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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Eagles Upset By Syracuse In First Round Of ACC TournamentThe Heights (subscription), April 25th
In the movie Buried, Paul Conroy—played by Ryan Reynolds—wakes up to find that he's been placed in a coffin and buried alive somewhere in Iraq. He has no idea how he's gotten there, armed with nothing but a Zippo lighter and a Blackberry. The movie...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
Bit of history: Zippo/Case Museum World War II artifacts heading to PittsburghBradford Era, April 23rd
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 World War II-era artifacts from the Zippo and...Read more
How Zippo's Founding Family Kept The Flame AliveForbes, April 23rd
Eight decades ago, an oil man named George Blaisdell observed a friend try—and fail—to light a lady's cigarette on a windy day in rural northwest Pennsylvania. The futile attempt sparked an idea in Blaisdell's mind: He'd create a windproof lighter...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
Zippo May Have Stalled In Suing Over Blu E-Cig IP, Judge SaysLaw360 (subscription), April 3rd
Loec further claimed Zippo hadn't heavily marketed its Blu lighter because of its poor performance, while Loec had spent almost $4.5 million to market its e-cigs by the time it received Zippo's cease-and-desist letter in March 2011, according to...Read more
The legend of Zippo lightersEconomic Times, April 1st
David Warfel , director, global marketing, Zippo Manufacturing Company is a man with many stories. Tell him you have your own personal story about that one 'click' lighter, and Warfel might roll his eyes. "I say, 'I am from Zippo' and everybody goes...Read more