Vintage Lighter Diaries Vol. 9: New Arrivals, Pondering Some Shipping Questions And My Friend Donald’s Website

A slow start gave way to a rush of activity and creativity mid-week as a couple of multi-lighter arrivals give us plenty to work on and ponder.

An Interesting Old, Beat Up Table Lighter

I don’t recall exactly how long I have had this old Japan made petrol table lighter that is missing most of its paint. While the mechanism has always seemed to work and function as it should, the spark provided just wasn’t quite enough to consistently light as it should.

The Dunhill blue flint solved the sparking problem as the lighter was immediately usable but that got me to thinking about ways that I could improve the aesthetic appeal of the lighter by possibly stripping it of the few remnants of paint that were left and maybe repainting or simply covering it with leather or some other kind of wrap.

Covering it with shrink-wrapped plastic was an idea Giovanni presented which I like the sound of. I wonder if I might be able to print some custom image that I’d otherwise never be able to find on an old lighter. I understand that customization always needs to be disclosed when selling a lighter but I am starting to think that this doesn’t necessarily dissuade me from experimenting as I have no qualms making those notations and I have plenty of lighters on the YouTube channel anyhow which are part of my personal collection and therefore, free to present as I wish.

Zippo Repairs

The Zippos received back from the repair clinic exceeded my expectation in every way. The reactions the videos have gotten also lead me to believe that perhaps these results are not the norm but speaking on just this one experience, I am definitely a fan!

Especially considering my main purpose here is putting old lighters back into useful, operating condition. It is kind of a bummer though that they do not repair inserts. I have the original insert for the 1965 bushed chrome lighter Zippo repaired the hinge on but the cam spring is broke.

I have seen folks in the lighter groups who purport to be able to fix the spring that keeps your Zippo lid closed. I would rather see Zippo repair these inserts than simply replace them with brand new units. I mean, to truly repair an old lighter you have to actually repair it, right? Replacing it with a new one is not repairing the old lighter but it’s still a better outcome than you’ll get from calling on any of Zippo’s old competitors!

Shipping Companies Making Trouble

There are many aspects of mailing or shipping petrol lighters that do not make much logical sense to me. Inside the United States, it’s typically not a problem for those looking to ship to another U.S. address. The U.S. Postal Service basically categorizes a lighter by the fuel that it contains. Thus, a lighter empty of fuel is perfectly suitable to mail, even with its flint still installed.

For U.S. residents looking to ship lighters outside the US or those who live outside the United States altogether, however, there are myriads of issues one can run into just trying to send a lighter through the mail or the other established shipping companies. Some are misunderstandings and/or overreactions to real issues while other impediments are merely financial.

I have heard horror stories of perfectly safe Zippos lighters being confiscated and destroyed while in possession of the Royal Mail in England and other European countries. Those lighters are no danger to any plane, truck or facility in the absence of their petrol fuel.

Prohibitively high costs are a real issue when mailing internationally as well. Our Canadian buddy ZF77 Outdoors shipped a bunch of his customs out through Zippo Daily Fix for this very reason. It made more sense to mail one larger package from Canada to the US and then ZDF split it up and sent them out from there. Jumping through hoops because of high shipping charges is nothing unusual in international mail, often making the shipment of single or small groups of lighters financially unfeasible. This is a big reason for the clearing house type reshippers that have addresses in Oregon and other states that are more tax friendly to internet transactions.

My Friend Donald And His Website

I met a man on Facebook a while back named Donald Hein. I had seen his posts in the Facebook lighter groups for some time and one day he came around to offering me a couple Cygnus table lighters and a very nice looking Cupid petrol lighter in the box for trade.

I remember seeing these lighters for sale previously when he had bought them and was interested in them at the time, the price was just a bit too high to consider bidding and then also covering the fees and shipping charges I would certainly incur trying to bring them in from overseas.

I was glad to have the second chance at the group and Donald seemed happy enough to acquire the lot of empty Ronson boxes and old butane lighters I was offering. Those videos will roll out this week and I thank Donald for the goodwill and camaraderie we have shared. I hope we can work out future swaps which are as mutually beneficial as this one and appreciate the contribution this trade makes to all we have going on here at

Donald repairs many butane and petrol lighters and I believe he may specialize in butane Ronsons. His website is which appears to be presented in the Danish language. You may have some trouble understanding and maneuvering around the website but when you message Donald he will communicate with you in English without any problems.

Petrol Roller Lighters

The Cupid I acquired from Donald strikes my fancy perfectly! It’s a really special feeling lighter when you look at it, I think because the tone and depth of the finish run so contrary to most of the lighters that I come across. I don’t handle too many new lighters and especially ones that are old!

This Cupid reminds me of a tarnished brass Penguin petrol roller lighter I had a while back that I sold on Ebay. I don’t know if that lighter had always been naked brass and I have no idea if this current Cupid is polished brass or plating of some sort but I like it very much and they strike a similar pose.

The bottom of the lighter has a couple of areas of tarnish or plating loss, I can’t be certain. You see lighters of this tone often described as gold-plated but I see nothing to indicate that would be the case. I will plead for reader feedback on the issue and remind you all here as I do often on the YouTube channel, I am not a metals expert.

Walk This Way

I would love to introduce you to a group of like minded folks to yourself who are literally awaiting your arrival! Do you enjoy gathering, collecting, repairing and otherwise using old cigarette, pipe or cigar lighters? There’s a collection of characters in the YouTube cigarette lighter community who want to see what you are doing!

Do you collect old, rare pre-WWII Zippo lighters? Well, of course, we would all love to see those and any repairs you have made or information you have been enlightened by as a result of owning them. Ronson, Evans, Dunhill collectors? Bring them all on!

Ted Ballard at the National Lighter Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma told me, “there is no such thing as an insignificant lighter.” I’m not sure that I agree with that but I most certainly would proclaim that there is no such thing as an insignificant lighter collector! The guy who collects and shows off his cheap Japanese lighters may not have spent the same money as the Zippo collector or garner the prestige of a room full of Dunhills or Duponts but that collector is no less significant for the effort he put forth than one who spends millions of dollars. Dollars are not the equivalent of time and collections should never be judged(at least positively) by the amount of money a person spent to bring them together.

We publish new petrol lighter video to our YouTube channel weekday mornings @8am central. I am a seller, repairman and collector and sometimes have brand new lighters to show off but more often I am repairing and showing off old lighters that someone else abandoned as beyond repair or simply junk. I would appreciate you checking out, subscribing and telling all your friends about the YouTube channel.

The Facebook page or group are great options to reach me, especially if you need to post photos to illustrate your question. The direct message function is very user-friendly as well and the group gives the opportunity to post among the DependableFlame community as a whole.

I can also be reached via direct message on Ebay at any time.

If you would like to show support for the mission we are executing at, please consider adding your contribution to the discussion by commenting underneath this or any other article on this site. It is the single most important way you can help which also just happens to be free!

Until next time…

Author: Joseph

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

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