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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Can a Return to Winemaking Save Kentucky's Soul?Eater, February 25th
high school acquaintance from Poosey Ridge — a one-stop-sign hamlet in the eastern Kentucky county where I grew up — was croaking at me in a hushed way, tapping his Zippo lighter anxiously on the bar. "You know what I heard?" he said. "I heard that...Read more
'Hawaii Five-0?: So I've got that going for me, which is niceseattlepi.com (blog), February 22nd
There's a struggle and Randy Couture drops the lighter at Eleni's feet on the petroleum saturated carpet. Somehow she doesn't burst into flame, even though a Zippo's whole thing is that it doesn't blow out. I mean, I'm not trying to see Eleni burn, but...Read more
Gear • Zippo Hand WarmerSTLtoday.com, February 11th
While bumping around on the zippo.com website, check out the brushed chrome, flip top lighter that the cool guys and villains use on television to burn stuff down, blow stuff up and kill ghosts. Replacement burners and refills are available, sold...Read more
Aflame with sales: Zippo sees record year in 2014Bradford Era, February 6th
Zippo is beginning to sell a rugged, all-terrain portable barbecue grill as part of its outdoor line. More offerings in the Zippo line are certainly attracting customers' attention. Yet, Booth said, “the real workhorse continues to be the Zippo...Read more
'Round the Square for FridayBradford Era, February 6th
According to Andy, on Tuesday night's episode of the show “Storage Wars,” a woman who found an antique cigar lighter took it to a pawn shop to find out how much it was worth. “Guess what he used to fill the lighter with? He pulled out a Zippo lighter...Read more
Nudie keychains and other junk drawer treasuresThe News Journal, February 5th
My grill lighter wasn't working, and I needed to light the charcoal to do some wings for the Super Bowl. A Motorola Razr flip phone, some 9-volt batteries and a Zippo lighter (out of fuel) were all pushed to the side in my search. A belt for a vacuum...Read more
Zippo heritage comes 'full circle' with collectible of the yearBradford Era, February 5th
The Full Circle lighter is the latest addition to The Collectible of the Year series, which started in 1992 and continued for a decade before returning in 2013 with the Windy lighter, one of the most popular issued by Zippo. The intricate design is...Read more
Review: STOMP opens 6-show run at CoveyDaily Herald, February 4th
So it's not too far a stretch of the imagination to say that eight performers can inspire viewers with trash cans, oil barrels, Zippo lighters, push-brooms and a couple brown paper bags. The show opens with a single street sweeper simply tapping the...Read more