An elementary understanding of selection, function and maintenance of the Beattie Jet Lighter.
What Makes the Beattie Jet Different from Other Lighters?
If you use disposable lighters, first you should be ashamed of yourself(I explain why here.) Second, the butane/valve design of your typical disposable will generally push the flame sufficient to allow it to be sucked down the pipe. But if you use a petrol lighter to light your cigarettes then chances are you have a separate(probably butane) lighter handy to light your pipes.
Is a pipe lighter really necessary? No, but the lack of a pipe lighter is at best a pain in the ass(who wants to stand on their head just to light a pipe) and at worst could leave you out in the cold. It’s like most medical marijuana patients I know who are primarily smokers, still carry a vape pen for convenience. Beattie Jet Lighter instructions are readily available on the worldwide web but can be a little difficult to understand if you don’t have the lighter in your hand to put those instructions to practice. I will try to illustrate thoroughly with appropriate photos and videos.
The novelty of the Beattie Jet is that held upright it functions just
like every other petrol lighter you’ve ever used to light a cigarette. But tilted slightly with maybe the hint of a roll of the wrist and that same flame will reach out like E.T.’s finger, setting your bowl ablaze.
Basic Set-up and Maintenance
As you can see from the literature pictured to the right, the Beattie Jet Lighter is similar in design to other petrol lighters, just with one strange and unfamiliar looking part added on. The jet tube is the key to what sets this lighter apart.
In order to create the pressure that enables the Beattie to extend its blowtorch like flame, a wick must be stuffed inside the lower end of the brass jet tube. This is key to remember when it comes time to replace the wick in your lighter. Before you stuff the wadding back into the lighter, make certain that the lower end of the jet tube is snugly plugged with a wick(it’s okay to use the bottom end of of the regular wick installed in the lighter, if it’s long enough) inside the body of the lighter.
Also, use caution when cleaning the brass jet tip. These lighters came new with a probe designed specifically to unclog the hole in
the brass tip. Many of these lighters listed on EBay will not come with a jet probe.
From my own experience, I wouldn’t be too quick to try to clean that jet hole out by sticking a metal object into it. I currently own five of these and the two that work best, you can’t even see the hole with a naked eye. Bottom line, if you are certain it is clogged and you don’t have an original probe, you’ll have to make do with whatever you can get. A welder tip cleaning tool is probably your best option but I would be extremely careful and don’t stick it in there any more than you have to. Of my 5, the only one that has a ruined jet tip is the one I stuck a welding tip cleaner into. To be fair, the lighter never functioned correctly even before I tried to clean the tip. So, just my advice, gentle with the jet tips.
Where Do I Get One and Are They Expensive?
There are Beattie Jet Lighters commonly available on EBay and other online auction sites. It is not uncommon to find them at flea markets, pawn shops, thrift stores, garage sales, etc.
Currently, prices on EBay for a decent, complete Beattie Jet Lighter that looks like it has a prayer to function as intended start in the $30-40 range.
Complete with box, paperwork, bag and probe, I would expect to pay a minimum of $80 but considerably more the nicer the example.
Key Elements in Determining Value.
As you browse online auctions or search through bins at your local flea market, remember the following tips which are specific to buying a vintage Beattie Jet Lighter:
- Snuffer/Lid retention spring: When browsing internet listings, it is easy to overlook this subtle part but it plays an integral part in the lighter functioning properly. If the lid just flops around, you could have a flame being extinguished when you need it lit. Worse, you could encounter difficulty extinguishing a flame you need put out if the lid does not snap closed as it was designed to do. Two small arms extend the spring toward the rear, underside of the lid. A broken lid spring is a relatively common problem with these old lighters.
- Brass Jet Tip: If the hole in the jet tip is enlarged, the jet portion of
the lighter will not function properly and it could get a little hairy trying to use the regular stand-up flame as the naphtha fumes waft listlessly from the heated, damaged jet tube.
- Applied Patent Numbers: The earliest Beattie Jet Lighters produced were stamped with one patent number, with subsequent productions stamped with a combination(Beattie Patent Info) of numbers.
- A good general rule with any online listing is to see photos taken from all angles. I would not purchase a Beattie Jet Lighter without seeing a photo of the back spine.
What Is Your Favorite Lighter Worth to You?
In the end, the monetary value assigned to anything is limited to the amount an actual buyer is willing to pay for that item. Embedded deep within both my business philosophy and general outlook on life is the belief that while this life may be fleeting, the way we choose to live it matters. The things we do and say and build and dream can endure.
The Beattie Jet Lighter is an underappreciated relic that is relatively scarce compared to its vintage lighter peers. Just for perspective, a raw EBay search for “Beattie Lighter” returned 29 results across all categories. The last Beattie Jet Lighter was produced in 1961, so I limited the “Zippo Lighter” search to the lighter category in pre-owned condition and that returned over 10,000 results. There’s a shit ton of Zippo lighters out there. There’s only a handful of Beattie Jet Lighters.
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40 thoughts on “Beattie Jet Lighter Instructions: How to Choose and Operate”
Oh boy, I shouldn’t show my son this post because for some reason, he’s fascinated with lighters. Mind you, he’s only 12. He has one of those Tesla coil lighters and he loves when he finds other types of lighters too. This is interesting because I didn’t realize there was a market for these types of lighters. Is this something you would typically use, or just display?
Thank you for the comment, Christina. I use Beattie Jet and other petrol lighters on a regular basis after making a conscious decision to try to limit the amount of plastic I consume. The Beattie Jet’s versatility and durability mean that for as long as we can find them, they are a valuable tool for anyone who smokes cigarettes as well as pipes. They’re not being manufactured any longer though, so you better grab them when you can.
I have one for sale for a good deal.
Email me some photos, Jody. I mostly buy in large lots but am always interested in a lighter for a deal! I appreciate any inquiries as to purchasing collections and lots of any size.
Do you still have your lighter for sale?
Hello, Pfm. I don’t currently have any Beattie Jet Lighters in my inventory. You can see what we do have for sale herehere.
How can you determine the age of the lighter? I’ve got a chrome one in extremely good working condition. But want to know more about it and want to figure out where to get a probe. And more of these lighters in any shape. All my boys want one now.
The patent numbers give some clues to manufacture date. Plenty of Beatties available on Ebay to fulfill all your boys!✌️
So are these quite similar to Zippo lighters then? As an ex-smoker, I used to love my Zippo lighter, trying to open it, light it and shut it -all with one hand and one knee trick! So won’t be any use to me now, although these Beattie Jet lighters would make a great gift for any smoker.
Thank you, Teresa. Yes, the Beattie Jet Lighter is very similar to a Zippo, just with the added ability to shoot an aimable jet flame.
I know lots of people who will love this as it seems that there is a better quality lighter with the Beattie Jet as its more expensive. Why do you think it is under appreciated, is it because people don’t realise how good it is until they buy one?
Thanks for the comment, Glenford. I think the Beattie Jet Lighter is underappreciated for many of the same reasons that its current market value is relatively high. It was made for a short period of time, early/mid 1940s-1961. Folks have become enamored with convenience which results in many consumers forgoing anything that is not cheap or disposable. Any kind of spike in interest for these lighters will send prices skyrocketing because there are so few of them lurking about.
There is one perfect option available if the jet tip hole becomes clogged; obtain & use a fine acupuncture needle. It is a perfect fit to remove any clogging debris, additionally will not damage or widen the jet tip opening. I have one that belonged to my father, I sent it to NYC years ago to be repaired/restored as well as replated. The steel surface was worn down in many places to the underlying brass, from the years of my fathers heavy use as well as it being carried around in his pockets with change & other metal items. It looks great & still works perfectly to this day.
Thanks for the tip, Herb and I’m glad to hear that you are still using your father’s Beattie Jet Lighter. The hole in the jet tip of these lighters is not overly difficult to clean but damage to that tip will definitely affect the performance of the lighter. The probe that came with these lighters from the factory works great but lacking a probe, one must adapt. Thanks for sharing the story of your father’s lighter. You can see my current inventory of Petrol/Jet Lighters here.
Hey Joseph, do you have any recommendations on replacing the wick? My Beattie Jet lighter has no traditional wick and a very short (~5/8 inch) wick for the torch tube. I can’t find much info on replacing the wicks. Do you use one wick and run it into both ends or two wicks? How do you get the wick into the tube part? It seems like it would be very tough to do.
Thank you for the questions, Riley. I use the wicks with the wire sticking out of them for the Beattie Jet Lighters. You can see a photo of the wick here. I think the Ronson type wicks will work too. I’ve rewicked several that had a separate, shorter wick in the end of the jet tube. As long as they function correctly, I leave them that way but I have used the bottom end of the flame wick for the terminal end of the jet tube when it needed replacing. It’s been a while since I’ve had to shove a wick into a jet tube but no, it wasn’t a lot of fun. Curved and bent dental picks and a lot of patience. I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.
What lighter fluid down this use? Thanks
Hello, Bob and thanks for the question. The Beattie Jet Lighter is a petrol lighter. As such, Zippo fuel and Ronsonol are probably the most widely available options. I generally use Zippo Lighter Fluid and it works just fine.
I’ve been intrigued with Beattie lighters since I stumbled upon your site. I just found one at local antique shop in Phoenix. Looks to be in goood shape lid hinge good, wick good, haven’t had a chance to open up flint tube to clean out and add flint and fluid. Lots of brass patina or chrome worn off looks nicely vintage.
Any tips for cleaning and preparing? I’m not super handy. Planning to clean with 151 and maybe sanding pads?
Hello, Jason. Thank you for the comment. Regarding cleaning, I don’t usually do anything more than wipe them off with a rag. Use lighter fluid or Everclear when I need a solvent to get through buildup or grime. I don’t sand or polish. I just try to clean them up the best I can without damaging what remains of the original finish.
As far as preparation for use, the flint tube is usually the first obstacle. Once you get it sparking, if it looks pretty clean inside and up top then you might as well fuel it up and see how it works. If you run into trouble clearing the old flint or manipulating the “jet” flame, let me know and we’ll get you moving in the right direction.
Hi, I just obtained my father’s Beattie and it hasn’t been used in years although from the exterior finish wear it must have been used heavily at one point. There is no spark or even resistance when the wheel is turned. Are replacement flints available? Also, the wick does not appear to be in the gas tube inside. Dad passed away 16 years ago and this was found tonight when my mother and I were sorting through things. It was in its original box with papers and the cleaning probe tool. It was the first gift my Mom ever gave my Dad and so I would like to get it working again.
Thanks for the question, Wes. Assuming the flint wheel just spins freely, it is either missing the flint spring and screw or the old flint has seized in the tube but is not currently in contact with the flint wheel. Pull the case off the lighter and turn the top part upside down. Is the flint spring screw in place over the flint tube? If it is, the flint tube is obstructed and most likely can be drilled out. If it’s not, a replacement flint spring and screw will probably solve your problem. Also, I’m curious why you think the wick isn’t in the jet tube?
Ronson flints from a pipe shop work.
Any idea where to get replacement flints for one of these? They seem wider than the normal flints available.
Hey, Mike, thanks for the question. The flint tube in the Beattie Jets does seem wider and there used to be wider, longer, harder(seriously, not trying to make a joke) flints available on Ebay but I have not been able to locate them to purchase in some time. I have had pretty good luck just using Zippo flint in them but I also know a lot of people swear by the vintage auermetall flint. If I can locate the wider flint on Ebay, I’ll include a link with the other flint above. I will mail you one of the wide flints that I have if you will send me your address.
Is there any way to make the hole tighter again? My hole is way to wide 🙁
Unfortunately, Leo, I don’t believe there is. I have a couple old Beattie Jets in my box that suffer the same fate. To add further insult, I don’t see an easy way of switching jet tubes out either as they appear to have been formed into their current shape after installation. I have used mine to rob parts off of to repair Beattie Jets that someone has not screwed up with overzealousness or a sloppy hand.
I appreciate your question and wish I could give you better news. At the very least, your lighter would still have some value for parts as there are not a ton of these old lighters just lying around.
I just found ‘Dunhill Lighter Flints’ on Amazon. I bought both sizes for my Dad’s old Beattie Jet Lighter. I’m still trying to take the two halves apart, but hope to revive it soon.
Thanks for the comment, Jim and let me know if you continue to have trouble with the lighter. I’d be happy to take a look at it for you. When purchasing wicks, flint and other lighter supplies, check out this page. There are links to specific wicks and flint for many particular lighters.
I found that the Alfred Dunhill ‘Blue’ flints work well. The ‘Red’ flints are too big for the Beattie lighter. They’re available in a few places, including Amazon.
Just stumbled upon a video of one of these. Neat devices, gonna have to get one. Also, I would look at acupuncture needles for cleaning the jet hole, I use them to clean nozzles on 3d printers.
Hello, Max and thank you for the tip about the acupuncture needles. I use the original jet probe that was included with new Beattie Jets. There are other tools that will work but I would urge caution whatever you insert in that hole as expanding it even slightly is likely to ruin your lighter. I like the way you think though, I too am always looking for answers.✌️
Just wanted to say THANK YOU for spending the time to write this and make the YouTube videos. Just inherited my grandfather’s Beattie Jet Lighter, and it had some issues. Going through your material I was able to get it working again. The tube is still clogged, and I’m looking to acquire an acupuncture needle as someone recommended above to try and clean it. Anyways – thanks again!
Thank you Tyler, I really enjoy making the videos and showing folks some of the things I’ve discovered. I haven’t tried the acupuncture needles and I’d urge caution until you know for sure you have the correct size needle. I’ve seen a few Beattie’s ruined from that hole in the jet tube being enlarged. Let me know if you continue to have trouble, we can correspond via email or you can always mail it in, I’ll tune it up and send it back to you.
Here’s another tip on unclogging the jet tube if you are or live with a diabetic: try using a lancet. I’ve found that a standard lancet fits the jet tube opening perfectly. Couple of pricks with the lancet and it works good as new!
Thank you for the tip, Eddie. That certainly seems a better option than the welding tip cleaners which are sort of serrated and can cause damage.✌️
Great to find your site and this article. I just discovered one of these that was my father’s – and possibly his father’s before him. -It has but one patent number that you indicate is on the earliest versions (went to the “patent number” link you posted, but it sent me to a landing page for something unrelated). It seems to be intact with none of the problems you suggest to look out for.
However, even though it has a flint, which is under spring pressure, turning the wheel still creates no spark. I can feel the wheel rubbing on the flint, and it “feels” exactly like it should, but nothing happens.
Also, (I am “lighter-ignorant”), there is wadding in the body of the lighter, which does not allow me to check on the wick or the bottom of the jet tube. Can I pull that out to check?
Any suggestions would be welcomed. thanks.
Yes got can pull the wadding to check the terminal end of the Jet tube but that won’t address your lack of spark or ignition. Just curious, have you cleared the flint tube or fueled the lighter?✌️
Hey, I came across your YouTube channel and have emailed you regarding a question I have regarding a Swiss diplomat lighter. Hoping you can help. 🤞
I am currently ignorant of that lighter but would love to run across one!✌️