What’s Coveted by Soldiers and Salespeople Alike?

A Zippo lighter!

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing a lighter with a windproof flame and a lifetime repair guarantee! But wait, there’s more! You’ll also get this free set of ginsu knives and a bamboo steamer. Sorry, I got carried away in my announcer role.

So even though I don’t smoke, can’t even use a lighter (seriously–I know, I’m a complete goober), it was mandatory to stop at the Zippo Museum in Bradford PA. And it worth it.

Hello! Americana!

They call it “pocket art.” I call it awesome. Band names, logos, engravings, hand-done carvings. Crude to stunning. It’s as personal as can be.

American Flag made of Zippo lighters

American Flag made of Zippo lighters

How a Lighter Becomes an Icon

Developed in 1931 (and named after the recently invented zipper!), it was a hit on the battlefields of WWII because of the windproof flame and nearly indestructible design.

By 1935 logos were added to the steel design, inspired by an Iowa insurance company who bought 200 as contest prizes for their staff. By 1965, 60% of Zippo’s business was advertising specialty.

On June 5, 2012 they made their 500 millionth lighter. Shazzam!

Fun Advertising

Zippo Ads

Images courtesy of Bing.com

Nearly Indestructible

With a lifetime guarantee, you can return your (expensive) Zippo lighter and they’ll repair it if possible or replace it when necessary. If I spent $30 for a base design and more for something sentimental, then I’d want it fixed, too.


Damaged Zippo Lighters


Do you have a Zippo lighter? What’s the design?
Got a story to go with it? Please share!

5 Responses


Zippo as an ad specialty! Why not brand with the best!

Did you ever imprint Zippos?


My brother-in-law carried a Zippo throughout WWII and after. I can remember him standing and flipping the lid back and forth while he was thinking. Lighting your friend’s cigarette with you Zippo was an expression of friendship. I think his name or more likely his initials were engraved on it.


Think I had one or two decades ago. Oh, well.
But here’s my test/question for the Zippo –
Would it have lit at Niagara Falls???


I was a dedicated smoker for about 6 years a couple of decades ago. I had a slender black zippo and loved it. I liked the ritual of filling it and replacing the parts as needed. I know it comes with a lifetime warranty but my friends also had them and we agreed we were much more likely to lose it than break it. We were right.

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