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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Match World

Match World

This ambitious site showcases the 20,000-item Rankei Library matchbook collection, owned by the Japan Match Manufac… [read review or visit site]

Kensitas Silk Flowers

Kensitas Silk Flowers

Don Wearmouth and his wife showcase the 230 beautiful silk designs that were distributed free with Kensitas cigaret… [read review or visit site]

Matchbox Labels

Matchbox Labels

Jane McDevitt's huge Flickr photoset of matchbox labels, primarily Eastern European, from the 1950s and 60s. These … [read review or visit site]

Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising

This gallery of cigarette magazine advertising from the 1940s and 50s contains no surgeon general's warning, just p… [read review or visit site]

Matchbook Museum

Matchbook Museum

James Lileks' gallery of 400 matchbooks from coffee shops, hotels, motels, bars, banks, restaurants and more. Lilek… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1936 Zippo Lighter Square Nice Finish Used Condition Original Insert RareAuction Is For 1 New 3-barrel Vintage Zippo W/ Orig. Box & Pamphlet! 1940s Sport Zippo Htc 1938 Slash Corner 1939 Zippo 4 Barrel 14 Hole Original,all BrassVintage Zippo New! W/ Box & Pamphlet! 3 Barrel 1940s Pat. 2032695 Choose 1 Of 3!Zippo Lighter Vintage Smokey The Bear Secretary Of Agriculture 1971 Mib1976 Vintage Zippo Lighter 1776-1976 Independence Hall Philadelphia, Pa NibNever Fired Zippo 1932-1982 Commemorative Solid Brass Lighter Original W/ Box Zippo Lighter Vintage Pepsi Cola 1973 Mint In The Box 1959 Vintage Zippo Lighter - Klinger Quality Paint With Candy Stripe Box Nib!1985 Zippo Solid Brass Mgm Lion Metro Goldwyn Mayer Crest New With No BoxZippo Lighter Vintage 1956 Leather Wrap Rare Mint Vintage 1942 Zippo Lighter Gmc Trucks Galbraith Motor Company Rock Island, IlZippo Lighter Vintage 1956 Leather Wrap Rare Mint Unfired 1950's Barcroft Nordberg Machinery Zippo Table Desk LighterCollectible Vintage Zippo Lighter Circa 1976 Bicentennial Boxed Numbered1982 Vintage Brushed Chrome Zippo Lighter - Squirrel With Nut - Unique & UnfiredNew 1957 Zippo Advertising Lighter 4d Engineering Corp Never Mib Original Box Rare ..1960 .zippo Martin New Condition Lighter With BoxZippo Celtic Green Cross 2016 Emblem Rare And Awesome Collectible Lighter Zippo - Baseball Player - 1950's - Pat.2032695 - EngravedRare Collectible 1950's Zippo The Original Windproof Lighter Uss Ingraham Dd 694Zippo Vintage Town And Country Grumman Mint In Box1975 Vintage Zippo Lighter Midland Ambulance Etch And Paint Graphic - Unfired!Vintage *mint (b) Italian Lovers Scene 800 Silver Gold Gilt Enamel Zippo LighterVintage Kendall Motor Oil Brushed Chrome Advertising Lighter (zippo, 1983) New1943-45 Wwii Black Crackle Zippo Lighter New With BoxVintage Zippo Gold Filled Coca Cola Employee Service Presentation Lighter 19601952 Steel Case Vintage Zippo Lighter - Hamilton Lumber W/ Candy Stripe BoxOld Stock Zippo 1932-1989 Solid Brass Pipe Lighter Made In 1989 Bradford Pa. Usa1995 Mysteries Of The Forest Jaguar And Cub Zippo LighterVintage Zippo Lighter Mid- Late 40's Pat. 2032695 5 Barrel Hinge 14 Hole InsertVintage *mint (c) Italian Lovers Scene 800 Silver Gold Gilt Enamel Zippo LighterZippo Limited - The Flame - Wonderful And Very Rare Collectible LighterVintage *mint (a) Italian Lovers Scene 800 Silver Gold Gilt Enamel Zippo LighterRare Vintage Serta Mattress Lighter (zippo, Pat. Pend 2517191, 1953-1955) New1962 Zippo Table Lighter Corinthian Model Mib With Instruction Booklet 1955 Vintage Zippo Lighter - Lennox 10 Year No Accident Award - Pat # 2517191Rare July 20 1969 Moon Landing Zippo LighterTwo Panel & 3 Dimensional 1993 Zippo Lighter - 1935 Varga Girl "windy"Lot Of 13 Vintage Lighters Zippo Cigarette, Match Safes Vintage Filigree Italian Butterfly Silver Gold Gilt Lapis Enamel Zippo LighterRare Vertical Bark Gold Plated Brass Lighter W/ Monogram Area (zippo, 1977) New1999 Zippo Canada 50th Anniversary Lighter ~ 3209/6000H.e. Fox Heavy Hauling Greensburg Pa Zippo Lighter Nm/b Nos? Never Been Fired1970 Vintage Zippo Lighter - Rare Hunting Dog Etch & Paint Graphic! Unfired!1960s Zippo Red Stamp LighterVintage Zippo Advertising Lighter In Box With Instructions. Unused. 1997 Black Tie Nature’s Medley Zippo Lighter ~ Uncommon ~ ExcellentVintage 1937-50 Zippo Hillyard Missouri Advertising Lighter Unused/ Box 2032695Unused Chrome Zippo Lighter 1935 The Varga Girl In BoxZippo Dragon Amulet - Wonderful Dragon Lighter - Luxury Emblem Vintage 1976 Marlboro Zippo Lighter1968 Brushed Chrome Vintage Zippo Lighter - Firestone Award - New & Unfired!1957 Vintage Zippo Lighter - National Metalcrafters Inc. W/ Candy Stripe Box NibGraphic & Mysterious Advertising 1962 Zippo Lighter – Fps - MibVintage Zippo Lighter W/ Advertising Front-kaufman's Rye Bread Pat. 2517191Vintage Bacardi Rum Since 1862 Chrome Advertising Lighter (zippo, 1970) NewZippo 1946-53 Continental Engines Red Seal Lighter Good ConditionZippo Pocket Watch Emblem Lighter - Brand New And Rare Collectible