Advert, Elgin American Lighters, 1949 & 1950

These two full page vintage magazine ads depict some of the smoking products manufactured and/or sold by Elgin American like: Table Lighter 'Ensemble' Set, few 'Case-O-Matics' Combination Lighters, 'Director' Lighter Set and the 'Clubman' Lighter Set, 'Socialite' Pocket Lighters, 'Litter Case' as well the Ronson 'Adonis' Set. The first advert was published on July 1950 in the Esquire magazine and the other in an unknown magazine in 1949.

Advert, Evans Duchess Table Lighter, 1949

This magazine advertisement published in LIFE Magazine on 24 October 1949 shows the all new and "sensational" Evans Duchess Table Lighter.

KEM Bowling Pin Lighter, 1946

The Bowling Pin Lighter was manufactured in the 1940s in Detroit, Michigan in the United States by Kem Inc. Beside these lighters KEM was famous for manufacturing advertising lighters in shape of bullets, bottles and cans made both of metal and plastic.

This figural lighter was made of ivory/cream colored plastic and advertised as "air tight, leak proof, small and compact". It was sold between 1946 and 1949 for only 39 cents or given away as advertisers by hundreds of companies which decided to include this lighter in their marketing strategy. A similar lighter bowling pin only with two red stripes was also made by Atlas Bowling in Japan.

The lighter is marked on the bottom:


The two halves of the plastic bowling pin casing pull apart to show the simple wick and wheel type lighter made of brass. It is not marked.

Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for good–mint condition: $15–25 (approx. €1015)

Weight: 19 grams (0.6 oz)

  • height: 7.2 cm (2.8")
  • diameter: 2 cm (0.8")

Evans Duchess Table Lighter, 1949

The production of this fully automatic cigarette lighter started in 1949 and finished in 1954. It was completely manufactured by Evans Case Co. in Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA. The Evans Duchess has a chased design available in gleaming silver electroplate finish. A. F. Reilly – the author of the lighter design – received the patent (no. 153,635) from the United States Patent Office in 1949 (filled in 1948).

This wick lighter has very often minor abrasions on the plated surface even if it is boxed and new (old stock). The lighter is padded with green felt.

Marked on the bottom:


Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for good–mint condition: $40–60 (approx. €30.00–45.00)

Weight: 130 grams (0.25 pounds)

  • height: 8.9 cm (3.0")
  • width: 5.6 cm (2.2")
  • depth: 3.5 cm (1.4")

Table Lighter Set Postcard, 1949

Here we have a postcard from the 1949 depicting a wick table lighter set & matching coasters made from China porcelain.  

Excise duties on French lighters, 1910–1945

On 10th December 1910 the French state adopted new tax regulations on "all devices indented to produce spark or fire by friction, or by any other means, and of the combustion of a flammable substance". Since 1st January 1911 every lighter in France that was intended for sale in the French market had to be taxed and adequately marked (see pictures).

To confirm that the excise duty was paid to the Ministry of Finance a special duty metal plate (stamp) was attached (usually welded) to the lighter by the lighter manufacturers. The fees charged by the French state were high but the tax rates levied by the state were varying depending on the type and finish of the lighter. Following tax rates were used:
  • 2 French francs for common pocket lighters,
  • 5 Fr for pocket lighters made of silver,
  • 20 Fr for luxury pocket lighters (e.g. made of gold),
  • 5 Fr for common table/desk lighters (over 10 cm),
  • 10 Fr for table/desk lighters (over 10 cm) made of silver,
  • 50 Fr for luxury table/desk lighters (over 10 cm) made of gold or platinum.

Between 1911 and 1916 a simple cooper plate was used which had the date 1911 engraved. Later, between 1916 and 1945 a new plate (undated) was introduced with the letters "C" and "I" (stands for indirect taxes) and a profile of Mercury (patron god of financial gain, commerce and messengers) with an inscription "Ministère des Finances" (eng. Ministry of Finance). Two shapes were used for the plate – oval for table lighters, the other one for pocket lighters. Additional to the two duty plates a marking "BL" (Briquet de Luxe, eng. luxury lighter) was introduced in 1926. It was a small hallmark which was considered as more discreet and applied only on luxury lighters like Quercia or Lancel.  

It is worth to mention that France was not the sole country where lighters were taxed and marked with special plates. A similar law was constituted in Belgium and Spain although it was applied for a short time. The taxation of lighters in France was abolished in 1945.

Evans 'Hitching Post' Table Lighter, 1956

This fine bone China Porcelain Evans 'Hitching Post' table lighter was designed and manufactured by Evans in the U.S.A. between 1956 and 1961. During the years of manufacture two different versions were produced with small changes to the bottom of the lighter base.

The lighter was marketed as a gift set for a gentleman. The 3-piece set consisted of a lighter and matching urn and ashtray (no. EC310W1029 or EC-123). The lighter was also available separately (EC311W735 or EC-124) in white or black China.

The Evans gold-tone brass insert uses a wick lighter with a red seal which is a patented fuel control.

The base of the lighter in shape of a horse which is often seen  on decorative hitching posts (it is a post to which a horse may be tethered to prevent it from straying). The China base is marked  with the Evans logo.

The entire body of this lighter is a very big fuel reservoir.

Type: wick (petrol) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for very good–mint condition: $60.00–90.00 (approx. €40.00–60.00); set: $90.00–120.00

  • 340 grams (12 oz)
  • height: 18 cm (7")
  • diameter: 7.6 cm (3")

FAQ: Where to sell my lighter?

One of the most frequent subjects that arise in e-mails from my readers concerns selling and purchasing lighters. Let us start with pointing out the best places for lighter sellers. As with everything we want to sell we have to find the appropriate audience and attention. Here is the ranking of the best places you should start with:
  1. On-line auction platforms.
    1. International:, (great for lighter pins and lighter magazine advertisements)
    2. Local/regional:,,,,, etc.
  2. Shopping websites eligible for private sales, e.g.,,, amazon.
  3. On-line classified advertisements boards, e.g.,,
  4. Lighter forums and clubs, e.g., LCGB, OTLS
  5. Antique shops and local auction houses.
  6. Blogs and websites on lighters. Mainly rare pieces in very good condition have a chance to be accepted. 
Next month I will give you some detailed hints on how to sell lighters on eBay and similar platforms. To be up to date please subscribe to my my RSS feed!

PS. Listed below are the biggest auction services in the world (as for 2014-06-08).

FAQ: Dunhill Foxhole & Windproof Lighter Instruction, 1942

This instruction comes from a foxhole lighter manufactured by Dunhill in the 1940s in New York, United States. The lighter was available in two versions: sterling silver and silver plated.

Vintage Zippo Mfg. Co. Postcard, ca. 1955

Below a rare linen postcard from the mid 1950s. It is depicting the headquarters of Zippo Mfg. Co. The "linen postcards" were produced from the late 1930s through the early 1950s mainly in the USA. They were produced on paper with a high rag content which gave the postcard a fabric type look and feel.

Evans Vestal Lamp Table Lighter, 1950

The production of this fully automatic table lighter started in 1950 and finished in 1954 in the United States. The "Vestal Lamp" made by Evans has a chased design and was available in silver plate and silver sterling  (model no. 84J77).

This wick lighter has very often minor abrasions on the plated surface even if it is boxed and new (old stock). The lighter is padded with green felt.

Marked on the bottom (on screws):


Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon–rare

Value for good–mint condition: $30–50 (silver plate), $150–200 (sterling silver)

Weight: 120 grams (4 1/4 oz.)

  •     height: 7.7 cm (3.0")
  •     length: 9.5 cm (3.7")
  •     width: 3.9 cm (1.6")

FAQ: Make Yourself a Lighter, 1951

Below an interesting article on how to make a trench cigarette lighter (DIY). The original title of the article is "Turn Yourself a Lighter". It was initially issued in the Popular Science Magazine on January 1951.

Evans 'Antique Auto' Table Lighter, 1950

This fine bone China Evans 'Antique Auto' table lighter was designed and manufactured by Evans in the U.S.A. between 1950 and 1955. The lighter was marketed as a perfect gift and "conversation piece in the rich tradition of China". It was sold alone (model EC-68J600) or in a set 'Antique Auto Stein Set' (model EC-67J900) that consisted of the lighter "Auto Car Runabout 1902" (see picture) and two matching ashtrays with car prints such as: "Fords First Car 1896" and "Duryea Motor Wagon 1895".

The Evans gold-tone brass insert is a typical wick lighter. It uses the new fitment with the red seal - fuel control. It is marked: 

U.S. PAT. REG. 19023

The base of the lighter in shape of a tankard is made of ivory glazed ceramic. No markings on the bottom although my assumption is that the ceramic base was made by The Harker Pottery Co. in the United States. The two decorative stripes are made of 22k gold.

Type: wick (petrol) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for very good–mint condition: 152 zł ($50.00)–70.00 (approx 166 zł (€40.00)–55.00); set: 228 zł ($75.00)–90.00

  • 210 grams (7 1/4 oz)
  • height: 11.4 cm (4 1/2")
  • diameter: 6.2 cm (2 1/2")

FAQ: KKW / Lumix Camera Lighter Instruction, ca. 1965

Below an instruction for the Lumix Camera Lighter that was manufactured in Japan in the mid. 1960s. The instruction can be also used with the Japanese KKW Camera Lighter (Photo-Liter, butane gas version only!) and AKW DII Type Perfect Camera Lighter.

Strikalite Lucite Table Lighter, 1946

The Strikalite Lucite Table Lighter was manufactured most probably between 1946 and 1948 in New York, U.S.A. The designer of the lucite lighter was K. Adler.

Strikalite was founded in 1934 by Harley Avedon in New York. The company dealt from the beginning with the manufacture and sale of novelty volume priced lighters. The lucite table lighter is one of its kind as it was probably the first lighter that took advantage of plexiglas which was first brought into market in 1933. The lighter insert is marked:


Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: rare

Value for very good–mint condition: $25–40 (approx €20–30)

Weight: 90 g (6.70 oz)

  • height: 7.5 cm (3")
  • width: 5 cm (2")
  • depth: 2.8 cm (1")

Ronson Wedgwood Royalty v2 Table Lighter, 1953

This Ronson wick table lighter was made in 1953 in England by Ronson and Wedgwood. The 'Royalty' had a chrome plated fitment called Ronson Rondelight. It was mounted in a Wedgwood blue Jasper base with overlaid design depicted are the Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) and Duke of Edinburgh in white ceramic. The year 1953 was the year of Elizabeth II coronation so the lighter is also a royal memorabilia which does add some extra value to it.

Wedgwood is a British pottery firm, founded on May 1, 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood (173095). The company still exists and is noted for its numerous innovations and high-quality wares that achieved renown throughout the world. Wedgwood's name is synonymous with the Jasper Ware body type.

The main themes on the company's jasper ware have all been taken from ancient mythologies: Roman, Greek or Egyptian or Italian Renaissance and Baroque The initial decision to have antique designs was probably that as Britain entered an age of great industrialization, the demand for luxurious goods subsequently exploded. Meanwhile, the archeological fever caught the imagination of many artists. Nothing could have been more suitable to satisfy this huge business demand than to produce replicas of artefacts. Wedgwoods pottery is  very collectible nowadays.

The lighter base is padded with felt. Marked on the bottom of the base:



Lighter insert marked:


BRIT. PAT. 621570

Type: wick (petrol) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for very good–mint condition: $50.00–75.00 (approx €40.00–60.00)

Weight: 125 grams (0.27 pounds)

  • height: 6.5 cm (2.6")
  • length: 7.3 cm (2.9")
  • width:  5.5 cm (2.2")

Parker of London Silent Flame Table Lighter, 1935

This Silent Flame Table Lighter was manufactured by Parker of London Ltd. in New York (U.S.A.) between 1935 and 1944. The invention patented in 1935 was known as the electric cigar lighter "of the type wherein a wick is ignited through the heat of an electrical resistance element" and was very popular in the Art Deco period

The depicted silent flame lighter is known as the "Fan Dancer" or "Sally Rand". The metal naked female figure was available in chrome plate and gold-tone plate. The base was made of black or dark brown Bakelite.

The bottom of the base is marked:


U.S. Pat. No. 2020142

Type: electric petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for very good–mint condition: $75.00–90.00 (approx. €60.00–75.00)

Weight: 180 grams (6 1/2 oz)

  • height: 12.5 cm (5")
  • width: 7.5 cm (3")
  • length: 9 cm (3 1/2")
The instruction on how to fill and light the cigar lighter and how to exchange the batteries is available here.

Ronson Carousel Table Lighter, 1950

The Ronson Carousel was first manufactured in 1950 in England. The production ceased shortly after in 1954. It has a ball shaped base made of dark and light wood.

This wick lighter was produced with two different chromium plate lighter inserts: flat and the one seen on the picture on the right. Both marked:

BRIT. PAT. 621570

The bottom of the base is padded with green felt. Golden foil sticker on bottom marked:

Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: uncommon

Value for very good–mint condition: $30.00–40.00 (approx. €25.00–35.00)

Weight: 150 grams (5 1/8 oz)

  • height: 7.5 cm (3")
  • diameter: 6.5 cm (2 3/4")

Advert: Dunhill Ball Table Lighter et al., 1929

A black & white Alfred Dunhill Limited advertisement published in 'Punch, or The London Charivarl' magazine on 18th December 1929. It depicts some of the smoking accessories manufactured by Dunhill:

  • Vanity Pocket Lighter
  • Sports Pocket Lighter
  • Ball Table Lighter
  • Table Lighter
  • Watch Pocket Lighter
  • Bijou Pocket Lighter etc.

FAQ: IMCO Foxhole & Blackout Lighter Instruction, 1941

This instruction comes from a foxhole lighter manufactured by IMCO in the 1940s in New York, United States. IMCO was founded in 1907 in Vienna, Austria by Julius Meister. At the beginning the company manufactured buttons for the military but from ca. 1919 it completely switched to the production of cigarette lighters.