Zippo Lighters have been a favorite of Cigar and Pipe smokers since Mr. George Blaisdell invented the device in 1932. The lighter was so popular that Ernie Pyle, famous war correspondent during World War II, gave Mr. Blaisdell the nickname, “Mr. Zippo”. The name, “Zippo” was given to the lighter due to its derivation of the word “Zipper” because, as a Pennsylvanian who grew up near the “Zippers” Meadville, PA factory, George Blaisdell liked the name and sound of the word “Zipper”.
The original Zippo lighter is manufactured in Bradford, PA, the original price being $1.95. Later, in 1936, Zippo began incorporating metal insignias and engraving initials to “personalize” the lighter for its user.
The Zippo windproof lighter received Patent Number 2032695 on March 3, 1936, and throughout its history, has basically remained unchanged in its design.
Several key things have driven Zippos popularity
- The Zippo windproof lighter has always been a reliable source of flame. Its value and ease of use, fitting nicely in the users hand allows single hand operation by flipping its top open and rolling the strike wheel with the thumb. The operation has become a ritual of smoking just as is, the enjoyment of the art. Zippo reflects “cool” having appeared in hundreds of movie scenes during its 77 year history.
- Personalization of the Zippo windproof lighter, with the first corporate logo incorporated into 500 lighters in 1936, allows a further connection with the smoker. The original logo was Zippo’s cross-town Bradford neighbor, Kendall Refining Company.
- Zippo first ran its first national advertising campaign in Esquire magazine in December of 1937. And from 1934 to 1940, Zippo sold more than 300,000 lighters using punchboard advertising, a game of chance, which was later ruled illegal in 1940.
- Advertising continues today, with the product being sold in high-end Cigar and Pipe Smoke shops around the world.
Zippo Historical Facts:
- GIs have carried Zippo windproof lighters in every war from World War II to Afghanistan.
- The Zippo factory in Bradford, PA “churns out” up to 80,000 lighters, producing 12 million lighters a year.
- All Zippo products come with an unconditional operational lifetime guarantee. This includes repair of defective or broken lighters free of charge regardless of age or condition.
- Every U.S. Navy Ship, from small auxiliary vessels to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, has her own custom designed Zippo windproof lighter.
- From World War II to the present day, Zippo lighters have maintained a special relationship with the military being carried by troops in all Wars and Military engagements.
- The lighter is popular, around the worlds, with “lighter clubs” in the US, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, England, Japan and the Netherlands.
- Since 1932 Zippo has produced over 400,000,000 windproof lighters.
Zippo continues to innovate its timeless design by offering a “full line” of windproof lighters as well as other personalized products for the sophisticated consumer:
Table Lighters, Loss-Proof Lighters (Loop & Lanyard), Slim Lighters, Tape Measures, Money Clip Knives, Greenskeeper Golf Tools, Writing Instruments, Limited Edition Collectibles, ZipLight Pocket Flashlights, Fixxit and Pipe Master pocket tools, Cigar Cutters, Multi-Purpose Lighters, and BLU™ Pocket Butane Lighters launched in 2007.