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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Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts — 80 performances on six stages this ...Peninsula Daily, May 22nd
Billy Joe Huels, the band's horn player, singer and songwriter, likes to light his trumpet on fire — turning it into “a big Zippo lighter,” as he calls it. Aside from the blazing music, “there are no explosions involved,” Huels said, adding that he's...Read more
Fareham navy veteran died from carbon monoxide poisoning in firePortsmouth News, May 21st
In his conclusion, he said: 'With the evidence available, the most likely cause of the fire was the lighting of a Zippo-type lighter in an area that had lighter fluid as well.' Mr Smeeton's sons attended the inquest and said their dad had always been a...Read more
The burning question: Where's the original Zippo Car?Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 7th
The Zippo Car was created in Pittsburgh by Gardner Display for $25,000. It was commissioned by George Blaisdell, founder of the Zippo Manufacturing Co. in Bradford, McKean County, and the inventor of the Zippo lighter. Company lore is Mr. Blaisdell had ...Read more
Where's the memento of a fallen son?Gaston Gazette, May 1st
“I was deeply moved by the news of Mr. O'Brien's lost lighter, and Zippo would like to support the recovery of this treasured memento of Lance Cpl. O'Brien's spirit and service,” said Greg Booth, Zippo CEO. A company representative called the family...Read more
Unique knife and lighter set to be auctioned off at Derby GalaBradford Era, April 29th
“With the Zippo and Case collaboration efforts so strong these days, we decided it would be the perfect time to have a lighter/knife commemorative set,” said Theresa Funk, Zippo marketing product manager, who is also co-chairperson for the Gala along...Read more
Zippo/Case Museum WWII artifacts heading to PittsburghGoErie.com, April 25th
Bradford, PA, April 22, 2015 – One of the Zippo/Case Museum's most historically significant pieces– a lighter that was hand engraved on a landing craft en route to the D-Day invasion – is currently on loan, along with several other WWII-era artifacts...Read more
Slipknot fail to set the world on fire with Zippo partnershipComplete Music Update, April 24th
“Who can think of a concert – especially a heavy metal or hard rock concert – without picturing Zippo lighters in the air, showing appreciation for the music that's being played?” asked Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor (a generation of blank-faced young...Read more
Zippo Encore Unmasks Partnership With Slipknot For 2015 Summer Tour DatesPR Newswire (press release), April 22nd
At each stop on the upcoming summer jaunt, Zippo Encore's pop-up retail shop will feature custom Zippo lighters, including several that have been designed personally by members of the band as part of the Zippo Encore Artist Custom Series Program...Read more