The Zippo Manufacturing Company was founded by George Blaisdell in Bradford, PA, in 1932. That same year he created the first Zippo lighter, in an attempt to make cigarette lighters easier to use. He moved the chimney, added a sturdy hinged metal case, and offered the world an affordable $1.95 price tag. Zippos soon became very popular.
Zippos originally had the hinge on the outside, but shortly after they moved it to the inside of the case. These early models are very rare today.
Zippos were standard issue during WWII, as their sturdy windproof construction made them ideal for soldiers. But these wartime Zippos are hard to find, as many were left behind or lost. 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. This 'trench art' can increase the value of a Zippo lighter significantly.
Zippo became an aesthetic icon, and by the 1950s was making custom-decorated lighters for different companies, clubs, and teams to be used as advertising or gifts. Businesses gave monogrammed lighters to their employees for celebrations of service or retirements. Introduced in 1956, the Zippo Slim added a thinner, sleeker lighter to the company’s lineup. Today, Zippos can be found with any number of designs, ranging from sports team logos to tattoo-style art.
In addition to the wide variety available, Zippos are popular among collectors because each lighter since 1955 has been stamped with a date code, and for pre-1955 lighters, the year can be identified by a number of features of the stamping.
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Recent News: Zippo Lighters
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Hathcock History: Treasure Hunting on Padre IslandValley morning Star, October 1st
Older Zippo lighters have become quite collectible and, depending on their condition, can fetch upwards of several hundred dollars at auction. A friend of mine, let's call him, “Melvin,” found a set of false teeth once, while another man reported...Read more
Throwback Tulsa: Floating stage rocked us with great music and other thingsTulsa World (blog), October 1st
“Vinnie” Dombroski with Sponge performs on Tulsa's floating stage during ROAR tour at River West Festival Park in 1997. Dombroski was later arrested for using obscene language, but authorities declined to press charges. He spent three hours in jail...Read more
Bonnyman remains, lost since World War II, return to KnoxvilleKnoxville News Sentinel, September 25th
A Zippo lighter with his initials was also found nearby. Evans said the discovery brought moments of emotion, but the work of finding missing soldiers remains hasn't stopped — he's been emotionally detached, somewhat. This weekend, he expects that to ...Read more
Reid honored for 50-year milestone at ZippoBradford Era, September 25th
Her favorite career highlight was the celebration of Zippo's 500 millionth lighter on June 5, 2012, when she and A.J. Comilla carried the case and insert of the 500 millionth lighter onto the stage and presented them to Zippo president and chief...Read more
'Round the Square for TuesdayBradford Era, September 22nd
Lori Rounsville, library director at Hamlin Memorial Library in Smethport, wrote to us to say, “I wanted to report another Zippo sighting … Margaret Maron's new book, 'Long Upon the Land,' features a Zippo lighter on the front cover and the lighter is...Read more
Blotter: Shoplifting alleged in PalatineChicago Tribune, September 22nd
Jesse L. Tolbert, 51, of the 10500 block of South Yates Street, Chicago, was charged with retail theft Sept. 12 for allegedly taking a Zippo lighter, a bottle of root beer and a can of beer, valued at $15, from Walmart, 1555 N. Rand Road. Nestor P...Read more
Man arrested for allegedly shoplifting at LaFayette WalmartThe Catoosa County News, September 19th
11, around 5 p.m., 28-year-old Dustin Taylor Reed was witnessed taking a Zippo lighter and two fishing lures, along with a case of beer, into the public restroom. Reed was then witnessed exiting the bathroom with only the case of beer in hand. The...Read more
SLIPKNOT To Design Collection Of ZIPPO Lighters For 'Summer's Last Stand' TourBLABBERMOUTH.NET, April 18th
SLIPKNOT and Zippo Encore — the music program created by Zippo — have partnered for the band's upcoming "Summer's Last Stand" U.S. tour. The members of SLIPKNOT will be working with Zippo to design a collection of exclusive Zippo lighters that will ...Read more