A Zippo lighter is a reusable metal lighter produced by Zippo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, United States. Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the nine decades since their introduction, including military versions for specific regiments. Zippo lighters have been sold around the world and have been described as “a legendary and distinct symbol of America.” Since the company’s inception, Zippo lighters have been primarily manufactured in the United States, although the company ran an operation from 1949 until 2002 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
American inventor George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company in 1932 and produced the first Zippo lighter in early 1933, being inspired by an Austrian cigarette lighter of similar design made by IMCO. It got its name because Blaisdell liked the sound of the word “zipper,” and “zippo” sounded more modern. On March 3, 1936, the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent for the Zippo lighter.
Zippo lighters became popular in the United States military, especially during World War II—when, as the company’s web site says, Zippo “ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the US military”.
After World War II, the Zippo lighter became increasingly used in advertising by companies large and small through the 1960s. Much of the early Zippo lighter advertising 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, but they developed into a popular fashion accessory, with a huge variety of artistic designs produced.
A museum called “Zippo/Case visitors center” is located in Bradford, Pennsylvania, at 1932 Zippo Drive. This 1,400 m2 building contains rare and custom made Zippo lighters, and also sells the entire Zippo line. The museum was featured on the NPR program Weekend Edition on Sunday, January 25, 2009. 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 Zippo collectors.
In 2018, Zippo announced the sound trademark of its windproof lighter, making the Zippo lighter’s click officially one of the most recognised sounds in the world.
According to zippo.com; en.wikipedia.org. Source of photos: internet