Zippo Lighters: Dates in History
1932 - Zippo Manufacturing Company was founded in 1932 by George G.
Blaisdell. He developed the Zippo lighter in late 1932. The first lighter
was produced in January or February 1933. The first Zippo is on display at the Zippo/Case Visitors Center with a note in Mr. Blaisdell's handwriting.
1933 - The first Zippo lighters were square-cornered and formed from
rectangular brass tubing. Top and bottom pieces were soldered to the
hollow tubing to form the lid and bottom of the case. The hinge was soldered on the outside, and the unit was chrome-plated.
1934 - Decorative diagonal lines were engraved across the top and bottom of the lighters.
1935 - This year marked the beginning of the specialty advertising
business for Zippo. Customer trademarks were
designed from small metalliques that were glued to the case and color filled.
1936 - The hinge was removed from the outside of the case and placed
on the inside. Only the hinge barrel was visible.
This was also the first year for personalizing the lighters with initials.
1937 - This was the beginning of the brass drawn case with a rounded
top and bottom. As a result of the rounded edges, the lid
and bottom could be formed as a whole, eliminating the soldering process necessary on earlier models.
1939 - The 14 karat solid gold lighter was introduced. It was available in both a plain model and an engine-turned model.
1943 - Due to shortages of brass and chrome during World War II, cases
were made of porous steel and painted with a thick black paint that was
to a black crackle finish. Zippo's entire production was distributed to Army exchanges and Naval ships' stores. WWII black crackle lighters were
stamped "PATENT #203695". Other lighters produced 1937-1950 were stamped "PATENT 2032695". Praised in countless wartime stories, the Zippo
windproof lighter played an important part in World War II lore. Ernie Pyle, the legendary war correspondent, wrote: "The Zippo lighter is in great
demand on the battlefield...(it) is the most coveted thing in the Army ".
1946 - Following the war, cases were drawn from nickel silver only.
An indented can style bottom was incorporated. 1949 Town and
Country designs featuring a
pheasant, mallard, geese, sailboat, trout, setter, horse and lily pond were added to the line. These designs were engraved four one-thousands of an inch and air
brushed with sometimes up to 14 different colors of paint. They were then baked to a hard glossy finish.
1950 - Full cover leather lighters were introduced. The colors available
were red, blue, green, tan calfskin, and English Moroccan grain leather
with a gold leaf border. A new series of sterling silver lighters also became available in plain finish or an engine-turned design.
1951 - During the Korean War, Zippo cases were manufacturedfrom steel
until late 1953, when they returned to the chrome plated brass.
The full cover leather lighter was replaced by a wrap-around application for the lid and bottom.
These were available in brown alligator, red, brown and green reptile and black or blue Moroccan leather.
1955 - Silver filled and gold filled lighters were designed and introduced.
1956 - Late in 1956 the slim Zippo lighter was added to the line. It appeared as a drawn brass case with a high polish finish.
1957 - Slim lighters in gold filled and silver filled styles were manufactured.
Commercial trademarks on lighters became available.
The chemical etching and color fill process was perfected.
This process enabled Zippo to produce the most intricate and detailed designs in any number of colors.
1960 - The slim 14 karat gold lighter was introduced.
1969 - In honor of the NASA moon landing, a Moon Landing lighter series
was developed. The Space series continued periodic editions into the
1990's with the latest being Zippo: A Remembrance, Vol III - Space Explorations .
1970 - In keeping with the interests of the early 70's, Zippo introduced a Zodiac lighter series. All twelve Zodiac signs were available on slim lighters only.
1972 - Zippo developed a new and lasting concept in the application
of lighter designs when the woodgrain model was introduced.
Pressure sensitive vinyl appliqués, simulating a woodgrain design, were placed on the lighter case.
1974 - During this year, the now classic Venetian design lighter became available.
1976 - In celebration of our nation's 200th birthday, a commemorative
Bicentennial lighter was manufactured. Also in 1976, the Golden Elegance
series was introduced. In keeping with the clothing fashion at the time, Zippo developed a denim-look lighter.
1977 - The handsome Golden Tortoise was added to the Zippo line this
year. An acrylic chip was attached to a lighter case, transforming it into
the attractive Tortoise. A small area of the lighter was reserved for initials.
1978 - An acrylic chip is again used to make the colorful Ultralite series. Colors: green, brown, royal blue, red, black and ivory.
1982 - Zippo celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an original design
brass lighter, which featured diagonal lines on a round corner case and
seal reading "Fifty years and glowing stronger". The companion lighter was identical with the seal lustre etched.
1984 - The black powder coat was introduced. It is applied electrostatically
to the brass lighter case. Soon after, four more matte colors
were introduced: blue, burgundy, green and grey. A year later, the imprinted Zippo logo and a border were added.
1986 - The camouflage lighter was introduced.
The design was surface imprinted in two colors on the matte green powder coat. It was available in regular and slim models.
Many powder coat lighters were surface imprinted with logos.
1988 - The 1932 replica, a reproduction of the original Zippo lighter
produced in 1932 was introduced. These lighters have the potential to become valued collectibles. In 1997 it was learned that even though
Zippo was founded in 1932, the first lighter was actually produced in early 1933. These 1932 replicas were inaccurate by one year.
1990 - In the Wild West, Indians, gunfighters and sheriffs became legends.
This series of six lighters
depicted the Pony Express, covered wagons and the railroad opening new territories in America.
The Presidential Series. Zippo honored six popular presidents:
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
1991 - Civil War Series. This collection featured beautiful color illustrations
of soldiers of the U.S. Civil War. Union Army:Militiaman, Infantryman,
Trooper, Petty Officer, all on blue matte. Confederate Army: Cherokee Rifleman, Cavalry Trooper, Infantryman, Prison Guard, on grey matte.
1992 - 1992 marked not only the 60th Anniversary of Zippo Manufacturing
Company, but also the beginning of the "Collectible of the Year",
presented in a collectible tin. Customer and collector response was so great that the tradition continued with a new collectible lighter each year
for the next ten years. Available for only a limited time, the early sets have already become highly-prized editions for collectors.
Collectible of the Year
60th Anniversary Lighter: Zippo introduced this limited edition
midnight chrome lighter with a pewter
60th Anniversary emblem. Each lighter was displayed on a plush velour platform in a decorated tin.
1993 - 1994 - Cool and contemporary, the Geometric Collection featured an
exotic group of six Zippo lighters consisting of orange grid,
symmetric circles, assorted symbols, varied geometrics, modern abstract and cartoon abstract.
The Corvette Collection commemorated the 40th anniversary of
the popular American
sports car. Featured in the series were the 1953-57-63-69-78-86 and the 1991 models.
Zippo entered the exciting world of motorsports in 1993 with
sponsorship of the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix of Watkins Glen. Also new in
was the Zippo Motorsports Collection featuring popular NASCAR drivers and Winston Cup graphics. The following year, Zippo signed on
with Team Kendall as an associate sponsor of Sabco Racing's #40 NASCAR entry.
In tribute to Watkins Glen and the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix,
Zippo created a Vintage Collection
of thirteen special edition products imprinted with one of three racy Watkins Glen logos.
Zippo commemorated the breaking of an 83-year tradition at Indianapolis
Speedway as NASCAR drivers took the track in the Inaugural Run of the Brickyard 400.
Collectibles of the Year 1993
Collectible of the Year The Varga Look: The windproof beauty,
Windy, was introduced in 1937 in Zippo's first national ad.
The 1993 collectible lighter featured Windy cast in pewter and attached to the
lighter as a two surface emblem. She was also pictured on the lid of the collectible tin.
1994 - Collectible of the Year
D-Day: Zippo saluted the 50th anniversary of D-Day with its
1994 D-Day Commemorative lighter.
Its black crackle surface replicated the famous World War II finish, and the antique brass emblem was patterned after
the sleeve patch worn by Allied troops. General Eisenhower's inspirational June 6, 1944
message to the troops is reprinted inside the lid of the round collectible tin.
Also introduced in 1994 was the Allied Heroes Companion set,
which saluted these legendary war heroes: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Gen. Charles de Gaulle, Gen. Bernard L. Montgomery, and Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley. (See entries under 1946 for more WWII information.)
1995 - Collectible of the Year
Mysteries of the Forestª: The 1995 Limited Edition collectibles
marked several firsts for Zippo. For the first time, the images on
the lighters in a set combined to present a larger picture. It was the first Limited Edition to use Zippo's exciting new TechnigraphicTM process.
And for the first time, the single lighter, Jaguar and Cub at Turtle FallsTM shared a graphic connection with the four lighter
Mysteries of the Forest set. The collectible set rested on a black velvet liner in a full color collectible tin.
1996 - Collectible of the Year
Zippo Salutes Pinup Girls: More than sixty years ago, a beautiful
young woman introduced the Zippo windproof lighter to the world
in Zippo's first national advertisement. Zippo Salutes Pinup Girls paid tribute to "Windy" and the "windproof beauties" that followed her. Zippo's
Pinup of the Year was Joan, the 1996 Collectible. The Four Seasons four lighter companion set introduced Holly,
April, Sommer, and Ida Redd, a collectible beauty for each season of the year.
1997 - Collectible of the Year
The 65th Anniversary lighter featured a nostalgic Art Deco pewter
emblem. An exclusive case stamp was created specifically
for this collectible. The commemorative tin presented a collage of Zippo advertising art and logos from the Zippo archives.
As companion pieces, Zippo also had a 65th Anniversary Personal
Accessory Collection. These stylish personal accessories were available
exclusively to purchasers of the 1997 Limited Edition Collectible. The classic Art Deco style of these pieces recalled the glamour of the 1930's
and coordinated beautifully with the Zippo 65th Anniversary Commemorative lighter. The collection included a tie bar, tie tack, key ring,
cuff links, Lady Barbara reproduction table lighter, ties and scarves.
Are you ready for some football? Zippo's got every team in the
NFL on classic high polish chrome lighters. The officially licensed product
has each team name on the lid, with the matching team logo and helmet over a swatch of the team colors on the body of the lighter.
No matter who you root for, AFC or NFC, your team is packaged in a Zippo tin with a custom "Officially Licensed Product" sleeve.
Zippo: A Remembrance, Volume II
During World War II, the Zippo lighter became known as "the
GI's Friend" and was treasured for both its reliable performance and
as a reminder of home.
To commemorate the people and events of World War II, Zippo created Volume II of "Zippo: A Remembrance".
The four high polish brass lighters all had square shaped emblems depicting the Battle of Midway, the Flying Tigers,
Desert Fox and the Third Army. A brushed brass key holder engraved with "Victory Day, 1945-1995, Japan Europe"
rounded off the set which was displayed in a maroon leatherette volume. Each set was hand numbered.
Late 1997- Zippo: A Remembrance, Volume III
Space Explorations salutes the evolution of the American space
missions, from project Mercury through the Space Shuttle.
Third in the series of Zippo: A Remembrance collectibles, this commemorative set is limited to only 10,000 volumes.
Each blue leatherette book contains 4 high polish chrome lighters with vividly colored TechnigraphicTM representations
of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs.
1998 - Collectible of the Year
Before its mysterious disappearance, the Zippo Car wonAmerica's
heart, appearing in parades, expos and fairs in all 48 states
during the late 1940s and early 50s. Nearly 50 years later, a replica of the product mobile embarked on an international voyage
to more than120 countries globally - as the 1998 Limited Edition Collectible of the Year.
2000 - Collectible of the Year
For its 2000 Collectible of the Year Zippo honored one of the
most magical and essential elements known to manÉfire.
The millennium edition Keeper of the Flame lighter symbolizes respect, power, and control over manÕs most vital element.
Prehistoric man discovered fire, but Zippo has perfected it.
ÒKeeper of the FlameÓ is ninth in the series of
limited edition Collectibles of the Year. The lighter features a first
of its kind, earth-toned,
embossed, genuine leather medallion encased in an antique brass frame on a classic brushed chrome lighter. A special bottom stamp and certificate
of authenticity validates the lighter as a genuine millennium edition Zippo lighter. The leather stamp that appears on the lighter is graphically
reproduced on the round keepsake tin. Because every Zippo lighter is guaranteed for life, you will forever be the Keeper of the Flame.
2001 - Collectible of the Year
Zippo looked to the silver screen for its 2001 Collectible of
the Year. Hollywood is a familiar place for the Zippo lighter, boasting
1000 supporting roles throughout its career. The Zippo lighter has shared the screen with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, John Wayne,
Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Nicole Kidman,and John Travolta. There is no other star with a list of credits like that.
ÒHollywoodÕs Leading LightÓ is tenth in
the Collectible of the Year series. The lighter introduced ZippoÕs
gold dust finish.
Embellished with a cloisonné emblem that replicates the pink terrazzo stars that line the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
ÒHollywoodÕs Leading LightÓ has a unique bottom stamp and comes in a custom star-shaped tin.
Unlike some stars that fade away, the Zippo lighter is guaranteed to shine forever.
2002 - Collectible of the Year
To commemorate our 70th Anniversary, Zippo proudly introduced
"Friends for a Lifetime". Limited to only 70,000 worldwide, this
eleventh and final Collectible of the Year is a distinctive brushed brass 1941 replica, with full-faced brass emblem and exclusive bottom stamp.
Colorful tin pictures Zippo collectors and fans from National Zippo Day and the Zippo/Case Swap Meet.
A special volume of personal stories from Zippo owners is included with this commemorative set only.
For 70 years, Zippo has been forging friendships worldwide.
Carried to work, to important milestone events, even into battle,
Zippo lighters are part of our lives and our history. Every Zippo lighter has a story - funny, poignant,
even heroic - whenever or wherever a Zippo lighter clicks open, a conversation starts.
zippoclick.com Website is launched
The first official Zippo Click Collectors Club website is launched in June, 2002; right after the Zippo/Case International Swap Meet.
Zippo Click Club Collectible
The first official Zippo Click members-only lighter was the popular brushed chrome 1941 replica, showcasing the Zippo Click logo in full color.
Members had the option of having their lighter engraved with
their member number.
Lighters for the first 1,000 Zippo Click members also carry the ÒCharter MemberÓ designation engraved on the front lid.
Several distinguishing characteristics identify the 1941 replica.
The 1941 case has flat planes with sharp, less
rounded edges where the front and back surfaces meet the sides. The lid and the bottom are joined with a four-barrel
hinge, just as they were on the original 1941 design, rather than the current five-barrel hinge.
The inside unit closely replicates the design of the original
1941 model inside unit. Like the outside,
the sides of the inside unit are flatter, with squared edges where they meet the front and back surfaces.
The chimney has fewer holes than the current inside unit, and a hollow
rivet holds the striking wheel in place, similar to the original 1941 design.
What else but the entertaining click clack tin would do for
packaging this first Zippo Click special edition
lighter? Printed with colorful graphics and the Zippo Click logo, the tin itself is a collectorÕs item.
Push the center circle and the tin clicks open; squeeze the sides of the lid, and it clicks closed.
A certificate of authenticity completed this special Zippo Click introductory commemorative.
Zippo Canada Final Production Run
Zippo Canada opened in August 1949 and was the only place other
than Bradford, PA, where Zippo lighters were ever produced.
Operations included the fit-up of the lighter case and insert, surface customization, cleaning, repair clinic, and packaging.
The final production run collectible signifies the end of an
era with the closing of the Zippo Canada plant in July 2002.
The Zippo Canada commemorative is limited to 25,000 pieces worldwide. Each individually numbered silver plated lighter carries
the final imprint of the Zippo Canada bottom stamp, and is packaged in a replica gift box with a Certificate of Authenticity.
The engraved design on the lighter features a maple leaf flanked
by the operation dates of the Zippo Canada plant.
Banners above and below the central design identify it as the Zippo Canada CollectorÕs Edition,
and engraving on the lid confirms this as the Final Production Run.
Since 1932 Zippo has manufactured nearly 400 million
windproof lighters. Every Zippo lighter is identified by a
manufacturer's code stamped on the bottom of the lighter to identify its month and year of manufacture.
To request a Collectors Guide or for further information, contact:
Consumer Relations Department Zippo Manufacturing Company 33 Barbour Street, Bradford, PA 16701
1985 - Special edition
Zippo Blue with tin - Butane - 2009