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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Zippo earns ISO 9001:2008 certificationBradford Era, April 29th
Zippo Manufacturing Company, maker of the iconic Zippo windproof lighter and a growing line of lifestyle and outdoor products, announced it has earned ISO 9001:2008 certification by meeting international standards for quality management systems at the ...Read more
Sam Leith: The rich are on a different planet to you and meEvening Standard, April 25th
Here is wallyish over-familiarity dressed up as tribute. It is to turn Walter Pater's “hard, gem-like flame” into the flicker of a Zippo lighter waved overhead at a Coldplay gig. I should note by way of exception that it is permissible to refer to our...Read more
Movies|Guy Hamilton, Director of 'Goldfinger,' Dies at 93New York Times, April 21st
“If it was a cigarette lighter, it couldn't just be a Zippo, it had to be the latest exclusive toy. It had to be more glamorous. Bond couldn't have just any yacht — it had to be the biggest yacht in the world. We were creating a dream world, defining...Read more
Lighter sparks Fairhaven house fire that displaces fourSouthCoastToday.com, April 17th
FAIRHAVEN - An attempt to fill a Zippo lighter sparked a house fire Saturday night that displaced four occupants at 68 Weeden Road, Firefighter Wayne Oliveira said. Residents at the home, which is owned by Gary Rosa, were unable to extinguish the fire, ...Read more
Pennsylvania Company Produces 550 Millionth Zippo LighterSNJ Today, March 9th
BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania company is celebrating the 550 millionth cigarette lighter to roll out of its factory. Zippo Manufacturing Co. in Bradford makes the iconic lighters with the metal cases and lids that “click.” The Bradford Era...Read more
State and Union: 550 millionth Zippo lighter produced MondayOlean Times Herald, March 8th
Tim VanHorn (center), Zippo Manufacturing Co.'s vice president of operations, displays the brass case of Zippo's 550 millionth lighter, which was produced Monday in Bradford, Pa. Zippo President Greg Booth (left) and Zippo Chairman of the Board George ...Read more
The Zippo LighterHerald Review, March 6th
Looking at the Zippo lighter you could see it had been around the world. With different names scratched into its sides. Some of the names: Korea, Eddy, Ronny, Osage, Ken, Aratex, Wash, Calf, Manatewish, Wis, Hawaii, Minnesota, Harvey, Colorado, Japan...Read more
'Good neighbour' set himself on fire after filling Zippo lighter while drunk ...Gloucestershire Echo, February 16th
A man remembered by friends as a good neighbour died when he accidentally set himself on fire after filling a Zippo lighter, an inquest heard. Paul Leo Stanley, 56, was found with severe burns in the garden of his Cheltenham home in Salisbury Avenue, ...Read more