Are Asian Buyers Ruining The Market For Vintage Zippo Lighters?

It’s a sentiment I have heard often in the Facebook lighter groups in regard to the current state of affairs where the purchase of vintage Zippo lighters is concerned. “Before the appearance of Chinese buyers,” one might say wistfully or, “I used to be able to get those Zippos a lot cheaper before the Asian collectors showed up and ruined everything!” another will chime in.

Where We Are

I have heard these sentiments so often that I have been forced to ask myself, “are Asian buyers ruining the market for vintage Zippo lighters?” I personally don’t believe that it’s possible in the slightest for any particular set of collectors to actually ruin the hobby for everyone else but we are going to look at a few circumstances that may have led others conclude otherwise while at the same time we examine the motivations of those making these claims.

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Just because you as a collector can no longer acquire lighters at will without shelling out fair market value doesn’t necessarily mean that you have Continue reading “Are Asian Buyers Ruining The Market For Vintage Zippo Lighters?”

How To Date A Zippo Lighter

When a person first becomes acquainted with Zippo Windproof Lighters, they may initially be enamored with the requisites necessary to their proper function or devote all their attention to gathering examples that fit a certain theme by which Zippo lighters have been embellished via a number of

The Bottom Stamp Of A 1949 or ’50 Full Size Zippo Lighter

methods and processes but eventually(and usually sooner rather than later) their questions come around to determining the actual age of the Zippos in their collection. This article will delineate the most useful resources(and especially charts that include photos for comparison) that I have discovered on the web for dating a Zippo lighter.

What About The Charts At

It seems to me that for anyone asking the question, “How to date a Zippo lighter?” that sound reason would dictate the expectation that the clearest source of such information would be the website Continue reading “How To Date A Zippo Lighter”

Shared Interest And Camaraderie Result In Priceless Additions To My Vintage Cigarette Lighter Collection

While my number one goal when entering the hobby was to make money from buying, repairing and selling old petrol lighters, that doesn’t mean I did so in a heartless manner. I can’t recall every instance that I have simply given away parts that I wasn’t in dire need of at the moment so someone else could repair their lighter nor do I remember every lighter that I have given away because someone contacted me privately about their personal connection to the ship portrayed on a particular Zippo or company advertised on a Bowers Storm Master. What I didn’t foresee, though, was how the kindness of others would abound toward me as shared interest and camaraderie result in priceless additions to my vintage cigarette lighter collection.

“JDH” Initial Engraved Zippo-Gavin Lannan

The first lighter I remember receiving as a gift from someone I met in the hobby was a 1995 Brushed Chrome Zippo with the initials “JDH” arranged in a stair-step pattern which arrived in the mail in the fall of 2021. My buddy Gavin Lannan and I were communicating via email when he informed Continue reading “Shared Interest And Camaraderie Result In Priceless Additions To My Vintage Cigarette Lighter Collection”

Does Using A Zippo Butane Insert Make Me An Impostor Or Zippo Apostate?

I am a huge proponent of petrol lighters. I have devoted a large chunk of my time and livelihood to these fantastic little fire making machines. I am also a Zippo fan and appreciate the historical significance and elementary nature of their petrol heritage but does using a Zippo Butane Insert make me an impostor or Zippo apostate? In this article, I will make my case for the legitimacy of taking advantage of advances in butane technology(or any other tech for that matter) while still appreciating and honoring Zippo’s petrol legacy.

Making My Case

All the way back in the 1930s, Zippo made the “fan test” famous by demonstrating that the windscreen design of their lighters made them difficult for the wind to extinguish. I have performed this test myself and found that the petrol flame of a Zippo is indeed somewhat impervious to actually being extinguished regardless of the strength or power of the wind experienced.

The fact that a flame is resilient to the wind, however, does not necessarily mean that it also retains its usefulness when trying to ignite certain Continue reading “Does Using A Zippo Butane Insert Make Me An Impostor Or Zippo Apostate?”

Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 10: Lighter-Palooza 3, Zippo Butane Inserts & Summer Activities

Today we are going to discuss the appeal of getting together with other lighter enthusiasts at conventions such as this weekend’s fourth installment of Lighter Palooza, the validity of using modern inserts in Zippo lighters and touch on some of the plans we have at DependableFlame as summer arrives in earnest.

Lighter-Palooza 3

One good thing about frequenting the various Facebook Lighter Groups is to stay up to date on events happening within the vintage cigarette lighter hobby. I personally have never attended any of the in-person events that I have seen promoted but can clearly see the value in these lighter conventions and hope to be able to attend sometime soon.

This coming weekend, July 14 & 15, will be I believe the fourth iteration of an event put on by Riley’s 66 and Widowmakers Lighters in Bradford Continue reading “Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 10: Lighter-Palooza 3, Zippo Butane Inserts & Summer Activities”

Is There A Superior Butane Lighter Fuel For Zippo Inserts And Torches?

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I do not repair butane fueled cigarette lighters but I use them rather extensively. So, while I’m no expert at fixing them, I have plenty of experience with pumping them full of gas and have noticed a thing or two that may make a difference to you the next time your’s runs out and it’s time to purchase a new can of butane.

Does It Make A Difference Which Butane Fuel I Use?

I will start by making a general statement which I believe to be true in regard to whether it makes any difference which butane lighter fuel you use to fill or refill your favorite butane lighter: Any of the compressed butane lighter fuels that you find for sale on Amazon or at your local retailer will typically work in your favorite butane lighter but the performance may vary.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t differences, as there are definitely nuances in the fashion that some refill canisters are employed and also in Continue reading “Is There A Superior Butane Lighter Fuel For Zippo Inserts And Torches?”

What Is Petrol Lighter Wadding And What Can Be Used To Replace It?

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There are materials of an expendable nature other than wicks, flint and fuel that are required for a petrol lighter to function properly. I get questions often via email, in the comments under YouTube videos and the Facebook Group asking whether old petrol lighter wadding must be used again or what can be used to replace it? This article will answer these questions.

What Is The Purpose Of Petrol Lighter Wadding?

Most petrol lighters have absorbent wadding material packed inside the fuel tank. This wadding is interwoven with the unexposed portion of the wick and its purpose is to hold the fuel in the tank and to keep the wick saturated with fuel to facilitate the capillary action of the fuel vapors being carried to the top of the wick.

Zippo has traditionally used a few small rayon balls as wadding while Evans Continue reading “What Is Petrol Lighter Wadding And What Can Be Used To Replace It?”

The Great Cigarette Lighter Fuel Debate: Petrol Vs Butane

While lighters designed to enkindle cigarettes, cigars and pipes predated the twentieth century, the advent of ferrocerium in the early 1900s gave birth to what is typically now known as the pocket lighter, a convenient source of flame that can be carried on one’s person. Naphtha based petroleum formulations(petrol) were the standard fuel used in such mechanisms until the 1950s when compressed butane began to steal the spotlight. This article will highlight some of the differences between the two, along with pros and cons that come along with using each cigarette lighter fuel.

What’s The Difference?

At the basest level cigarette lighter fuel that’s available on the market today can be seen as liquid(petrol) which is poured into or otherwise used to saturate the absorbent wadding of a lighter or gas(butane) which is pumped into an inlet valve from a pressurized can. These are the two main kinds of fuel that one must consider when deciding which system of igniting a smoke to employ.

Petrol lighters will typically have a fuel chamber that is filled with rayon, cotton, sawdust or other absorbent material that is saturated with liquid Continue reading “The Great Cigarette Lighter Fuel Debate: Petrol Vs Butane”

Five Reasons To Start A Vintage Lighter Collection

As I reflect on my own entrance into the vintage cigarette lighter hobby, at first as a repairman and seller of old flame producing mechanisms before settling in as a collector of them, I ponder the reasons I was drawn to begin accumulating some of these fabulous little devices. For sure, there are many good and valid reasons to start a vintage lighter collection and this article will endeavor to enumerate a handful of them.

You Are A Handy Individual

If you enjoy taking old mechanical devices apart just to reassemble them in proper working order then the vintage cigarette lighter hobby might be appealing to you. Of the piles of old lighters out there waiting to be snatched up, you won’t find many that only need fuel in order to work but the vast majority will require some maintenance or repair work to function properly.

Old flints degrade and obstruct tubes over time, especially if stored in moist conditions, just as wicks and wadding can disintegrate and become Continue reading “Five Reasons To Start A Vintage Lighter Collection”

What Is The Proper Flint To Use In My Vintage Petrol Lighter?

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While there were other methods of producing a spark employed to achieve ignition, most vintage petrol lighters use flint to accomplish this goal. There is a good deal of confusion surrounding what flint should be used in which lighter and has caused many vintage lighter enthusiasts to ask, “what is the proper flint to use in my vintage petrol lighter?” This article will sort through some of the differences in flint available and help you determine the most appropriate option to use in your petrol lighter.

What Is Flint?

Miorcani flint
Photo by Otis Crandell via Wikimedia Commons

The material that we in the vintage cigarette lighter hobby call “flint” is actually a misnomer. Flint is a naturally occurring form of sedimentary rock that was used throughout history to make tools and start fires because of the hardened nature of its composition. Another form of rock or steel once it was developed, were struck against the flint to achieve a spark.

The cylindrical little pellets that we drop into the tube of our petrol lighters Continue reading “What Is The Proper Flint To Use In My Vintage Petrol Lighter?”