Out of all the accessories available on our webstore lighters have to be the most ubiquitous. Zippo Manufacturing Company, produce the Zippo Lighter that everyone knows. Sold in more than 160 countries worldwide, it’s a refillable, windproof metal lighter that is guaranteed to last, at the very least, as long as you do. Maybe even longer.
The wind-proofing comes from the windscreen that shields the wick and further reinforced by the fuel delivery system.
The iconic clicking that is heard when the lid of a Zippo is opened is cause by the spring-toggle lever which serves to keep the lid tightly shut on the lighter when not in use, starving the flame of oxygen and making sure there’s no accidental ignition.
Zippo Lighters are notoriously collectable, due to the fact that on the bottom of every lighter there is valuable information which can help you know its date of manufacture, which is invaluable for ascertaining its age. There has been many iterations of the classic zippo logo over the years (see below), some collectors will shell out a small fortune to secure an out of production logo!
The Historic Zippo logos
The founder of the Zippo Company was George G. Blaisdell, under his purview the Zippo became one of America’s greatest and most recognizable icons. The Zippo timeline begun in the early 1930’s when Blaisdell watched a friend struggle awkwardly to use an Austrian-made lighter. Blaisdell said the lighter worked well but unfortunately you had to use two hands. So, in 1932 he decided to reconstruct the Austrian lighter. He fabricated a small rectangular case and attached a lid with a hinge. This helped preserve the general chimney design and it would protect the flame, the resulting lighter was stylish and could be used in one hand.
He sold these new lighters for $1.95 each and backed each with the now famous lifetime guarantee: “It works or we fix it”. The first Zippo he made is now on display at the Zippo museum
Timeline of the Zippo Lighter:
World War ll had profound impact on the Zippo lighter. By the time America entered the war in 1941, most Zippo lighters bought were produced for the U.S Military. At the end of the war in 1945 Zippo returned to selling their well known lighters on the consumer market. Enamoured with his own product Blaisdell wanted to hit the road with a car that looked like Zippo lighter and in 1947 the Zippo car was born.
In the mid-50s Zippo started to stamp date codes on the bottom of every lighter they made to ensure quality control. In 1956 Zippo launched a slim lighter, Blaisdell’s reasoning that the slimmer lighter would appeal to women, but much to his surprize it prove to be a hit with men, too!
In the 1960’s the iconic tradition of holding a lit Zippo high during a particularly intense ballad became a beloved tradition.
George G. Blaisdell passed away in October 1978. He is not only remembered for inventing the Zippo, but also for his kind spirit. After his passing his daughters and other family members inherited the business. The 1970’s seen the Zippo begin to expand into oversea markets.
The Zippo museum opened in July 1997, the museum is also the home of the world-famous Zippo repair clinic.
In the 2000’s Zippo launched the very first Zippo multi-purpose lighter (MPL).
Zippo continued the expansion in overseas markets, particularly into China.
Zippo is a global icon of reliability, its lifetime guarantee still in place in today's world of planned obsolescence. The Zippo is an icon, ingrained into American culture.