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 for the company that produced the lighters in the first place. Navigating to the Zippo website and specifically the page titled “Date Codes“, enthusiasts will find three visual charts(one each for Regular Full Size, Slim and Logo dates) along with one explanatory video describing how codes have been included on the bottom of every Zippo case since the mid 1950s.

The Date Codes Page At

This may seem like good news and if your particular lighter is properly identified in its respective chart then perhaps Zippo’s effort was good enough. There are glaring holes or oversimplifications, however, in the Regular and Slim lighter date code charts provided by Zippo as well as possible misunderstandings of the logo chart considering that some of the outdated logos have been reused on certain later Japanese market releases.

For instance, there are two valid date codes that were used on Slim lighters made in 1960 but Zippo’s Slim chart only references one of them. Zippo’s Regular Full Size lighter chart also grossly misrepresents or ambiguates the identification of models produced from 1937-1950 by lumping them all together under the patent number 2032695 when there were other markings and characteristics that made most years individually identifiable.

Zippo also confounds the identification of lighters produced from 1950-1957 by indicating that “patent pending” is a delineating factor without giving any explanation for exactly where those lines are drawn. A collector can glean valuable information from Zippo’s date code charts but can easily be led astray as well which is why I would urge the use of other, more well documented charts to rely on when dating Zippo lighters.

The Passionate Wick

The Passionate Wick is one of my favorite Zippo websites and has many photos and write-ups that can be invaluable in gaining insights into any number of Zippo lighters that a collector may acquire. The page for Town & Country paint process Zippos was especially helpful to me in familiarizing myself with exactly what Town & Country meant and when they were produced.

The Passionate Wick Page For Dating Zippos

The Passionate Wick website has a page which shows the bottom stamps for every year beginning in 1933 and going all the way up to 1992, including some years which had multiple bottom stamps for reasons such as commemorative and replica lighters. The chart definitely has some holes as well though considering that 1956 and 1957 are lumped in with those marked with the patent 2517191 and the registered symbol in the middle.

Some of these stamps are also very difficult to make out as a result of poorly lit photography. The poor photos in conjunction with some areas of misinformation(some duly noted in the margins of the chart as in error) make it difficult to commend this chart to any collector as their final source of Zippo Date Code information, so we press on!

Glen’s Zippo Website

While this site does not appear to have been updated in any way since the year 2007, there is a wealth of documented information here going so far as to examine inserts, hinges, file wheels and other characteristics to more precisely identify the year of manufacture of some of the more difficult lighters to date. There are many isolated or magnified photos which aid in documenting differentiating nuances between one lighter and another, often within the same year of production.

Dating Zippo Lighters At Glen’s Zippo Website

The charts provided along with copious explanatory notes can be somewhat cumbersome and difficult to wade through, however, especially concerning the earliest lighters produced and the nuances which indicate the exact year they were made. My mind seems to be easily distracted when trying to juggle several pieces of info in my head and I have to admit that some of the charts on the Glen Zippo page are confusing to me as my haggard mind prefers a straight-forward linear type chart over a written narrative littered with supporting photographs.

To his credit, Glen has rightly identified the multiple stamp situation of 1979 that was caused by the removing of a slash on the left side of the Zippo logo instead of the right as it should have been and apparently was corrected during that same year. This is one detail that most other Zippo Date Code charts get wrong but the failure to provide dating information for Slim Zippos along with these pages being a little tough to decipher kept me looking for a more concise option.

Moonlight Zippo

Moonlight Zippo’s “Dating” page may be the most thorough and easy to read of all the more detailed charts for dating Zippos that I have come across. Not only is there a page for Regular Full Size lighters but also dedicated pages to date your Zippo Slim, Canada, table lighters, boxes and fuel cans.

The Date Chart Page At Moonlight Zippo

There is some missing info like the dual stamp of 1979 but the layout of the charts is very easy to read with photos for each year and considerable explanatory notes where they are necessary or helpful. The Moonlight Zippo site Regular and Slim lighter dating charts are presented in a linear grid type format that seems to me like the best of most of the other charts that I have encountered.

Moonlight is the only chart that I have found which properly identifies the two bottom stamps possible for a Zippo Slim Lighter in 1960. I might even go so far as to say that the Slim dating chart provided by Moonlight is the gold standard for Zippo Slim lighters but missing info on the Regular Full Size chart along with my personal preference for a more concisely constructed chart kept me searching.

Frank Dutton’s VCL Site Hosted By

The Vintage Cigarette Lighter site put together by Frank Dutton and hosted at is without question the best vintage petrol lighter identification resource available on the web today. It is somewhat sparse in regard to Zippo content however, though it does provide some key Zippo info in a very simple format that others have neglected.

Dating Zippos At Frank Dutton’s VCL Site

I discovered the VCL site very early in my vintage petrol lighter journey and grew to depend on it rather quickly though my efforts were thwarted a couple years in when the site suddenly became unavailable through some sort of hosting problem that resulted in most pages loading in error. I believe the site has been navigable again since some time in the fall of 2020 and can only hope that it remains available.

I don’t think there’s a single picture of a Zippo or any component thereof on the entire site save for one Niagra Falls bottom stamp but there is a reproduction of a Zippo dating chart from the old Warman’s Zippo Lighters Field Guide(though mirroring the inadequacies of the Zippo website chart. There are some helpful outlines for when specific hinges, chimneys and base metals were used but overall I was still looking for a better Zippo Date Code chart.

We Love Zippo(

For the sake of clarity, we will call this site We Love Zippo though I am not certain that the site actually has a name. I discovered this site while trying to chase down the origin of a particular Zippo Dating chart that I have seen circulating around the various Facebook lighter groups like Zippo Addicts and also seen posted on Reddit.

We Love Zippo Dating Page

The bottom right-hand corner of the chart has text giving special thanks to a fellow named Hiroshi Kito who has apparently passed away seeing that one of the few pages on the We Love Zippo site is a memorial to Mr. Kito. The chart which I have found so valuable is a one-page rendering of most bottom stamps for every year from 1933 through 2001 and is available on the We Love Zippo site as a PDF download.

The We Love Zippo site also contains a more detailed grid chart that provides not only photos of the bottom stamps but explanatory notes similar to the setup of the Moonlight Zippo Dating page and states that it was created under the supervision of Hiroshi Kito. This particular chart does not contain the information about the dual bottom stamps possible for 1979 nor is there any specific dating information for Zippo Slim lighters.

I do consider this the most concise and useful of all the charts that I have come across even considering the information that it does not possess. I suppose that when it comes to precisely dating a Zippo lighter it may be a little too much to ask for any one resource to contain every piece of information that a collector could need but am also satisfied with the breadth of relevant information included in this one. If I am stumped after trying Mr. Kito’s chart on the We Love Zippo site, then I can always do the more difficult work of checking the other charts!

How Do You Date Your Zippos?

I am acquainted with an individual or two from the Facebook lighter groups who could probably answer any dating question that I have ever run into just by consulting their own memory but reserve those communications for when I am absolutely stumped or too confused to figure it out on my own. There is a wealth of information available though by simply checking any lighter against the information provided by all the terrific sites that we have mentioned in this article.

1994 Camel Zippo

I would love to hear any comments, questions or discussion on how you date your Zippo Windproof lighters and what resources you have marshaled for these purposes. Please leave your insights in the comments section below this article or if you would like to post video or photos to illustrate your contribution to this discussion then please consider posting in the Facebook group where supporting media is allowed.

Please check out our YouTube channel where we regularly publish vintage petrol lighter show & tell and instructional repair demonstration videos and also conduct the weekly live stream Vintage Coffee & Lighters Live! where we catch up with you over a cup of coffee and talk about old lighters and just about any other topic that may come up.

Until next time…✌️

Author: Joseph

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

13 thoughts on “How To Date A Zippo Lighter”

  1. Thanks for sharing this informative article on dating Zippo Windproof Lighters! It’s fascinating to see the various resources available for collectors to determine the age of their Zippo lighters. The website charts at official Zippo would seem like an obvious choice, but it’s good to know about the possible inaccuracies and missing information.

    I appreciate the recommendations for other sites (like The Passionate Wick and Moonlight Zippo). Each chart has its strengths and weaknesses, and I agree that using multiple resources can help in accurately dating these vintage lighters.

    1. Thank you Ally, I really appreciate you stopping by again to check out the article and especially for leaving such a nice comment. You are correct about using multiple resources in order to accurately date any given Zippo in a collection as all of the resources that I have discovered have holes or misinformation that require consulting another source in order to straighten them out. It is good to have all of these resources available though because together they do paint a pretty complete picture.

  2. Very nice information! The act of lighting a Zippo lighter can feel like a ritual for some people, for me it has always added this sense of nostalgia as it was my preferable way to light my cigarettes at university days. That was ages ago! Well, It’s been a while for my last Zippo Lighter which a dear friend gave to me as a gift on my birthday, so dating a zippo lighter really makes sense to me!

    1. hey Jeeda, I appreciate you stopping by to check out the article and also for leaving such a nice comment. A Zippo lighter is definitely one of those items that invokes nostalgic feelings for many people because the click or the smell or even the act of striking the lighter to life can bring back such strong memories that perhaps we have even forgotten over time. It is pretty cool though that a measure that was employed by Mr. Blaisdell for quality control has resulted in a pretty reliable way to figure out exactly how old each lighter happens to be.

  3. I have owned a few Zippo lighters, even given them as gifts back in the day. It is hard to believe they are an iconic collectable these days.

    You have provided some good links and other useful identifying information here. I found the “We love Zippo” site by Mr. Hiroshi Kito very useful.

    Thanks for providing it. 

    1. Hey Michael, It’s great hearing from you and I am glad that you found the article helpful, especially the We Love Zippo site as that simple bottom stamp chart is the most useful of all the resources that I have found for these purposes to this point. I also think that it is interesting you mention giving Zippo lighters as gifts considering that besides their use as advertising tools and collectibles, being given one as a special occasion gift is probably the most common means by which most folks acquire them.

  4. Hey 👋🏼. I had no idea there was so much zippo info on my zippo and I now know what the numbers mean! I have an octopus limited edition with no numbers on the bottom. It has a crystal in its eye. Im not sure why it’s no numbers. I enjoyed learning about the collector side of them. Very informative. Thank you.

    1. Hey Jonathon, I really appreciate you stopping by to share your insights about the article. I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to interact here on the website and leave such a nice comment. You mention your Zippo not having any numbers on the bottom of the case but this could simply be because your lighter was manufactured before the use of numbers for date codes came into existence. The oldest lighters are dated using the alignment of the logo stamp along with other characteristics of the lighter such as hinge, materials or nuances concerning the lighter insert. These were followed by date codes formed from a series of dots, straight marks, forward slashes and back slashes followed by Roman numerals before the numbers began at the turn of the new century.

  5. Hi there, Joseph.

    Thanks again for providing these amazing artifacts related to the Zippo lighter. My father was an avid cigarette smoker and he had some amazing lighters. It is a high probability that he owned a zippo. Your website is very insightful. I am always inspired by the amount of in-depth detail you present.


    1. Thank you Rachele, I really appreciate all your kind words and am glad that you found the article helpful. Lighters are some of the best heirloom type items because they take us back to the time that we originally experienced them every time we hear the flicking of the lid open or the striking of the file wheel to ignite the lighter to flame. Zippos, of course, are the most favorite of lighters to many enthusiasts to the point that Zippo is seen as another generic word for lighter by many of the uninitiated.

  6. This article is a goldmine for anyone interested in Zippo lighters! As someone who’s just starting to collect, I found the detailed breakdown of different resources incredibly helpful. It’s clear that dating a Zippo isn’t as straightforward as I initially thought, but this guide definitely makes the process seem less daunting. I appreciate the author’s honesty about the limitations of each resource. It’s good to know that even experienced collectors have to cross-reference sometimes. Looking forward to diving deeper into this hobby!

    1. Thank you Constanza, I really appreciate all that you have said in your comment and am glad that you see this as a useful resource. I really don’t think that there is an existing resource for dating Zippo lighters that is exhaustively accurate which makes it really helpful to have all of these different sites by which to cross-check the information on the base of any Zippo lighter. It really is too bad that Zippo doesn’t have a more comprehensive chart rather than misleading information that they have posted on their own website. All of the information is available for them to put together a completely accurate and exhaustive chart but apparently they do not value the ability of their customers to be able to date their lighters more precisely.

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