• The Right Snuff: Decoding Chinese Snuff Bottles In 1978, I found a snuff bottle and didn’t know what it was. It intrigued me, so I bought it. Then I found some books about snuff bottles, and learned a bit about them and began looking for them. They’re all small; almost none are taller than 3 inches. And they’re made of all kinds of materials, from glass to jade, agate, precious stones such as tourmaline, even ruby matrix, amethyst, porcelain. T…
  • Where There's Smoke There's a Vintage Cigarette Lighter At the very beginning, my interest in lighters was about the mechanism. I had my first lighter when I was 14. I saved up my nickels and dimes. I grew up in Oakland, and bought my first cigarette lighter because I thought it was way cool. I didn’t smoke and I didn’t set fire to things. I just thought the lighter was really a beautiful piece of equipment and the whole idea of being able to push down…
  • Bill Lindsey on How To Read a Bottle My maternal grandfather and uncle got into bottles in about 1965 or ‘66 when I was in high school, and we started digging. My uncle was in Arizona, near some of the old mining camps there. Those were the glory days of bottle digging. People had access with four-wheel drive vehicles and gas was cheap and time-off was more abundant. Then years passed and people started really hitting the ghost towns…
  • Collecting Vintage Cigarette Lighters 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. A flame we can carry in our pockets is something that we take for granted, but it was much harder to make fire i…