Are Storm King And Park Industries Petrol Lighters The Same Quality As Zippos?

One of the first articles I ever wrote for this website was about a Park Industries lighter made in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I didn’t know much about them back then and was mildly impressed but have since come to believe the older Park lighters made in Springfield, Illinois are legitimate hidden gems in the cigarette lighter hobby, both for collecting and putting to use.

Upon Further Review

My first encounter with a Park lighter was a brand new slim model with scotch whiskey advertising printed on the case. The lighter

1940s Storm King Lighter By Park Industries

was still in the box with the original paperwork but the flint had degraded and clogged up the flint tube.

I was pretty green at the time and somewhat ignorant of how the “hobby” would view the condition of the lighter. Considering a tool had been employed upon it, I reasoned the lighter as no longer “new” so filled and lit it up! Today I would have simply noted the repair, left it unfueled and conditionally sold it as new.

This gave me valuable experience with a different kind of lighter though and I haven’t stopped learning about them since. The 1940s era Storm King we are going to use for comparison(or perhaps it is my tool for persuasion!) in this article is an old beater of a case with a real standout of an insert that I have been carrying in my pocket for over a yr now.

I consider myself a Park collector although I have only kept a small portion of those that have passed through my hands. The question has surfaced often in my own ponderings and I’ve even seen it asked in the Facebook lighter groups: Are Storm King and Park Industries petrol lighters the same quality as Zippos?

A Substantial, Quality Insert

I start with the insert for two reasons: the cheaply constructed insert of the slim whiskey lighter was definitely a sticking point to me back then and the stoutness of the older PARK SHERMAN

Old Storm King Insert

marked insert in my EDC Storm King is its clear selling point.

The older insert is made of steel(I believe as a magnet sticks to it) as opposed to aluminum from which the newer slim was constructed. There is an excellent article on the Toledo-Bend VCL site explaining how the company was purchased around 1960 and moved from Springfield, Illinois to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Our Storm King was made in Springfield while the whiskey slim was a product of Murfreesboro.

The older insert has a big metal flint screw and is way better than the flimsy, color bleeding plastic screws found in later models. A

Aluminum Murfreesboro Insert

clear downgrade by the company at some point in time, I’m not sure one can not simply equate the two manufacturing locations with the difference in quality.

While aluminum inserts seem to be the norm amongst lighters made in Murfreesboro, I wouldn’t swear I haven’t seen seemingly original, aluminum inserts in Springfield manufactured cases.

Hinge Spring Mechanism

Both lighters employ the pivot point spring system, the same as every other Park Industries flip-top petrol lighter that I have

A View Of The Pivot Spring & Hinge Components

owned. I have voice concern about the long term durability of this system in a YouTube video or two in the past. It is a sort of brute-force tension system and I have wondered out loud if this could be responsible for some of the offset/overbite/underbite poor hinged conditions you see in some Ebay listing photos.

I have used this Storm King enough now to have assuaged most of these concerns. I have used this lighter, thrown it in my pocket, shown no regard for its condition, etc. and everything still lines up just fine.

I would note, I don’t torque around on the hinge or anything like that. I’m not a trick guy, I just hope my hands function well enough to light the lighter! I think an abused hinge is much more likely to become misshapen than one that is shown respect.

Case Material

Practically everyone used aluminum during and after World War II and Park Industries was no different. This Storm King case is a

The Park Slim: Subject Of The Original Article

very lightweight aluminum(which paired with the steel insert likely speaks to the lack of brass available) and shows that while later lighters were mostly constructed of aluminum, the company had worked with the material for quite some time.

I have encountered many heavy gauge chrome plated brass Park Industries cases made in both Springfield and Murfreesboro. A brass cased Park lighter housing a steel insert is substantial in your hand. A lighter constructed completely of aluminum, not so much!

As we noted in the insert discussion earlier though, aluminum seems to have become the norm for cases in the later yrs as well. Not to the same extent as they continued to offer and sell the brass cases to order. I don’t recall ever seeing a steel Park insert marked Murfreesboro.


Park lighters have been adorned with just about every kind of advertisement, promotion and artwork as Zippo and other popular flip-top petrol lighters like Champ and Penguin.

Park Industries Lighters With An Array Of Embellishments

Printed images are probably the most common type of adornment highlighted on a Park lighter. I think it is a form of screen printing integrated into the anodizing or coloring process to finish the aluminum material. I can’t recall seeing a Park with a printed image on a chrome plated brass lighter.

A painting application similar to Zippo’s etch and paint process seems to be the typical treatment given to the company’s brass cased lighters. There are some terrific sports themes and advertising models featuring this artwork that rival similar, iconic Zippo designs.

Manufacturer applied emblems were featured very prominently amongst Park Industries offerings, though to broach the subject in the Facebook lighter groups today you would think that every emblem on any lighter was pasted there by a bad actor. I am kind of over the pastie discussions and sort of bored with the subject matter.

It is easy enough to do a little research like I did when I made the YouTube video about pasties vs legitimate emblems. It is good to be wary. It is also good to do your homework where you will find practically all the old lighter companies offered an inventory of certain emblems and allowed attachment of other supplied examples.

Are They All The Same?

No, they are definitely not all the same but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one is superior. I love the way the old PARK SHERMAN inserts are marked along the front spine. Just adds a level of

A Cool Two-Sided Advertiser

authentic aesthetic appeal to a company that didn’t always mark their lighters so well.

I will say that Park lighters take a backseat to no one, including those made by the Zippo Manufacturing Company. The company didn’t put out anything to equal Zippo’s Town And Country paint process but that is really the only void and even that could be argued. There are sterling silver, lift-arm, table models and even a couple different pocket models going way back. All in all, I’d say Park matches everything Zippo has to offer with a few, differing mechanisms to make things interesting.

I would love to hear your opinion about Park lighters and their various iterations across the yrs. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page. The comments are the first thing I check every morning, so if you are trying to get ahold of me, the comments section is the best place.

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Until next time…

Author: Joseph

Be cautious when anyone tells you what you need or have to do...

14 thoughts on “Are Storm King And Park Industries Petrol Lighters The Same Quality As Zippos?”

  1. As a zippo collector myself, I find this article is pretty interesting. I didn’t know there was a similar lighter to zippo’s designs until now. If I may ask a question, do these unique and vintage lighters from Storm King and Park Industries still available now? If yes, how much does it cost? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you very much for the question and I appreciate you stopping by! Yes, they are still available on Ebay and other auctions sites but one can no longer purchase them new as the company has gone out of business and quit making them I think in the 1970s. I have several available to purchase currently in my Ebay store.

  2. I was a pretty heavy smoker for a while earlier in my life, and honestly had never even heard of anything but Zippo. Also didn’t know people collected older ones, but it makes sense now! Anything made back in the mid 1970’s just looks better haha. Great article and video, learned a lot.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Wayne. You know there are many vintage cigarette lighter collectors who have never once drawn smoke into their lungs. I would bet, it is every bit of fifty percent of the hobby are merely admirers of the artwork, mechanism, company brand, advertising or whatever it may be. Not all that long ago I didn’t even consider myself a collector.

  3. Hello great review. I love antiques. You don’t find that type of lighters anymore.

    I have a cousin of mine and she loves to collect all type of antiques. She even has a wooden radio.  Antiques brings me back to my childhood, my parents and grand parents time. Maybe if you posted on the Facebook “antiques” you can find more people that are fascinated it by it and willing to pay for it. They are really awsome.

    1. Good morning Claudia, I am a big fan of “antiques” as well. It’s funny you bring up Facebook because I was just on the Facebook page this morning talking to our friend miiigoreng and he asked if that was the best way to contact me. The interface is very easy for me to use and does get me attention quickly so I told him yes. I hope you and your antique loving cousin will check it out!

  4. What a fascinating post on Park Industry lighters and Zippos. I gave up smoking many years ago, so didn’t even know that there were other brands, apart from Zippos. Anybody collecting these antique lighters, will benefit from reading this article. 

    Do you have an indication as to the price of antique Park Industry and Zippos lighters? Where is the best place to look for antique lighters? Thanks for sharing a great review.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading the article, I really appreciate it! The prices of both of these old brands can range from dirt cheap to sky-high depending on age, material, embellishments or a variety of other factors but Zippos generally sell for more than the Park although Park has actually been around much longer. Ebay is probably the best place to look for old lighters with several hundred thousand lighter listings at any given time.

  5. Really interesting and insightful post. There seems to be a wide range of lighters and Zippos. How much roughly do these cost and also following on from that how long do they stay working for? Are they built to last or are they a product that you need to replace every month or so?

    1. Hello Michael and thank you very much for stopping by! Most of the lighters we highlight are going to be in the $30-$60 range but I have also sold individual lighters for many hundreds of dollars. The awesome thing about old petrol lighters is you just fuel them back up and they are ready to go! Occasionally, you will need to replace the flint or wick but most lighters will outlast the lifetime of the user if maintained properly.

  6. Fascinating information here about Storm King and Park Industries lighters. I had heard about these years ago. A friend of mine likes to collect and repair/restore old lighters. I will forward this site to her. I found your video to be very thorough and informative. Are you selling any of these lighters or have a link to purchase any from somewhere? I would like to explore the prospects of purchasing some of these.

    1. Thank you for the comment Robin, I appreciate you stopping by and reading the article! Please share it with your friend as I have many plans for more vintage cigarette lighter articles here at I curate and update all our Ebay listings into this one page on the site. Thank you very much for the feedback!

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