• 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…
  • Signs, Tins, and Other Advertising Antiques How did I get started collecting advertising antiques? My dad was a lecturer and tutor in graphics and art from the 1960s onwards, and was into vintage automobiles and advertising, like vintage signs, pumps, and globes. So I spent the large portion of my childhood going to auto swap meets and antiques fairs, I think it all started from there. The first thing I collected was old bottles. In one …
  • 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…
  • The Disappearing Art of Porcelain Signs I liked to collect things even as a child. Things that didn’t cost anything, like different colors of stones. There was something about the advertising that I liked, so in the mid-1970s, I started to pick up porcelain signs. I got heavier and heavier into that, and by the 1980s, I had a fairly substantial collection. As a result of collecting telephone signs, I would run into other advertisin…