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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Recent News: Zippo Lighters
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Larson Jewelers Now Carries Groomsmen's GiftsDigitalJournal.com, July 29th
Larson Jewelers (http://www.larsonjewelers.com), a company known for its extensive line of tungsten wedding bands, now offers gifts that can be engraved, which are perfect for groomsmen. The carry money clips, Zippo lighters, and knives. These types of ...Read more
WR Case and Sons celebrates 125 years of making knivesPittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 26th
On Wednesday, he took the knife he built — an oversized copy of the 4?-inch Trapper knife the company sells — and set it in a permanent exhibit in the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford, McKean County, the home of both Case knives and Zippo lighters...Read more
'Round the Square for July 26Bradford Era, July 26th
In one chapter, one of the characters stabbed another man with a KA-BAR knife, then burned the fingerprints off his fingers with a Zippo lighter to avoid arrest. KA-BAR, as many of you surely know, is a subsidiary of Cutco Corp. in Olean, N.Y., and...Read more
The Wonderful Rise Of Meaningless ContentMediaPost Communications, July 24th
The Zippo lighter app in the early days of smartphones was a killer useless app. It was wonderful in its creative novelty and through irrelevance. Likewise, the sound effects machines, pop culture quote generators and fart buttons were marvelously...Read more
Review: 'Lucy' is way too crazyTampabay.com, July 24th
and shabby in an all-night diner, arguing a deranged point with the salt shaker before heading out to wash windshields for tips. There's "out there" and there's Besson, whose latest wackadoodle Lucy makes as much sense as a caveman with a Zippo...Read more
Zippo collectors gather in Bradford to swap lighters, storiesBradford Era, July 19th
Zippo collectors gathered in Bradford this weekend to swap lighters and stories as part of the Great Lakes Lighter Club event. It was the 10th anniversary of the Coopersville, Mich.-based lighter club, but it has been meeting in Bradford since the...Read more
Kids & Cancer Benefit Motorcycle Run slated for July 19Bradford Era, July 4th
There will also be an auction with a collectible Kids and Cancer Run Gift Set comprised of a “one-of-a-kind” Case knife, a 2014 Zippo lighter, and a 2014 Kids and Cancer pin, all set in a custom display case. Tickets can be obtained the day of the Run...Read more
Zippo Through The YearsABC News, July 4th
Since the Zippo lighter's first prototype in the 1930s, Zippo's success has been closely tied with American history. The company manufactures all lighters in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The image of The Statue of Liberty is the most reproduced image that...Read more