Infobox Company
name = Zippo Manufacturing Company

type =
genre = Lighter Manufacturer
foundation = 1932
founder = George G. Blaisdell
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location_country =
location = Bradford, Pennsylvania
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George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company (located in Bradford, Pennsylvania) in 1932, and produced the first Zippo lighter in early 1933, being inspired by an Austrian cigarette lighter of similar design. It got its name because Blaisdell liked the sound of the word "zipper" and "zippo" sounded more modern. On March 3 1936, patent was granted for the Zippo lighter. [US patent|2032695]

Zippo lighters became popular in the United States military, especially during World War II — when, as the company's website says, Zippo "ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military." [ [ The story of the Zippo Manufacturing Company] at the company's website] The Zippo at that time was made of brass, but as this commodity was unobtainable due to the war effort, Zippo turned to using steel during the war years. While the Zippo Manufacturing Company never had an official contract with the military, soldiers and armed forces personnel insisted that PX stores carry this sought-after lighter. [Zippo Companion by Avi Baer and Alexander Neumark Hardcover - Dec 15, 2000) 192 pages Publisher: Compendium Publishing. ISBN-10: 1906347131. ISBN-13: 978-1906347130

] [An American Legend Zippo: a Collector's Companion by Avi R; Neumark, Alexander Baer (Hardcover - 1999)]

After World War II, the Zippo lighter became increasingly used in advertising by companies large and small through the 1960s. [cite journal |quotes= |last=Dininny |first=Paulette |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1998 |month=Dec |title=Keepers of the Flame: After Big Sales in World War II and Parts in Old Movies, Zippos Are Still Around, Often as hot Collector's Items |journal=Smithsonian |volume=29 |issue=9 |pages=44 |id= |url= |accessdate= |format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [ Scholar search] ( [ Letters to the editor in response] )] Many of the early advertising Zippo lighters are works of art painted by hand, and as technology has evolved, so has the design and finish of the Zippo lighter. The basic mechanism of the Zippo lighter has remained unchanged.

In 2002 Zippo expanded its product line to include a variety of utility-style multi-purpose lighters, known as the Zippo MPL. This was followed in 2005 with the Outdoor Utility Lighter, known as the OUL. These lighters are fuelled with butane. In August 2007 Zippo released a new butane lighter called the Zippo BLU. [ [] - Zippo Blu press release]

A museum called Zippo/Case visitors center is located in Bradford, PA at 1932 Zippo Drive. This 15,000 square foot (1393 m²) building contains rare and custom made Zippo lighters, and also sells the entire Zippo line. The museum also contains an enormous collection of Case knives. Since the Zippo company's 60th anniversary in 1992, annual editions have been produced for worldwide Zippo collectors.

From 1949 to 2002 Zippos were also produced in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. [ [ :: Welcome to Zippo Canada ] ] Since 1933, over 400,000,000 Zippo lighters have been produced.


Besides having gained popularity as “windproof” lighters, Zippo lighters are able to stay lit in harsh weather, due to the design of the windscreen and adequate rate of fuel delivery. As such, until recently they were highly popular with backpackers and within the military. Professional backpackers (operating in the wilderness) have however now turned away from the regular zippo lighter in favor of butane lighters, heavy-duty matches, and flint rods.

A consequence of the windproofing is however that it is hard to extinguish a zippo by blowing out the flame. However, if the flame is blown from the top down, it will easily be extinguished. The proper way to extinguish the lighter is thus to close the top half, which starves the flame of oxygen, but, unlike other lighters, an action like this does not cut the fuel. One of the recognizable features of Zippo is the fact that it burns with a wick. Rapidly opening the top lid produces a loud and easily recognizable clicking sound for which Zippo lighters are known. This noise can be attributed to the spring-toggle lever which is primarily intended to keep the lid closed when the lighter is not in use.


Current Zippos carry a suggested retail price between US$12.95 up to US$8,912.58, depending on the rarity and materials used in the given item. In 2001, according to the fall 2003 issue of "IUP Magazine," a 1933 model was purchased for $18,000 at a swap meet in Tokyo, and in 2002 the company bought one valued at $12,000 for its own collection. [ [ Zippo’s Czar] (brief profile of the company's top executive, with two photographs)] During the 2007 75th anniversary celebrations, Zippo sold a near mint 1933 model for $37,000. [] Zippo-imitation lighters (as the True Utility-brand) are also available, and are often (somewhat) cheaper than their official counterpart. [ [ True Utility Jet Flame TU23 priced at €10,43] ]

Zippo dates

From mid-1955 Zippo started year coding their lighters by the use of dots (.). From 1966 until 1973 the year code was denoted by combinations of vertical lines (|). From 1974 until 1981 the coding comprised combinations of forward slashes (/), and from 1982 until June 1986 the coding was by backslash ().

In July 1986, Zippo began including a lot code on all lighters showing the month and year of production. On the left of the underside was stamped a letter A–L, denoting the month (A = January, B = February, et cetera). On the right was a Roman numeral which denoted the year, beginning with II in 1986. Thus a Zippo stamped H IX was made in August, 1993. However in 2000, Zippo altered this system, changing the Roman numerals to more conventional Arabic numerals. Thus a Zippo made in August 2004 was stamped H 04.There was a myth that Zippo lighters were made by prisoners, and the number identified the prisoner, or their crime and sentence length. [ The Zippo lighter collectors' guide] - Zippo myths (page 4)] Another myth was that a Zippo stamped 'H' was inferior to one stamped 'A'.


The cases of Zippo lighters are typically made of metal and are rectangular-shaped with a hinged top. Inside the case are the works of the lighter: the spring-toggle lever that keeps the top closed, the wick, windscreen, thumbwheel, and flint, all of which are mounted on an open-bottom metal box that is slightly smaller than the bottom of the outer case, and into which it slips snugly. The hollow part of the interior box encloses a rayon batt which is in contact with the wick. The fuel, a volatile flammable liquid commonly known as lighter fluid (usually naphtha), is poured into the batt, which traps it. It also contains a tube that holds a short, cylindrical flint. The tube has an interior spring and exterior cap-screw that keeps the flint in constant contact with the exterior thumb-wheel. Spinning this rough-surfaced wheel against flint results in a spark that ignites the fluid in the wick. The batt used to have a small hole in the bottom to facilitate easier filling of lighter fluid; it was often used as a place to store extra flints. Newer models do not always have the hole, and instead have a flap in the bottom of the batt (with the hinge on one of the short edges). The words "LIFT TO FILL" are stamped in black ink multiple times on the bottom, with the intention being that the user should lift the flap and squirt the fuel in to the batt material under the flap. [Zippo users manual] All parts of the lighter are replaceable. In all there are 22 parts, and the Zippo lighter requires 108 manufacturing operations.

Zippo lighters are known for offering a lifetime guarantee: if a Zippo lighter breaks, no matter how old or how many owners it has had, the company will replace or fix the lighter for free. The only part of a Zippo lighter that carries no warranty is the finish on the outside of the outer case and lid.

The Zippo Blu

Zippo released the Zippo Blu in 2007. It is a butane torch lighter, with many features similar to that of the original Zippo. One feature is that it still uses a flint wheel. Some differences are in case design, no internal user-serviceable parts, and it uses butane instead of naphtha.


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Official site (Canada)]
* [ Zippo Blu Website]
* [ Zippo Collectibles]
* [ Zippo's Official MySpace page]
* [ How to spot a fake Zippo]
* [] Catalogs many Zippo hand-tricks
* [ Internal cut away of a Zippo]
* [ American Ethnography -- On collecting engraved Vietnam Zippos]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Zippo — Manufacturing Company Год основания 1932 Основатели Джордж Грант Блейсделл (англ. George Grant Blaisdell) …   Википедия

  • Zippo — Manufacturing Comp Tipo Privada Fundación 1932 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Zippo — Logo Zippo, Modell 020200: Regular Brushed Chrome …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Zippo — [zip′ō] trademark for a squarish, pocket size cigarette lighter with a metal case and a hinged lid n. such a lighter: also Zippo lighter * * * …   Universalium

  • Zippo — proprietary name of a brand of cigarette lighter, patented 1934 by Zippo Manufacturing Co., Bradford, Pa …   Etymology dictionary

  • Zippo — [zip′ō] trademark for a squarish, pocket size cigarette lighter with a metal case and a hinged lid n. such a lighter: also Zippo lighter …   English World dictionary

  • Zippo — Logo de la marque Zippo est une marque américaine de briquets, créée en 1932 par Georges G. Blaisdell, à Bradford, en Pennsylvanie. Sommaire 1 Historique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • zippo — n nothing. An embellished form of zip in the sense of zero. Zippo, originally an Americanism, is now heard elsewhere (albeit less often than zip). ► I checked and re checked and got zippo. (Hooperman, US TV series, 1986) …   Contemporary slang

  • zippo — n Nothing. He knew zippo about running the company. 1970s …   Historical dictionary of American slang

  • zippo — /ˈzɪpoʊ/ (say zipoh) noun a cigarette lighter. Also, zippo lighter. {US trademark} …   Australian English dictionary

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