Zippo Lighter

Zippo lighter

The Zippo lighter, invented in 1933, earned fame around the globe during World War II for its reliability and, in some cases, its bullet stopping power.

In fact a vest composed entirely of Zippo lighters was proposed to the War Department in 1943. Okay, I made that last part up.  

Zippo was NOT one of the Marx Brothers. But the Zippo lighter is just as classic as Harpo, Groucho, Chico, Gummo, Moe, Larry and Curly.

During World War II, the Zippo lighter became famous around the world as the American lighter that could light and stay lit in the wind.

According to the Wikipedia article on the Zippo lighter,  “The Zippo at that time was made of brass, but as this commodity was unobtainable due to the war, Zippo used steel during the war years.”  Wikipedia should have said “since” not “as” but this is a quotation.

“While the Zippo Manufacturing Company never had an official contract with the military, soldiers and armed forces personnel insisted that Base exchange (BX) and Post exchange (PX) stores carry this sought-after lighter.”

“The basic mechanism of the Zippo lighter has remained unchanged.”

Why would the Zippo lighter mechanism remain unchanged after more than 70 years?

Why?  Perhaps because, like the Coleman Lantern, the Zippo lighter works!

The Zippo lighter makes a distinctive sound when it opens.  In fact, it has been documented that 97% of former opponents of the U.S. military actually poop their pants when they hear the Zippo lighter sound.  Okay, again, I made this up.  But is that so implausible?

The point of this text build-up, here are some interesting Zippo lighter designs.


Zippo Variations

Candy Apple Zippo

Zippo Lighter Classic, Crown Stamp, High Polish Chrome

Zippo Military Pocket Lighter

New Zippo Lighter Where Eagles Dare Emblem, Brushed Brass

World War II “Nose Art” and Pin-up Girl Zippos

What is nose art?  Take a gander.

See a longer film on nose art stills here.arrow point to nose art video

Now you know what nose art is, these Zippos recall an era when the world counted on young men flying brightly painted airplanes.

The Zippo lighter is a classic and recognizable symbol of American technology, a constant companion of members the U.S, military, and a rugged source of fire that lights and stays lit in the wind.  

Zippo Lighter


Zippo keeps adding new models, like this pretty one.

Zippo Hand Warmer

These really work and operate on a few pennies worth of fuel.  You carry the Zippo hand warmer in your pocket.

Have you ever owned a Zippo or know someone who does?  Did it ever fail?  Leave a comment!

About AstroGremlin

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21 Responses to Zippo Lighter

  1. Flachmann says:

    When you are shopping for these it is important to find sources where you can invest in fluid for less. Budget-minded cigar smokers purchase their lighter fluid in bulk on the Internet.

  2. The Zippo lighter also showcased in movies through the music. The “clicks” from a Zippo were instrumentally included in the song “It’s Probably Me” in the motion picture “Lethal Weapon III”, featuring veteran actor Mel Gibson and Danny Clover.

  3. Zippo Gravur says:

    Last year in 2007 Zippo again made news by launching the new ‘butane’ cigarette lighter which is also called Zippo BLU. Until these days Zippo Manufacturing Company has produced over 350 million wind proof lighters since 1932. With the exception of a few improvements in the flint wheel and some modifications in case finishes, Zippo’s original design remains virtually unchanged and still looks great and are easy to use.

  4. saad naeem says:

    great review there , i just got one for my b’day and planning to a led Zeppelin one for a friend. really in love with them.
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  5. Michael Belk says:

    The Zippo lighter is a relic worthy of historic mention. I have seen many lighters but nothing comes close.

    This is the time when people thought smoking was cool. The lighter made you look cooler.
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  6. Christian says:

    I’m from Europe and you don’t really find zippo lighters here. But I do own one exactly like the first lighter from the second bunch, that shiny colorful one.
    I’m a weekend smokers (mostly cigars) so I do use it from time to time.
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  7. Matt Harvath says:

    Zippo’s have a style. I don’t even smoke, but I used to carry one around just so I could pull it out when someone needed a light
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  8. Leo from CPA Salary says:

    Are the nose art Zippo lighters still available or only from WW2? I’m asking because the pictures you have look like they’re of new models.
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  9. nilesh says:

    This was a nice information on a lighter. The full story of Zippo lighter was interesting. Thanks for sharing it Astro.
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  10. Zippo lighter is great. Great review, I can say.
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  11. AstroGremlin says:

    Hey Cristian Stan, the nose art pin-up Zippos inspired the article! The classic brass and steel Zippos appeal to me. Like a chunk of working history.

  12. dave says:

    Nice write up and great pics on the zippo. I remember in highschool some people at zippos and they were very cool.

    If I were a smoker, I suppose a zippo would be a very important element to my backpack gear.

    The fact that they can light in the wind is fantastic. I have seen plenty of people spend more than a minute or two trying to light a cigarette. If they had a zippo, it would have been much easier.

    Bottom line: All smokers should strive to own a Zippo. If they really cannot or will not quit. 🙂
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  13. AstroGremlin says:

    Thank you, Melly, for your comment. Interesting that you remember it!
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  14. Melly Schug says:

    Honestly, I have never touched this type of lighter in my entire life.
    My grandpa even owns this before but he never let me hold it (I was still 2 years old that time).
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