Selling Vintage Lighters on Ebay: The Coolest I’ve Ever Seen

My first Beattie Jet Lighter will not be my last.

Back in the Day

Beattie Jet Lighter

I remember when I was a kid my dad telling me stories about the things he did during his time in the U.S. Army. These stories always had elements of difficulty: drinking ones own piss out of a boot, cross-country skiing , field stripping your service weapon blindfolded.

Now, he didn’t do all those things himself but if he didn’t do it he saw someone do it and while these things are all challenging, he told the stories with so much fondness and detail that I knew these experiences had enriched his life. This taught me the value of a learned skill like being so familiar with your weapon that you could break it down and clean it blindfolded. These are lessons I use every day selling vintage lighters on EBay.

I have repaired and worked on so many Zippo and other flip-top wick petrol type lighters that I could do it blindfolded. I’m glad I know how they work because it has come in very handy to me but it’s kind of boring to work on them all the time. There’s just no challenge to it. So, it’s always exciting to have my first experience with a new lighter. Especially when it’ll throw a 3-inch flame and hiss like a blow torch off simple naphtha fuel.

A Bird of a Different Feather

The Beattie Jet Lighter is a little strange looking and I have to admit I used it for Beattie Jet Lighterseveral days before I even figured out exactly what it was supposed to do, let alone how to do it. On the surface it appears very similar to many other petrol lighters, just with a brass snorkel offset to the side, behind the wick.

When the flint wheel is struck, sparks ignite the wick just like a Zippo. The flint
tube was plugged with a corroded flint when I got this particular lighter. I’m pretty good at removing them from other lighters but this one was really difficult to get cleared out for some reason.

Anyway, once the flint was installed I struck it, it lit and I used it for about a week like that and it worked fine but I still didn’t know the purpose of the brass rod and I couldn’t figure out why it had jet in its name. So I Googled it and found an article that said tilt it so I did and this is what happened.

WTF is the Snorkel For?

I shared a video similar to the photo above with my Facebook friends and one of
them said he thought I needed to get out more often. I think he’s just jealous because he’s a fireman and that’s more fire than he sees in the average yr.Beattie Jet Lighter

Whatever, I think it’s cool as hell. I had failed to consider that there could be a torch lighter that wasn’t fueled by pressurized butane. Butane lighters have their whole own set of quirks that can make them impossible to repair so just to be able to squirt some Ronsonol in the bottom and not have to pump butane in gives this “jet” lighter added value in my mind.

The brass snorkel feeds down to the bottom and curls back up inside the removable insert. I don’t know the science behind this but it appears that when the brass rod/snorkel reaches a certain temperature, it allows a tiny hole to open and emit the heated butane that fuels the jet torch feature. It’s like having two lighters in one.

Upright, it works like the other windproof type naphtha lighters you use to light a cigarette but if you tilt it slightly and let that rod fuel the already lit wick, then you can suck it right down into your pipe from about 3 inches away.

Decisions, Decisions

I’m in no big hurry to sell this one. I would like to get a couple more so I can experiment a little just to see how Beattie and other similar “jet” lighters operate. Beattie Jet LighterThere is a list of a few other manufacturers of similar designs from around the same time, including the Champ Jet Stream. I’ll do some more research on those to determine which lighters to be looking for.

This Beattie appears to have been manufactured toward the end of the company’s run which started in the mid 1940s and ended in 1961. This is indicated by the two patent numbers stamped on the bottom of the lighter case. I also read that there are 3 patent numbers attributed to 3 different men that are associated with the Beattie Jet Lighter and that it was possible that the men were credited incorrectly at times for the patent being used at a given time. Very confusing. It was a lot more fun playing around with this lighter than it was looking into its history.

Please Share Your Knowledge!Beattie Jet Lighter

I tried to take pictures that would demonstrate the “jet” effect of this lighter. I don’t know if it was the flash or what but it seemed that none of the pictures did the flame justice.

My experience with this Beattie Jet has only begun but I would love to hear comments from readers who know more about them or other “jet” lighters of the era.

I’d welcome any other comments as well. Maybe you are a mechanic or engineer who can explain to me exactly how these lighters function(or where I am misinformed) or you’re a smoker who would like to find one for yourself.

I’ll be sitting here, probably trying to capture a better image of that flame when it is stretching out there like a tongue who’s only desire is to lick the rim of my pipe.



BTW, my dad did not drink the piss out of his own boot. At least that’s what he told me.

Author: Joseph

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

8 thoughts on “Selling Vintage Lighters on Ebay: The Coolest I’ve Ever Seen”

  1. That looks like a pretty sweet lighter. The option of being able to have a regular flame or torch option sounds cool, but (and this may be showing my ignorance) what does one need a torch lighter for anyway? Thanks for the info Joseph, I enjoy your sight. Your passion is obvious in your writing.

    1. Sorry Will, as a former “ignorant” non-smoker myself, I should have thought to explain the need for different sorts of flame. When you are lighting a cigarette you normally want the flame to be pointing up so you can touch the end of the cigarette to it to light it. But to light a pipe you need a flame that points down into the bowl or able at least to be coaxed in that direction. I personally do not enjoy working with butane. I’ve had out-of-control butane fire in my hands on more than one occasion and that can take the fun out of the job pretty quick!

  2. Even though you claim that the image you took didn’t do the flame justice, it still looks amazing. I am trying to figure out what is making it do that. I am a non-smoker so I apologize that I can’t add any more insight to your lighter dilemma but I can tell you that I wouldn’t let that lighter go. I think my mother has a lighter from my grandfather now that I am reading your post that I want to look into now. Very interesting post!

  3. In my father’s things, I found one of these in the original box with some wick (?) and flint packs. There were some other lighters also but this one is unique. Like you, I Googled it and ended up here. The outside has seen better days and it looks like my Dad crudely engraved his name on it like he did with everything he owned.

    The inside looks pristine (where the cotton is). Don’t know if it works. My Dad was an avid pipe smoker. Sometimes I smell his pipe and he passed away 22 years ago. Really cool post. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Jill. It’s funny what sticks with us through the passage of time but that is the important thing, that memories endure, that the life we live matters. You can read further about the Beattie Jet Lighter here.

  4. Hi Joe. Beattie lighters are one of my favorite lighter brands. I own a couple of them. They fascinate me because, unlike any other lighter I’ve used (apart from copy cat versions of this system), the design of this lighter naturally favors left handed pipe smokers. The windscreen is lower on the side of the lighter facing a left handed smoker, making it easier for a left hander to view the jet nozzle. Additionally, the jet nozzle is angled slightly toward a left handed smoker. A right handed person would have to tilt the lighter toward him/her and downward in order to ignite the jet flame, which is a more awkward wrist movement than tilting the lighter forward and downward (which is what a left-hander would do). In fact, the instructions (and the picture on top of some boxes) always show the lighter being held in the left hand to light a pipe. Artistic renderings in Beattie ads invariably show the lighter being held in a left hand manner in order to light a pipe. Even when there is no visible hand holding the lighter in the ad, the lighter is still shown from a left hander’s point of view. Even YouTubers hold this lighter in their left hands when demonstrating how to use the jet flame. Anyway, thanks for posting your thoughts about this very unique lighter.

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