Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 5: Seeing Cygnus In The Shadows & Making Friends On the Internet

With spring surely breathing down our necks, work continues at DependableFlame as a friendly arrival or two remind us where we’ve been and offer a glimpse to where we’re headed.

The Chicken Or The Egg?

My affinity for Cygnus petrol lighters leads to many long searches and rabbit holes. With the majority that I have owned having been purchased unidentified in a group of a few or many lighters, they aren’t easy or many to come by. Oh sure, you can hop on Ebay any day and pay a premium for a few interesting designs or models that someone else found but if you really want to find the interesting lighters before all the other collectors, you need to find them before someone else who knows or has the wherewithal to figure out what they really have.

Visual recognition plays a huge role as one painstakingly sifts through listing after listing of lighters of various shapes along with other sundry tobacciana and related items. Somewhere along the way I encountered this roller petrol lighter simply marked Penguin.

It has many similarities to a Cygnus. The overall design, shape and actuation of the snuffer, roller, etc. It also has some major differences, though.

First, which would be apparent in the hand being lighter in weight but much harder to decipher from a listing photo, this Penguin is constructed of plated brass rather than the aluminum that all Cygnus were constructed of. The characteristic that was obvious in the listing photos though, is the lack of typical thumb roller flint tension mechanism present on all the Cygnus lighters that I’ve ever seen.

Its similarities though did make me wonder when it was produced. Do you think it was related to the development of the Cygnus lighter? Perhaps a forerunner, the company having not yet come up with the tool less design we know now? Or just a similar, maybe cheaper or differently produced model altogether?

Community And Friends

Most of my viewers are familiar with Zippo Fanatic 77 Outdoors. We all heard about his channel getting hacked some months back and felt the void of his live streams in the interim. You will have noticed the new name though and a package in my mailbox this week corroborates he is alive and well and participating in the YouTube Lighter Community once again.

I noticed Onion at 2:00 A.M. Pipe on the Patio showing his custom etched Zippo off the same day I received mine and I heard through the grapevine that Comrade T MAN had received one as well but I have yet to see video evidence of this myself.

This all goes back to ZF77s original channel, prehack, and some custom work he did back then(lol, I say that like it’s ancient history!) I’m not sure how it all came to pass but I had sent him some old Zippos around that time and my custom was a thank you for this gesture.

Needless to say, it is good to have ZF77 back and contributing. The new channel is growing like wildfire so he’ll be back where he was before you know it and the live streams are an entertaining way to spend a weekend evening.

Attending the live streams is a really cool, welcoming vibe. You’ll meet a lot of the folks you see commenting on various lighter videos throughout the week and others you see making videos themselves. Don’t miss out on the next one, especially if you are a Zippo fan and like to keep up with the latest trends among those who use them.

Wicks And Our Friend Miiigoreng

I have been so busy lately that I had neglected to keep up with my email for the past couple weeks. Try as I might, it seems an impossible task to keep up with them and I would like to urge communications be made in the comments section at and on our Facebook page.

After a nudging from our friend miiigoreng in the comments on YouTube, I finally got back to him and look forward to continuing the conversation we started regarding old, vintage wicks and how they should be treated. miiigoreng operates his own cigarette lighter collecting website called STEVEETREASURES CHEST and you would be wise to check it out. I have added a link to his page with those of some other respected collectors here.

He has published a lot of helpful information lately regarding old Zippo and Ronson advertisements in addition to our revolving discussion around old wicks. It seems he and Giovanni Abazia are very much on the same wavelength as miiigoreng was pleased by the video where I saved the old wick and wadding into a plastic bag and I know that Giovanni does this same thing.

This reminds me of a completely different product with a similar name that came up in conversation earlier today in the comments section of a recent YouTube video. Hemp Wick is made by several companies for discerning smokers who don’t like to inhale the fuel powering their flame source. I have included links to purchase these from Ebay and Amazon on the Helpful Lighter Related Links page. I will also try to make a video soon demonstrating how to use this simple product.

Selling A Dunhill Lighter

I have owned some really special Dunhill lighters over the yrs. Not special in the sense that they stand out all that much compared against truly rare Dunhills but amongst the other lighters that I’ve owned over the same period of time. I have owned a couple sterling silver lift-arms and two sterling Rollalites, one regular and one short.

So, the Auto Rollalite I have been getting ready to list this week isn’t anywhere near as special as a solid silver lighter but the Autos are uncommon enough that I have really enjoyed handling and owning the lighter for the short time that I have. It has always been a conundrum to me as a seller how to handle certain lighters that do or do not behave in a manner that I would want them to.

We could have a lot more fun on the channel and here on the website if this were a project lighter and I have been somewhat on the fence. A wrong move by me or perhaps simply a weak screw or other part could leave me unable to recoup the needed funds to make this lighter profitable. My friend Stuart Linton and a few others in the Facebook lighter groups like to completely disassemble every lighter in their collection or possession.

I don’t have a problem taking any lighter apart(my track record of YouTube repair videos should speak for itself), the only requirement though that typically motivates me to do so is failure to function. I’m trying to make money off these lighters and I don’t make as much on lighters I break. Anyway, I’m going to list it at a fair price to the comps I can find on Ebay and list its flaws as I spoke about in the video. If it sells, great! If not, then maybe we’ll turn it into a project lighter after all.

Winter’s Return

We received the second largest snowfall of the season Friday morning, nearly two weeks after I wrote about hopefully experiencing winter’s last gasp. Most of that snow was gone by the same evening, however and it appears that spring is now upon us with temperatures above freezing for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know about the rest of you but the cold of winter just seems to envelope, touch and creep into every element of everything I do until the warm mornings return and I can shake off the deliberate posture that the frigid air or cold concrete force me into.

Days are longer and warmer and brighter and I have much left to accomplish.

Please leave any comment or question you may have in the section below this article. The #1 way you can support DependableFlame is also the best way for you to make sure that I see and respond to your inquiry. I have already confessed earlier in this article that email is my weakness. It doesn’t have the hold on me that it does on other people.

The comments on this site are important to the growth of DependableFlame and are also now my first priority, followed closely by Ebay and Facebook messages. Ebay and Facebook are terrific options to get a hold of us if you need to post photos with you comment or question.

And please spread the word far and wide, we are on YouTube every weekday morning @8am central showing off lighters, repairing them and generally promulgating the cigarette lighter collecting hobby. Your question may be the one that sparks the next great discussion or your comment could inspire future lighter collectors. Perhaps you could even be inspired yourself to join the fray and spend all your spare time crafting lighter videos for the rest of us to consume!

Until next time…

Author: Joseph

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

4 thoughts on “Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 5: Seeing Cygnus In The Shadows & Making Friends On the Internet”

  1. Hello good morning, I have seen your website many times and read and looked around but today I have clicked a link and it took me to Ebay, which is exactly where I wanted to go! There are many nice and old lighters to peruse, browse and buy. I appreciate it very much. All good and many blessings, thank you.

    1. Thank you Shahid, I appreciate you reading the articles and very glad to hear that you found the lighters that you were looking for. I hope you continue to return and read the articles as there are now two being published every week.

  2. Enjoyed checking out all the lighters on your site.  Your video collection is impressive as well.  I recently sold a WWII collection of Zippos and wish I had known about your site prior to selling them.  I have a few more that I would like to list on ebay and will be referencing your site to get some info to properly price them.  Thanks for the info.  Dave  

    1. Hey Dave, we are glad you found us now and hope that the resources here on the site will enable you to ascertain the information needed to make the best decision concerning selling the rest of your collection. Please ask any questions you have because there can be a multitude of factors that affect a lighter’s value. I also do consignments, so if you run into any problems or just don’t have the time, we could sell them for you!

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