A brief sampling of very old lighters that still get the job done.
If you have come to the conclusion that using collectible vintage lighters to make
fire is the path you’re going to follow, then I want to say be careful. Any time you are working with any kind of fuel you need to make certain that your workspace is properly vented.
I’ve been doing this for a while and fortunately I haven’t had any catastrophic events. I have however, had a fire or two that if I hadn’t been prepared could have led to something really bad.
If fluid leaks or spills wipe it up and give it time to let fumes dissipate. Working on these old lighters can be a lot of fun but remember playing with fire is not a joke.
Butane Fuel Lighters
There are many vintage lighters out there that require butane to fuel them. Some of these butane lighters produce a jet type torch flame while others produce a flame more akin to that of a wicked oil lighter.
One key advantage with these butane lighters is the fuel tanks are fully sealed. This will result in much better fuel economy because your fuel can not evaporate.
One of the major negative aspects of vintage butane lighters is the plumbing. If you go to pump some fuel in and you end up spraying butane all over the room, I wouldn’t try to put any more in it. Better to leave that to a professional because some of them can’t be fixed anyway.
Zippo Fuel, Ronsonol, etc.
You can surf about the web and find folks who laud one brand of fuel over all others. I don’t know if I really favor one over the others, I can’t remember ever getting a can of fuel and thinking, “that fuel really sucked.” That being said, I tend to use Zippo fuel because I have discovered some clever uses for their metal cans. And it’s available pretty much everywhere.
But I have used some of the others from time to time and they all seem about the same to me. Worse comes to worst you can always dry out your wick lighters or purge your butane lighters if you don’t like the way they behave when set aflame.
And possibly the greatest advantage of all with using a refillable(new or used) lighter is that a multitude of fuels could be used.
I was just thinking back to when I said earlier that I don’t remember buying bad fluid. Do you remember that? And that is the truth but I just thought to myself, “how many times have you bought a disposable lighter that sucked at doing the job you bought it to do?”
Happens all the time doesn’t it? Yet another reason to stop buying those plastic products and start using a real tool that was intended to make fire by someone who knew how important that is. Sorry, I’m getting off the soapbox now.
The Zippo or the Dunhill?
This article is not intended to be comprehensive but rather a first conversation if
you’ve never used vintage or refillable cigarette lighters but are intrigued by the idea.
As such, I will highlight two lighters that are not only dependable but incredibly simple in design and easy to maintain.
First is the Zippo. To be such an American Icon very few people seem to understand how a Zippo actually works. They get pissed off about having to add fuel all the time. If you use a Zippo(or any wick lighter for that matter) regularly that lighter tends to work better and more smoothly than a lighter that sits around with no fuel in it most of the time. So, give the Zippo a chance but make sure that you keep up your end of the bargain by keeping it fueled.
If you like to personalize then Zippo is the perfect choice for you because there’s a gazillion of ’em out there.
The World War II Era Dunhill Service Lighter is another very simple design that is ultra-reliable. Also known as a “trench” lighter, the example you see on this page was without a doubt the most reliable lighter I have ever owned.
It is a little odd looking, especially to young folks today who don’t remember what it was like to have to get up and walk to the television just to change the channel. But I believe that’s one reason we need to continue to use these sorts of products.
To remember what it is like to accomplish things with our own hands.
An Expectation a Product Would Last
These are just a couple of examples of products that were manufactured at a time in history when people cared about workmanship that can still be found relatively inexpensive.
There’s a whole wide world out there if you decide that vintage lighters are the way to go but you can’t go wrong starting with something simple.
I’d like to invite you to leave all comments below. I am eager to hear topics that readers would like to know more about or products that you’d like to see discussed.
You can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or inquiries regarding lighters that you might have for sale or even just want to get rid of.