO Box 1325
    Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
    email vintageltr@aol.com

  51. Sean McCaskey Says:

    TO all who question a brass Ronson Banjo lighter.

    I will give you the history on the Banjo Lighter. The banjo is the Grand daddy of all Ronson Automatic .It is ronsons first fully automatic lighter. The lighters were finished with heavy silver plating with several different engine turn designs. Lighter may have been made in a rare Gold plating too (SUPER RARE). However they NEVER produced the lighter in Brass.
    NOTE:
    The Banjo lighter design has been copied by a foreign company to deceive people. The fakes are chromium plated or brass in metal. Some of the models have ronson in black enamel on the front that Ronson NEVER did. Also the markings on the snuffer cap and fill screw are different from the original.
    Ronson also never put labels ( stampings )that say BLACK swan or any type of advertising on these lighters. They also never had any type of printing on them either. Even though your lighter is stamped with all that info on your lighter.. It is a fake or forgery. Made in a foreign country to deceive people….. May be worth little as a fake… A lot of people do not know this information and i hope this helps people with these lighters that think they have the real deal…
    seantbird96@aol.com
    Specializing in the sales and service of Vintage lighters

  52. beata burian Says:

    i am not sure if this is the correct site but i need information. i have a cigarette lighterthe outer casing is gold the mechanics could be 9ct gold it is rectangular and when you depress the top the little nozzle lifts and the light ignitesa wick. on the base is inscribedTiki- Gala on one end on the other is wiffo or something like that and under this is austria can anyone give me some information on its dimensions are 55mm,approx 48mm, 10mm

  53. Erasmo Ruiz Says:

    Hello, I have two olders lighters and I can´t find any information about these.
    Does anyone know how I can repair my CORONETTE CARAT Made in Australia patent and my RONSON Varaflame Comet Made in Mexico.
    Would greatly any information… Thank you… Erasmo

  54. Harold Stabler Says:

    Hello, I have a very old German petrol lighter, the trademark is 2 back to back half moon faces,with pointed noses and chins, the patent no. is 13863. It measures about 1in.x 2in, has a domed top, and ignites with roller caps, I would be grateful if anyone has any information about this lighter or the maker. Thank you, Harold.

  55. Don Bowen Says:

    i recently acquired a Ronson Crown Lighter, aside from the normal information, Pat. nbr. Logo etc. it has a serial number 127 on it. I can’t
    find any other lighter of that model with a serial number. Is this a very early one? what might it be worth. It also came in a felt silver polishing cloth bag with the Ronson Logo on it. Any Help appreciated….

  56. J D Cook Says:

    As a writer, (amateur) I am always using the internet for research on various subjects. Today, I was looking for any articles about the lighter, when I found this page. After all, I did not want my character lighting a cigarette in 1912 with a lighter, and then find out that the lighter was not even in Resistance till a later time. I was relieved to discover the whole history of it all.
    This page not only gave me the information which I needed, it gave me some references to history like WW 1 and the match as well.

    Thank you so very much for your own research on this subject, and for sharing it with the world.

  57. Karen Says:

    Maura, I have been looking for that same lighter, so if you want to sell it please let me know. Hubby had one (about 25 years ago) engraved, and lost it, so I have been wanting to replace it.

  58. Garry maguire Says:

    I have a brass oval shaped Elfa Tank brass petrol lighter,top section slides off to reveal wick and strike wheel, bottom slides off and contains a small petrol tank, the middle fixed part holds the wadding and flint housing.
    The front is embossed with: original
    Elfa Tank.

    It measures 2.5ins in length x 1&1/8 wide.
    Can anyone give me some info on this make please.

  59. Sarah Puttkammer Says:

    Hi,
    I was digging in some of my grandfathers old things and i found about 20 different lighters some are Zippo,Key-Cee,Champ,Rolex,Crown, a few ATC super deluxe, Mastercraft, goldenbill, a Ronson whirlwind, vulcan, park, coliboi and i was wonder cause in your pictures you have a few that i have now and i was wondering that some of mine work and that the others need flints i was wondering that maybe you knew what kinds of flints that i could use to make the others work? Also how much some of these might be worth?
    Thank you for you time.

  60. Anne Kellner Says:

    I have a lighter that has one screw on bottom and it reads C 1009 ST Dupont Paris BREV-SGDG 75-215 FAB France Does anyone know how old and what the cost might be for it now?

  61. Peter Lim Says:

    Where in Singapore can I find a official ronson lighter repairer?

  62. Cecilia Says:

    Hi, I recently came across a gold lighter, and you can tell that it is very old. It has Chinese or Japanese writing on one side and some sort of etching….can you tell me anything about it? Thanks.

  63. Cary Says:

    I just purchased a negbaur airplace cigarette lighter from the local thrift store for $2. Does anyone know anything about these lighters?

  64. Danny Mac Says:

    Garry maguire,
    I too have that lighter. Have been trying to find out about it for quite a while now with not much luck. Took some photo’s so as someone might be able to help with regards to age, price.

    Embossed front with “original elfa tank”
    Under strike wheel engraved is Made in Germany
    on back of lighter is the B&H logo engraved (very faint) in final pic

    http://s41.photobucket.com/albums/e262/Grumpyhamster/?action=view&current=SDC11171.jpg

    http://s41.photobucket.com/albums/e262/Grumpyhamster/?action=view&current=SDC11173.jpg

    http://s41.photobucket.com/albums/e262/Grumpyhamster/?action=view&current=SDC11174.jpg

    http://s41.photobucket.com/albums/e262/Grumpyhamster/?action=view&current=SDC11176.jpg

  65. marie pinkerton Says:

    Have round top lighter on chain. Laurel wreath on back sode similar on front plus crown and lion emblem on front. Has L on left of lion which is in a square design, and 7 on right. 1650 is on bottom.

  66. Michael Litvack Says:

    I recently picked up this strange looking lighter. I was attracted to it because of the strange covering on the sides…it might be plastic, it might be bakelite, perhaps copper.. Etched on the front is a picture of Mount Fuji, with a rice planter in the foreground. Colour is light brown. It is rectangular. It is marked underneath PRINCE 410 Magneto 88 with a large E. The back has birds in flight, and some mountains (?).
    Any one know the year /history of this model ?

  67. Diane Says:

    I have a lighter that is round with a coat of arms on one side with the date 1650 on it. There is an L and the number 7 on each side of the coat of arms with a crown on top with just a leaf pattern around the otherside. It flips open with a knob on the top to take the inner section out with the wheel and flint. Does anyone know where this originated from or anything about such a lighter?

  68. gail Says:

    i have a hahway us patent april 2 1912 made in germany . can find anything about it . can you help me find out about it . thanks

  69. Gene Says:

    In my travels I picked up a gold penquin butane lighter. On the side is engraved ” Gratefully Rudy Vallee”. Any info would be appreciated. Value, history, etc. Thanks

  70. Ineisa Says:

    I have a lighter that used to belong to my Grandfather. It is a Dunhill, the lighter has written, that it was made in England. It seems to be Gold, don’t know if 18k? It is thin gold lighter. I don’t see any serial number but when you open the lighter it has 0522?? Would this mean that it was made in 1922? My Grandfather died at 90 years old and I was 3 at the time. I am 38 now, so this lighter has to be at least 70years old.
    If anybody knows more about these types of lighters, would you please let me know? I had taken it to a place to get it appraised and they told me that if it was gold, it should have had a mark on it. So, they stated it was not gold. Would they have marked this lighter in the 1920s? I took it somewhere else and they did some type of test with a liquid and then stated it was gold. I would like to how much a lighter like this is worth?

  71. Brent Says:

    I have a antique Blue Bird De Luxe musical lighter in it’s original box and appears to be in brand new, never used condition. It has a Confederate flag on one side and “Southern Bell in Mississippi” on the back. It winds up and plays “Dixie”. The box on the back has a label applied to it that says “Harry C Bresler Company” “Importers – Manufacturers – Distributors” “Gift Items” “PO Box 2714, Memphis Tenn.” Does anyone know the value of this lighter? I am guessing its from late 40s to early 50s but I really have no facts on it.

  72. Marge Says:

    I am looking for old time cigarette lighter that was a clear one with a fly fishing lure suspended inside. Can anyone tell me where I can find one?

  73. JP Says:

    I received a brass airplane cigarette lighter. It has ncgbaur on the bottom. It is an airplane that ignites when the prop is turned. The hatch does not stay closed. I read two articles here on two similar. Have you found out anything on these?

  74. Brandy Says:

    I have a older model Colibri electro quartz lighter I need info on. It is in the original blue box and says no flint, no battery, no spark wheel. It has a design on both sides like a leaf pattern maybe. I can not find any info anywhere on it.

  75. Kathy Says:

    In a box of lighters from my dad, I found a silver long rectangular lighter with a very boxy feel. On the bottom it’s stamped Clifton Automatic, Inc., Erie, PA. Does anyone have any info on this? I can’t find anything except that Clifton Automatic Inc, is still in operation in Lake City, PA, very close to Erie, but they make screws. Thanks in advance for your help.

  76. Harold Cohn Says:

    I have a machined brass lighter the word “WIN” on the top within a circle and the words : “OWIN” and “PATFNTFD”. Note the letter “F” instead of “E” is used in the patented. It mesures 3 5/8″ tall and 1″ in diametr and is tapers to a 3/4″ diameter 1/4′ from the top. It also has two machined woven patterns on the side. Does anyone have information about this lighter.

  77. Harold Cohn Says:

    In reply to question about #41 question (41 Ron Says:) about a brass ligther and #42Sean McCASKEY Says: it may a WWII trench style lighter: I believe the Oceanside Museum of Art (Oceanside, California) has a WWII trench style lighter on display upstairs. You can contact the Oceanside Museum of Art at OMA-online.org to find out for sure.

  78. Hadary Says:

    I have a gold St. Dupont lighter which is 30 years old, i just wonder how much does it worth nowadays.

  79. Myrna Fink Says:

    We have 4 old cigarette lighters that were donated to our theatre before I started working here. I found them in a closet. One is an Aria lighter with a Atlantic Imperial insignia on the front and a music box that plays the Atlantic jingle. Another one is a Kassin that has a map of Florida and it says “Florida Fun in the Sun” on the front and on the back it has a picture of the Hialeah race course with flamingos. The third is a mini lighter key chain that has Las Vegas on it with related pictures. The fourth is an Omega painted turquoise with I think it’s the Newport cigarette logo.
    We are wondering what these are worth.

  80. mark Says:

    i have a gold dunhill lighter. on the bottom it says swiss made. it was my fathers and i seem to remember it at least as far back as the 70′s. would like to know if its authentic and anything i should look for to find out when it was made and if it is plated or what. thanx

  81. Iresha Says:

    I have a Deluxe Blue Bird Music Lighter which I got from my dad. he got it somewhere in 1970s as a gift. It came in a nice black box and the inside is made with velvet. It has a Japanese style Gold and silver plated sail boat and it is embeded in to the lighter. at the bottom theres a Japanese lettering on it. The bottom of the lighter says ” Blue Bird” Japan. it is in mint condition.
    I would like to know when it is made, whether if it actually is plated and whether its Authentic. Thanks.

  82. Bette Donavon Says:

    Several years ago I purchased a ceramic table lighter. It has a squat, swirled , turquoise- glazed base with metalic (gold?) painted vine hi-lights on the raised design.It has an 1 1/2″ ridged metal (brass?) top piece with an attatched curved handle. Has thumb-activated mechanism exposing wick, striker, etc. It has an oval black and gold label attatched to the bottom saying, “Evans BONE CHINA”…large screw stamped “Evans Fule” and a smaller gold(?) screw next to it. Any idea what I have ie: date made and value? Thanks!

  83. Johan Nel Says:

    Posts: 1
    Hi everybody

    My father-in-law gave me a Win lighter over the weekend.

    I am very curious to find out if it is worth anything. he says they only made about 200 of these.

    The lighter in question is 1980 Olympic edition in brushed aluminium finish. It is still in originial box with pamphlets and all.

    Is there anybody who could tell my anything about it please.

    Regards

    Johan

  84. gabriel simon Says:

    I have an ST.Dupont 18kt gold lighter , serial number B3564, circa 1960. I’m looking to have it appraised or sold. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Gabriel

  85. David Says:

    Obtained an old lighter from family: Appears to havebeen manufactured by the “Wagner” Company as this appears struck on the bottem panel as “Wagner Deluxe”. It is a simple art deco design, smooth surface, no details with a very small cover that looks like a birds beak. Has striker wheel, flint, wick. There are three holes on each side. appears to be stainless steel. Have searched and am unable to find any information on this lighter and would appreciate anything in history of company and of course a value

  86. Dennis Oldroyd Says:

    Digging a ditch on our old farm in Egg Harbor City, NJ I discovered what looked at first like a brass double-ended bullet. Measures about 3″ long by 9/16th in dia. It turned out to be a 3 pc lighter that prob uses fluid and typical flint/roller/wick design. We’re totally ignorant about era etc and would never clean or try to “restore” it. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time, Dennis

  87. Brad Says:

    Hi ya all I collect a lot of things and one is Dunhill lighters and the only one I didn’t have was a Dunhill mini “old one” and I finaly got one but it cost me dearly, my question is: is there a place on this thing for a extra flint and is it the little barrle that is located on the bottom of the lighter in the refill hole? and the gizmo that you slide back to put in a new flint dose not want to lock back like my bigger ones, is it supposed to be like that? The lighter was in almost new condition but the flint had turned into powder over the years and the same held true at the bottom fuel hole where I was supposing there was a spair flint when I turned it over the grey powder came flowing out od that little barrle like thing that is in there, I guess the best thing would be to send it off to ars but at 50 or 60 and more a pop it gets a little to high for me to keep collecting so I would like to find out as much on my own and would love to find a repair man on Dunhill lighters, well that’s all I got to say if anyone can help I’d be mighty greatfull. Blessings. CB. Oh and outside the book a 14k gold Dunhull would be great.

  88. Kevin Says:

    I was recently going through some boxes i had put away and found a desk lighter that i was given by a great uncle of mine who recieved it as a gift when he was chief inspector of the New York City Police in the mid 1900′s. The desk lighter is some type of clear synthetic like Lucite and there is a Fly fishing lure suspended in the square base and the circular metal hardware of the lighter seems to be brass. My relative wasn’t a smoker and the lighter still works like a charm! Can anyone Help Me identify it

  89. Demos Says:

    I have a 1918 (Dec. 31) Rosnson BANJO lighter which has the following details on it : (it says:first automatic lighter rosnson, on the front: this period was the age of jazz, below: black swan and new york, next: OH DADDY….. it has some small details as well). As far as i’m conserned the first ronson lighter was produced in 1918 , but i noticed that the article claims that the first production of Ronson lighters started at 1926. If anyone has some further information about it please contact with me. email: demosart@hotmail.com
    Thank you
    Demos

  90. Debra Wachsman Says:

    In my Father in Laws belongings we found a lighter still in a box it has a Scroll paper that reads Golden Boutique, the case a gold bar marked with #’s 3408, 999.9, Word, Factice. The insert lighter is B & L BrotherLite, Piezo Electric, Japan. Scroll: Gold. Die Faszination dieses Wortes spiegelt sich in den edlen Artikeln unserer,, Golden Boutique-Serie” wider. Mit Liebe zum Detail gerfertigt, mit einer 24-Karat-Goldauflage veredelt, sind diese Produkte Gebauch- und Schmuckstucke gleichermanBen – praktisch un Schon. What is this lighter and is it special. We have know idea where he got or when?
    Does anyone out there have a clue? Email: rascals123@earthlink.net
    Thanks….

  91. martha condon Says:

    i have an Airflam windproof lighter in the original box with certificate of guarantee, 1957. any info?

  92. Phillip Brumbles Says:

    I too have a round lighter on a chain. It has a lions crest in the center, crown on top surrounded with Laurel leaves. On the same side it has L on the left and 7 on the right of the crest and 1650 on the bottom. On the back is a similar design without any crest, just a circle with the Laurel leaves. I would like to know more about it. Could you tell me anything please? Thank you.

  93. Carrie Says:

    I have a WWII era Cigarette lighter and hinged Case. It has the Map of Japan,Mount Kilamanjaro(?) a tiger ,dragon and Memories of Japan written on the front cover. Stamped inside with three penquins(I think) on top of the letters D.I.T. The back of our case has a wood grain like pattern(a shade of Red) Inside is silver. We were hoping for a clue at the general time frame it came from. Thank you. Carrie

  94. John Authier Says:

    I have a lighter that shows the castle and memorial Dome of Hiroshima on one side, and on the other it says They may all be one; John 17 21 and below it, it says Building for the International Youth Center of Hiroshima YMCA, Japan. Lighter is stamped Madison. Any help would be appreciated. THANKS.

  95. Robert Kunnaway Turner Says:

    I’m Native American and my father gave me an old WW11 regens lighter No. 1896140 and it still works very well now is this worth anything.

  96. Paula Says:

    Hi there,

    We came across this lighter at a surplus shop: Marusho, Japan, made this cute pocket cigarette lighter in the shape of a 1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible
    [ Photo: Argus de la Miniature, #111, p.8 ]. We have one in red.

    Here’s the link to that info we found: http://www.car-nection.com/yann/Dbas_txt/arkeyfob.htm

    Its under Cigarette and Cigar Lighters [ table models ]

    Do you have any other information regarding this item? When was this produced? Any significant info that you can share. Thanks.

  97. mary anderson Says:

    was just given a lighter my mom had bought my dad years ago., they had been marrid 68 years, i don’t know how old it is, pretty old. its in a hard brown plstic case, says ronson, worlds greatest lighter, when you pull down front of container,there is the lighter, brown and silver,very nice looking with my dads initials in a little silver plate onfront, its the kind that you push down one side and it lifts other side on top and lights the wick, anyways, can you tell me anything about it, whether it is worth anything, thank you

  98. Seth Says:

    I believe I have the same lighter as Tim Scott. It says japan on the front and has a picture of a mountain and a tree branch with sakura pedals. It looks old and says M.S.K. CO GI NO.525 QUEEN LUCKY on the bottom. I’d like to know when it was made and anything else about it. Thanks, Seth.

  99. Alice Walker Says:

    I have a 1995 camel lighter. Written on the side is 1995 Camel R.J.R.T.C. I also have the matching leather case with a camel embossed on it and the word camel also embossed on it. I was just wondering what it might be worth. The lighter still works.

  100. George Beitler Says:

    I have an old lighter that I cant find any information on.. It says Sampson and PGH o the bottom of it. Was there a Sampson brand?

  101. Andy Says:

    @ Danny Mac & Garry Maguire

    I also have an elfa tank and know nothing about its origins. Mine is just as you describe except in stainless steel not brass. It has “original elfa tank” embossed on the front but nothing on the back.

    Why doesn’t anyone know anything about this brand?

  102. Bruce Says:

    A few people were asking about the clear plastic fluid lighters with the fishing fly, dice, golfer, etc inside. These lighters were made by a few different companies. The most common and popular is the Scripto Vu. I have been collecting lighters for about 25yrs and have acquired quite a few of these lighters. They are one of my favorites because i remember my dad using them. They tend to get quite scratched up and cloudy-mainly bacause they were used and would rub on everything in your pocket all day long. If you put a bit of fluid in them and swish it around, the plastic will get quite clear and you can tell what is inside. I have about four of these that are still in the original boxes with the papers. Iam not 100% sure but i believe the fisrt Scripto’s were made in approx 1955-57. very common in the 60′s and early 70′s.
    you can pay varying amounts for them.
    Good luck
    Bruce

  103. Isaac Says:

    I have a few Penguin lighters (not your high end expensive ones) because I love the fact that almost everybody had one in the 50′s 60′s which makes them a common people lighter and the more interesting for me. The thing is that I barely can find any information about them online besides the Ebay sellers usual talk. I recently got one that is different than the wick models (which does not have). And even more surprising is that does not have the P nor the Penguin logo on the metal top. Just says PENGUIN japan on the bottom. no patent no model no nothing.
    Were there fakes going on at the time?
    Or did Penguin changed to something different in time?
    It looks like the normal no. 18250 but smaller and all the parts are exactly like it.

    Hope you guys don’t mind answering that for me but I’m not here to try to make a profit or anything like that. I just love those cheap lighters no matter what.
    Isaac

  104. claire corn Says:

    i found a lighter today at my churchs’ yard sale. it is in the shape of a pistol,it has sides of some sort of shell. it says contintental,new york on the bottom and made in occupied japan. would appreciate any info.

  105. jimmy Says:

    I have an old handpainted Marlboro red butane lighter that has the wheel on the side that strikes the flint and a flap on top that releases the gas as soon as u open it and another side flint lighter that’s old as dirt too and I just wanna kno about them to see how old they are and wat the story is behind them

  106. Devin D. Says:

    I recently came upon a Lord brand automatic lighter which has a depiction of Iceland with its the countries flag in the center that is fully functional and also says on the reverse side “Armed Forces Open Mess Hall” but cant find any info on its history so any help would be greatly appreciated

  107. J.E. Vizzusi Says:

    “I think its important to note and deserves a Article as well is that the Company “Kreisler” which dates back to the 1920′s became rich and famous for their Watch Bands and Watch Bracelets and well Watch Fobs before that. They were a standard brand of Bulova and many other notable Watch Companies of the day. Then disaster hit when cheap automatic and manual watches hit the market in the late 1950′s and most of great American Watchmakers of the day were quickly gone. Companies such as Kreisler had to resort to making Lighters and boosted the Finest Butane Lighter in the World. Their off-shoot in West Germany no longer able to handle the watch band business designed the Colibri which is also excellent and fairly cheap to collect. The Crocodile covered Colibri Butane with Matching Case from West Germany is a favorite of mine. Lest to say, many watch companies, another is Elgin, ILL. had to resort to other products for a fast buck to bail them out of the dying high end watch market of the day. Elgin cigarrette cases are nice but not half as nice as any watch they ever made… Sad but True!
    JV -Time & Again- Appraisels and Restorations

  108. Ina Says:

    I’m looking for replacement of round lighters that fit into the top of table lighters. Anyone know where I can obtain these?

  109. paul duffield Says:

    i,ve recently came into possesion of a marusho lighter its shaped like a formula 1 racing car its excellent condition boxed what value does it have as i cant find anything about these on the web ,thank you

  110. Randy Fisk Says:

    I have an unusual type of lighter. it is a cigar lighter. The only information that i was able to find is the patent on this. I have searched the web to find one like it with out any luck. the best way for me to describe this item to you is for you to look at the patent. this is the patent info,,,, Patented May 5 1931 1,803,361… application filed August 31 1927 serial No. 216,763. The inventor is Jason C Stearns of Worcester Massachusetts. I hope you can help me with this matter of the questions of how many were made and what it may be worth. thank you for your time, i hope to hear back from you. R Fisk

  111. Jim Stein Says:

    I recently received a Win International lighter, still in the original case and never used. Original battery, no corrosion, with the instructions. My question is what do I really have here. Instructions were dated 1979, and the case is molded plastic with “Made in Japan” and “No 16″ on the back. I am just beginning to appreciate the nature of collecting lighters and I would welcome any advice.

  112. Terry VanArman Says:

    I have a red Parker lighter, dated Apr. 2, 1912, Austria, and what looks like the initials MFB inside a diamond shape. Came across it in my Grandfather’s things, and just wonder about it’s origin, etc..

  113. christopher john Says:

    Hi,I have what must be a modern copy of a ww1 petroleum brass trench lighter,somebody is clearly still making them.My question is ” where can I get a new wick from,the Zippo one’s are much to thick.Any help would be welcome.Thank you.cj.

  114. dike Says:

    i have a lighter that was made in japan it is called a aria when you light it it plays a tune does anyone know anything about them i neverv seena nother


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