Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 8: Tinkering With Some Old Favorites As We Await Some Zippo Repairs

This week’s recap has me thinking it’s time to focus on acquiring some new lighters.

Blemished Park Lighter

At the beginning of the week, I was just wrapping up a four video series looking at and comparing four vintage Park Industries slim flip-top petrol lighters. I’m not sure the audience enjoyed the subject matter as much as I did but I think it is fascinating to look at all the varieties and component options available from just this one segment of the Park catalog.

I don’t have any real Park lighter ephemera other than a few boxes and a handful of the guarantee papers that typically came along with them. I have seen an early 1950s Park catalog for sale on Ebay in the last six months or so but can not find it listed currently even though no “sold” listing can be found for the item either.

I hope the catalog will be listed again and when it does I am able to buy it. I have made my hate for paper known pretty clearly so I really do not like spending money on these things that I’ll never be comfortable with but will pay for Park ephemera and would be interested to talk to anyone who might have some to share.

On kind of a bummer note, I did find a crack in the lid of the chrome plated brass HOLO-KROME Park lighter as I was recording the voice over for the video last week. It might take that lighter out of serious consideration to be someone’s every day carry lighter as that crack could definitely snag a thread or two but it is still a nice looking lighter that lights well and would certainly display nicely in a collection of similarly themed lighters.

Zippo Sent Me An Email

So far so good with the two lighters I returned to the Zippo repair clinic. I wasn’t expecting to be notified when the lighters arrived at the Zippo facility nor when they were shipped back out but received both such notifications via email.

I mailed the lighters some time during the first week of March and received an email on the eighteenth notifying me they had received two lighters for repair. I then received another email on Tuesday, March 29 informing me that the lighters had been shipped.

Interestingly enough, I received an email response on Friday to an inquiry I had made on whether Zippo is still able to actually accomplish the lossproof repair but the response was somewhat generic and while it assured me Zippo could repair my lighter, it never mentioned the lossproof hinge specifically. I sent that inquiry before I even boxed up those lighters to mail so I think it’s safe to say(pending the actual outcome of course) Zippo’s repair division is nowhere near as backed up as their email department.

HashTag For Organization

It seems like there ought to be a name or phrase that’s just naggingly on the edge of everyone’s tongues. Something we all say but don’t really think about or perhaps a thing we hear that no one’s ever said. I wish it was as easy as that, just throw it out there but I am drawing a blank!

A clever hashtag might draw some attention but at the very least it allows us to organize or gather our videos all under one heading. You see how well it works for the YouTube pipe community and #YTPC. Not only do the words themselves actually roll off the tongue but the hashtag is melodic as well.

The #ZippoMafia has circulated amongst Zippo Fanatic 77 Outdoors, Dylan Depuy, Comrade T MAN and maybe a few others of the merry, live-streaming gang of Zippo enthusiasts. I think that is the perfect tag to pull all those Zippo videos under one roof but I would like something similar that we could use for petrol lighters in general.

Bringing My Ronson Whirlwind Imperial Up To Snuff

The realization I made a couple weeks ago that the Dunhill blue flint definitely improved the performance of my formerly trouble-making Karo lighter along with the corroborating testimony of Oliver Taylor in the comments of the video documenting the Karo’s improved spark output with the Dunhill flint installed culminated this week in the same experiment upon an old Ronson Whirlwind Imperial I once liked very much.

This lighter was one of my favorites when I initially began using it even though it was always a two out of three strike proposition at best. The spark just always seemed kind of weak and I finally tossed it to the side when it embarrassed me more often than it lit!

I have read a lot of criticism of the straight flint tube design in the newer of the Ronson automatic lighters that came out in the mid-1950s. You can find plenty of folks out there to tell you the straight tube can’t achieve the same shower of sparks as the old curved styled tubes. Some also believe the wheels to be worn out rather easily but I knew that wasn’t the case here as the lighter was practically brand new!

It is amazing how such a simple change can make such a big difference. There are obviously varying qualities present in the different equations used to come up with what we have available commercially today as flint. Some may be a little softer or harder and brittle. Different file wheels in all these old mechanisms were probably designed for a specific flint that may not be available today but by mixing and matching with a few pretty commonly available flints, the required spark can usually be achieved.

The blue flint obviously made a huge difference in the Whirlwind Imperial and I am glad I have had my eyes opened to this issue of getting the proper spark for ignition. George T. also commented on both of those flint focused videos and I really appreciate those comments for that very reason; we can discuss it and share our experiences just like were all here in the same room.

Finding Lighters When You Are Not Looking

If you have collected lighters for very long then it is likely a phenomenon you have experienced. When your family and friends find out about your obsession, some of them start looking for lighters for you whether you realize it or not. It’s not like it happens in every case and sure, there are times when they may become so enamored as to become a collector of the tiny objects for their own possession

I received a photo via text late Friday afternoon from my mother of a varied assortment of smalls setting in a tray. There were two cigarette lighters with tags attached marked Storm Queen. The one that was actually a Storm Queen looked to have a hinge with a terrible overbite to the extent I was not interested.

The other lighter though was an Evans Spitfire with a synthetic faux ostrich leather wrap that was worth every penny of the price tag being asked for it. The moral of the story is it pays to have a mother who knows what you’re looking for and cares to take the time to help you. It can be family and friends of any kind though so just share your passion and you are likely to experience both this phenomenon and that of influencing new collectors.

Community

It’s a long, hard road we’ve been on here at DependableFlame.com trying to find our footing and sort through the intricacies of a hobby I was new to only five yrs ago. I have settled into some aspects of the operation here at DependableFlame as indispensable and an absolute joy to perform. There are also tasks that I undertake on a daily basis which I have absolutely no desire or gumption for but perform merely out of duty to some framework or creed which I am heretofore unconvinced but not yet sold on the contrary either.

I say all that to say this: Please let us know what you think we can improve on in our efforts to highlight vintage petrol lighters, ashtrays, tobacciana and other useful mechanisms in the articles we write, videos we produce and Ebay listings that we sell.

You can leave all comments, questions and suggestions in the section below this or any article at DependableFlame.com. If you are able, please give us your feedback and insights so that we can hone in on the topics and subjects our regular supporters want us to focus on as we plot our journey forward.

The DependableFlame.com Facebook page is a tremendous option to post your contribution to the discussion, especially if you need to include photos to illustrate your question or suggestion. The page and group are public forums while the direct message function allows you to communicate with me privately.

Ebay messages are also a good place to communicate with us as those messages and listings are monitored closely.

We currently publish petrol lighter video to our YouTube channel most weekday mornings @8am central. Please make our daily videos part of your morning routine. Subscribe to the channel, tell all your friends and if you are a cigarette lighter collector, consider creating a channel of your own to show off your collection and any repair techniques or tricks you may be in possession of.

Until next time…

Author: Joseph

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

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