The Story behind the Zippo lighter and Zippo Manufactoring Company

The story of the american super icon – The Zippo lighter

The background of Zippo Manufacturing Company is the story of its people, from the founder, George G. Blaisdell, to the many Zippo employees, customers, and collectors who definitely have played a part in its 80-year history. Their loyalty to Zippo has made this one of America’s great companies, one with a intense history which is detailed below.


The Zippo timeline gets started in the early 1930s, at the Bradford Country Club in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Mr. Blaisdell watched a good friend awkwardly using a cumbersome Austrian-made lighter. The lighter worked nicely, even in the wind, due to the design of the chimney. But its appearance was utilitarian. Its use required two hands, and its thin metal surface dented easily.

Later in 1932, he chose to refashion the Austrian lighter. Mr. Blaisdell constructed a rectangular case and attached the top of the lighter to the case with a hinge. He preserved the chimney design which protected the flame under adverse circumstances. The result was a lighter that appeared good and was uncomplicated to operate. The first Zippo lighter, currently featured at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford, was developed in early 1933 and sold for $ 1.95 each. And, from the very beginning, they were backed by Mr. Blaisdell’s unconditional lifetime warranty – “It works or we fix it free. ™” The name “Zippo” was created by Mr. Blaisdell. He enjoyed the sound of the word “zipper” so he put together different variations of the word and settled on “Zippo,” deciding that it had a “modern” sound.

Application for the original Zippo patent was submitted on May 17, 1934, and patent number 2032695 was granted on March 3, 1936. A second patent, number 2517191 was issued on August 1, 1950. The design of the Zippo lighter remains fundamentally the same to this day, with minor enhancements. In the mid-30s, Bradford’s Kendall Refining Company placed an order for 500 Zippo lighters. These are considered to be the first company-advertised lighters produced by Zippo and are tremendously collectible. Nowadays, companies continue to utilize Zippo lighters as an advertising medium and Zippo “advertiser” lighters remain among collectors’ favorite ones.
Starting in 1939, World War II had a thorough effect on Zippo. Upon America’s entry into the war, Zippo ceased production of lighters for buyer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military. The military initiative resulted in the production of the steel-case Zippo lighter with black crackle finish. The fact that countless American military personnel carried the lighter into battle was a significant catalyst in establishing Zippo as an icon of America throughout the world. Supplying the military market resulted in full production for the plant. This enabled Zippo to be sturdy financially and made it a feasible company.


At the end of the war in 1945, Zippo hit the road selling lighters to peacetime America. A promoter at heart, Mr. Blaisdell wished to create a car that looked like a Zippo lighter. In 1947, the Zippo Car was born.

1950s / 1960s

Starting in the mid-50s, date codes were stamped on the bottom of each and every Zippo lighter. The original objective was for quality control, but the codes have since become an essential tool for collectors.

The release of the Slim model in 1956 was a major milestone. This version was designed to appeal primarily to women. The first non-lighter product was a steel pocket tape measure, or “rule” as it was called, introduced in 1962. Other items have been added and deleted from the Zippo line since the 1960s. Many were primarily geared to the promotional products division. The roster includes key chains, pocket knives, golf greenskeepers, pen-and-pencil sets and the ZipLight pocket flashlight.

Perhaps one of the biggest influences on collecting is Zippo’s ties to Hollywood and Broadway.The Zippo lighter has been featured in more than 1,500 movies, stage plays and television shows over the years. Zippo lighters have “starred” in such diverse productions as “I Love Lucy” “The X-Men” and “Hairspray – the Musical.” Often the lighter is an essential prop, used as a device to move the plot forward or to reflect the personality of a character or time period being depicted.

On the music scene, Zippo lighters have been raised high since the 1960s as a salute to favorite performers, a gesture later dubbed the “Zippo Moment”. The famous Zippo “click” sound has been sampled on songs, and the lighters themselves have been featured on album covers, tattooed on rockers’ skin, and wielded in Rolling Stone photo shoots. With a rock resume like this, was created to showcase the talents of undiscovered bands across the country.

1970s / 1980s

Mr. Blaisdell passed away on October 3, 1978. He is remembered not only for inventing the Zippo lighter, but also for his generous and kind spirit. After his passing, his daughters, Harriett B. Wick and Sarah B. Dorn, inherited the business. In the 1980s and 90s, the company was owned by six members of the Blaisdell family, including his daughters and their children. Today, George B. Duke, Mr. Blaisdell’s grandson and Sarah Dorn’s son, is the sole owner and Chairman of the Board. Gregory W. Booth is President and CEO.

In the 70s and 80s, Zippo greatly expanded its overseas product sales and marketing efforts. As a result, Zippo lighters are now sold in over 160 countries. Strong sales in both the domestic market and emerging markets overseas, particularly China and India, contributed to record sales increases in 2011 and 2012.


In 1993, Zippo acquired W.R.Case and Sons Cutlery Company. Case manufactures premium hand-crafted knives, and offers a wide range of product categories, from traditional folding pocket knives and fixed blade sporting knives to limited-production commemoratives and collectibles. Established in 1889 and based in Bradford since 1905, Case has a rich tradition and many enthusiasts collect both Case knives and Zippo lighters.

It’s estimated that there are some four million Zippo collectors in the United States and millions more around the world. Their fervor and dedication to the brand is unmatched. To enhance the collecting experience, Zippo collector clubs around the world hold meet ups and other events throughout the year.

The Zippo/Case Museum opened in July 1997. The 15,000-square-foot facility includes a shop, museum, and the famous Zippo Repair Clinic, where the Zippo lighter repair process is on display. The Zippo/Case Museum Store was remodeled early in 2012 with textures like brick, metal, and leather; a wooden runway leading to the centrally located cash wrap illuminated by pendant drop lights that resemble fire; a combination of vintage artwork and lifestyle photography; and display shelves resembling the Zippo bottom stamp.

2000 to Today

In the fall of 2002, Zippo obtained trademark registration for the shape of the Zippo lighter. This was a major milestone in helping Zippo protect the brand from counterfeiters. Zippo also introduced a major new product category with the Zippo MPL®, multi-purpose lighter, a refillable butane utility-style lighter. Since then, a lot of new products have been added to the multi-purpose lighter line.

The Zippo windproof lighter has been a staple necessity for outdoor adventures since… well, for longer than 80 years. There are many stories of how the light, heat, or case of a Zippo lighter saved the day or saved a life in the company archives. In 2010, the company introduced an all-metal hand warmer that operates on Zippo premium lighter fluid and keeps hands warm longer than any other product on the market. In 2011, an emergency fire starter kit and flex neck utility lighter were added to the roster of Zippo Outdoor products. As the Outdoor products continue to show very strong sales worldwide, Zippo is developing a Zippo- branded line of robust camping gear and fire accessories scheduled to be introduced later in 2013.

Zippo’s different product line continues to grow, and now includes lighter accessories; butane candle lighters; watches, men’s and women’s fragrance, and lifestyle accessories for men; and the developing line of heat and flame products for outdoor lovers. Zippo also owns the Ronson brand of lighters and fuel.

In 2012, during its 80th anniversary year, Zippo production surpassed the milestone of 500 million lighters since Mr. Blaisdell constructed the first lighter in early 1933. The lighter is ingrained in the fabric of both American and global culture. In marketing parlance, the brand takes pleasure from an unaided appreciation rate of more than 98 percent. That means 98 out of every 100 people surveyed have knowledge of the Zippo name and lighter without being coached in any manner – an astonishing recognition factor.

Today, though most products are simply disposable or available with limited warranties, the Zippo lighter is still backed by its famous lifetime warranty, “It works or we fix it free.™” In more than 80 years, no one has ever spent a cent on the mechanical repair of a Zippo lighter regardless of the lighter’s age or condition

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The Exceptional Zippo lighters & the Zippo Accessories

All over the entire world – Adults and children have heard about the legendary Zippo lighter.

The stories about the high class lighter are many because of more than 80 years continued production.

People simply just know how a Zippo lighter looks like and what it is capable of.

Zippo lighter

The biggest Lighter Legend in history

A Zippo lighter is legend– It is an American Icon, a legend in history.

Zippo has become a lifestyle – especially with the current outdoor product line that is available.
Throughout the Great Depression in America, George G. Blaisdell, established the Zippo Manufacturing Company and the Zippo lighter that later became the greatest lighter in history.

It is an increasingly fashionable object for many people all over the world. Collectors are treasuring these fantastic Zippo lighters.

The Zippo lighter invention

The original idea for this lighter originated from a more complicated and clumsy Australian lighter.

Blaisdell implemented the core concept from this very lighter – a ‘wind proof lighter’.
Be aware that, there is one major difference between the two of these lighters!

A Zippo lighter is easy to handle and maintain. On second thought, it surely is much more reliable and elegant.
A traditional Zippo lighter consists of 22 components and usually requires 108 different manufacturing processes!

The name itself ‘Zippo’ is actually a derivative of the word ‘zipper’.

Everyone knows a ‘Zipper’ from pants, jeans, skirts, leather coats as well as other clothing.

Actually, the Zippo lighter was invented simultaneously with the ‘Zipper’.
Mr. Blaisdell liked the sound of the word ‘zipper’, so he found a cool way to incorporate it into his product.

Zippo lighters are known for their robustness and treasured reliability.

Zippo lighters have always been distributed and sold with an unlimited lifetime warranty on all mechanical parts.

The discovery of a Zippo lighter inside of a fish

In the late 1950s, someone discovered a Zippo lighter that was inside of a fish.

Later when the Zippo lighter was cut out from the fish, it actually lit on the very first attempt. It could be a true story – we will never know.

One thing however is for sure – Do not attempt this at home. Still, it definitely reflects how effective these lighters really are.

Zippo lighters in World War II

When America entered World War II, Zippo supplied the military with lighters. They ceased production for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military.
Undoubtedly, equipment i.e. Zippo lighters has to be tremendously reliable, if troops are depending on these lighters while they are in the thick of battle.
Now, most of the people who own a Zippo lighter are not going to find themselves in these kinds of horrible conditions, and thank God for that.
However knowing how reliable they really are is certainly a great bonus when purchasing one though.

The very first Zippo lighters were very basic in the style and design. The military initiative was the reason behind the production of the steel case Zippo lighter with the black crackle effect.
As time went by, various Zippo lighters began to feature various logos and designs.
In 1936, Kendall Oil Company placed an order for Zippo lighters with their business logo on them.

These Zippo lighters were the very first “promotional” Zippo lighters.

Today it is possible to place an order for Zippo lighters with custom business logos on.

A fantastic option, which surely has helped other business promote their own company during time.

There are thousands of different designs on the market today. Zippo manufactured its lighter no. 400 million in September 2003.

In the early 1950, Zippo designed the ‘Zippo Slim lighter’. These Zippo lighters targeted women by offering a smaller and thinner design.
From the 14-carat solid gold Zippo lighter, the Chrome Zippo lighter, to the more exotic or specially designed ones, there are numerous different Zippo lighters to choose from, making sure that it is possible to please everyone. Even the collectors are able to obtain ‘limited editions’ or ‘vintage’.

Zippo Maintenance

Although Zippo lighters are extremely reliable, some basic maintenance is necessary on every Zippo lighter.
It seems rather pointless to be the owner of a Zippo lighter, if you are not going to take care of it properly.
Zippo offers all the extra accessories you could possibly ever need in order to maintain your lighter.

You need to assure that there is the appropriate level of fluid, the right size of wick, and a flint to provide a spark.

These things are the basic maintenance steps that are required to perform for a Zippo lighter owner.

Zippo fluid, Zippo wicks, and Zippo flints are very inexpensive and easy to replace.

More information about the anatomy and maintenance of a Zippo lighter.

Zippo Accessories

There are additional accessories available for your Zippo lighter, for instance a Zippo lighter pouch to carry your lighter.
This also makes it finding your lighter a lot easier. No more digging through your pockets or shuffling through the contents of a purse, in a desperate attempt to find your lighter.
Zippo lighters really are, considered as very reliable – This is a fact and history surely supports this claim!

They are a great investment for anyone who uses a lighter frequently, and for people who only use one periodically.

Today it is even possible to purchase a Zippo lighter that runs on gas, yes that is correct a  Zippo gas lighter.

These are known as Zippo Blu lighers and Zippo Blu2 lighters – designed for all the cigar smokers with a remarkable hot flame.

We must of course not forget to mention the Zippo Mini MPL (Multi-Purpose Lighter) that also runs on gas.

Finally, there is the ‘Zippo OUL Lighter’ also known as the Zippo Outdoor Utility Lighter which is designed for general outdoor purposes.

Victorinox is so much more than just pocketknives!

I wonder how many actually knows that Victorinox is much more than just pocketknives?

Have you ever heard of the Swiss brand Victorinox, perhaps through your grandmother or grandfather?

If so, then there is a certain probability that it was related to the so-called ‘Swiss knife’, as they are world famous for making.

Swiss knives are pocket knives filled with many features such as knife, scissors, screwdriver, pliers, nail file etc.

The original color of a Swiss army knife is red with a white cross.

However, Victorinox does manufacture many other great quality products, than just the advanced pocketknives!

Let us take a closer look at what other products are available from legendary Victorinox

Victorinox Quality Cutlery

The Swiss company produces an excellent and elegant cutlery set made in a classic style with black grips.

The design is clean, simple, and the quality is in grade a.

You can see exactly such Victorinox cutlery in restaurants, where the cutlery have to appear elegant and functional.


Of course It should also be able to withstand frequent use, and therefore resistant to wear.

Cutlery sets from Victorinox comes in the​​ best quality steel possible, making the task to resist wear very easy!

Are you about to move out from your parents’ home or does your current cutlery just need a proper replacement?

Then a cutlery set from Victorinox is the obvious choice and a very good investment.

This investment covers a super quality cutlery from Switzerland in 24 parts.

Cutlery set includes knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons and unique exquisite quality!

Steak knives from Victorinox

It is possible to extend the above cutlery with super-sharp steak knives from Victorinox.


Steak knives are significantly sharper than normal blades and comes with a serrated cutting edge, making it an easy task to cut through steaks.

Kitchen knives from Victorinox

It is also possible to buy very good knives for different purposes in the kitchen.

Victorinox produces only quality knives in world class and they are sharp.


The blades are made of a unique blend of stainless and carbon steel, making them extremely sharp yet light in weight. In addition, a very special and unique technique is used in the manufacturing process of the blades. This ensures the blades retain their sharpness for a longer time compared to other knives on the market.

You can read more about sharp knives and the use of a dishwasher

The handle of a Victorinox knife is often made ​​of a material called Fibrox.

Fibrox is a synthetic material that is very easy to clean, which naturally leads to that the knife itself, is very hygienic to use.

A Fibrox handle has a slightly rough surface, ensuring that the knife does not slip in your hand, no matter how wet or greasy it is.

Many professional chefs around the world swear only to knives from Victorinox, precisely because of the exceptional quality and functionality these knives guarantees.

Potato peeler from Victorinox:

It can hardly come as a surprise at this stage, that Victorinox also produces potato peelers.

Victorinox Potato Peeler REX also called “Thin peeler” is simply nothing less than a brilliant product.


It is cheap in price and it provides unsurpassed functionality.

Peeling potatoes becomes similar to be part of an extremely pleasant adventure and the actual task itself, will be completed in no time, simply because this potato peeler is so well designed and super sharp.

Of course, the potato peeler comes in stainless steel.

It is also possible to purchase an alternative peeler from Victorinox – Victorinox Julienne Peeler

This one is superb in terms of chopping carrots. Your salads will look quite exotic.

With Victorinox, you are guaranteed that all your expectations will be met, when you choose to buy bread knives, steak knives, or cutlery set from Victorinox.

In other words, you get excellent knives and cutlery sets at an affordable price!