Advert: Ronson Juno, Senator and Leona Table Lighters

This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life Magazine on the 24th of March, 1952. It shows  among others three table/desk lighters; the Ronson Leona, Juno and Senator.

Collecting old magazine ads on lighters

Being a lighter collector you may experience a natural hunger for expanding your collection into related areas. Armed with an appreciation of design, mass media and a need for displaying your collection you may come across with another very collectible field: vintage magazine ads. This area of collecting is expanding rapidly as the ads can be also used as an interesting way to decorate homes or businesses. Vintage nostalgia does the trick!

Most of the best colorful full-page ads do come from these popular magazines:  
  • Life (1936), 
  • The Saturday Evening Post (1821),
  • Esquire (1932),
  • Time (1923),
  • Ebony (1945),
  • Punch, or the London Charivari (1841),
  • Collier's Weekly (1888),
  • Better Homes and Gardens (1922),
  • Look (1937–1971),
  • Plaisir de France (1934–1974),
  • L'Illustration (1843–1944).
If you have some old issues of the above mentioned magazines it worth a try to have a look into them. If you do not have them the best and simplest way to get your favorite lighters ads is eBay. The best search term is the word "ad" ("advert" in UK) along with other more specific search term like "Ronson", "lighter", "Dunhill" etc. The cost of one ad in most cases is between 5–10 USD. When you live in the United States it is also worth to visit garage sales and libraries as they start to digitize their resources and withdraw magazines – when you are lucky enough you may get a bargain.

If your ad was not very rare you might wish to have it framed. If you have doubts about putting the original ad into the frame (because of fading etc.) you should think about making a 1:1 copy which should cost you additional 2–3 USD. When framing please remember about passe-partout (2–3 inches; 5–7 cm wide) – the ad looks much better with it and you might hide the ads imperfections as well. You may also try frameless glass frames.

What is the best way to storage (archive) old magazine adverts? How to care on vintage ads? This question often appears as paper turns yellow and deteriorates over time. Exposure to light and heat break the molecules in the acidic paper even faster. To make the unwanted process as slow a possible just follow these three steps:
  1. Put every ad into an individual transparent polypropylene (PP) sleeve protector  or clear smudge proof pockets (A3 format is commonly available) and place a black backer board behind it. This is a good idea if you sometimes want to look at your ads and show them to your friends without the risk that they get stained, teared or bended. Most old ads are printed on a thin paper which also shows through some text and graphics from the other site – black backer board should help present them without this flaw. Do not use PVC sleeve protectors as they are not acid free and can harm your ads in long-term.
  2. Place your protected magazines ads into a photo archive storage box. These boxes are made with acid-free material and will help prevent deterioration of your magazine ads. 
  3. The box with your ads should be stored in room temperature in a dry, dark place. Voilà!
Below a sample of 60 different Ronson ads.

Great ads were also made by ASR, Zippo (biggest advertiser), Dunhill, Evans, Scripto, Ritepoint, Berkeley, Flaminaire Quercia, Torence, Silver Match, Lancel (France), Mylflam and Rowenta (Germany) in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.  In the later years nice ads were published  among others by Colibri (UK) Cartier, S.T. Dupont (France) and Braun (Germany).

Advert: Zippo Barcroft No. 3, 1953

This Zippo ad was published in Life Magazine on the 14th of December, 1953. It features Zippo pocket lighters as well as the Barcroft model no. 3 table lighter. This layout was used in more than 50 other Zippo advertisements.

    Advert: Ronson Cigarette Lighters, 1951

    This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life Magazine on the 24th of September, 1951. It features:
    • Ronson Penciliter,
    • Ronson Senator,
    • Ronson Spartan,
    • Ronson Standard,
    • Ronson Whirlwind;
    • Ronson Adonis,
    • Ronson Mastercase.

    Advert: Ronson Penciliter, Crown, Standard, Whirwind and Adonis, 1950

    This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life Magazine on the 27th of March, 1950. It features among others the Ronson Crown table lighter, Penciliter etc.

    Ronson Varaflame Wedgwood Ulysses Table Lighter, 1968

    This Ronson table lighter was made in 1968 in England by Ronson and Wedgwood. The Ronson Varaflame Wedgwood 'Ulysses' has a chrome plated standard Varaflame insert which is mounted in Wedgwood Blue Jasper base with overlaid design heroic battle scene in white ceramic. In the 1950s Ronson & Wedgwood used the same scene in its Ulysses wick lighter.

    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 light blue felt. Marked with a sticker on the bottom of the base:

    RONSON (R)
    Regd. trade mark

    Lighter insert marked:

    RONSON (R)

    Type: gas (butane) lighter

    Scarcity: uncommon

    Value for good–mint condition: $50.00–80.00 (approx €35.00–60.00)

    Weight: 290 grams (0.64 pounds)

    • height: 6.3 cm (2.5")
    • diameter: 8.8 cm (3.5")

    Advert: Ronson Crown and pocket lighters, 1947

    This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life magazine on the 27th of October, 1947. It depicts the Ronson 'Crown' table lighter and some pocket lighters like: Ronson 'Mastercase', Ronson 'Adonis', Ronson 'Whirlwind' and the Ronson 'Standard'. 

    Parker Roller Bacon Table Lighter, 1938

    This wick table lighter Parker Roller Bacon 'Exide' was made by Parker Pipe Co. in England in ca. 1938. The improved lift-arm mechanism with thumb-roller was patented by Parker in England in 1937. This type of semi-automatic mechanism was also very often used in Dunhill Lighters.

    The lighter has cylindrical shape and is made of brass and nickel plated. It has a  large fill capacity for lighter fluid. The example showed on the right was made for EXIDE a very popular English battery manufacturer. This table lighter was available in different finishes (textures, leather types etc).

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

    REG. DES 818717
    PAT.NO 466087

    Type: wick (petrol) lighter

    Scarcity: rare

    Value for good–mint condition: $50.00–90.00 (approx €35.00–70.00)

    Weight: 260 grams (0.57 pounds)

    • height: 11.2 cm (4.4")
    • diameter: 5 cm (2.0")

    Vintage Ronson TV commercials

    Below some vintage television commercial issued by the Ronson Corporation in the 1960s. The first one presents the Ronson Varaflame (1962), the second presents part of the lighter range and the Ronson electric shaver (1960). The last one is the Boris Karloff's Ronson Comet Lighter Torture Test (1966).

    Advert: New Ronson Varaflame, 1959

    This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life Magazine on the 25th of May, 1959. It features the new Ronson Varaflame pocket lighter in different finishes. It is probably the most recognizable pocket lighter in the world next to the Zippo.

    KW Piezoelectric Table Lighter 1970

    This Piezoelectric butane table lighter was first manufactured by the Karl Wieden  Company (KW or KAWEE) in 1970 in Solingen, Germany.

    This automatic table lighter was available in different mantels: silver, nickel plated, enameled etc. The picture on the right shows a KW in sterling silver  (.925) mantel  in an interesting hair texture. The base is not weighted. Marked on the side: STERLING 925F.

    The KW butane removable lighter insert is piezoelectric and chrome-plated. Marked on the bottom:  


    Type: gas (butane) lighter

    Scarcity: uncommon

    Value for very good – mint condition (dependent on finish): $75.00–120.00 (approx €60.00–90.00)

    Weight: 242 grams (0.53 pounds)

    • height: 5.3 cm (2.08")
    • width: 3.0 cm (1.18")
    • length: 9.2 cm (3.62")

    Evans Rose Table Lighter, 1952

    This Bone China 'Evans Rose' table lighter decorated with delicate hand painted pink roses and gold elements on a white background was designed and manufactured by Evans U.S.A. in 1952. This model came also in other hand paintings.

    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: EVANS U.S.A. U.S. PAT. REG. 19023

    The base of the lighter is made of white glazed bone china which is a type of porcelain that is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material and kaolin. This kind of porcelain is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency and very high mechanical strength and chip resistance.

    Type: wick (petrol) lighter

    Scarcity: common

    Value for good–mint condition: $20.00–30.00 (approx €15.00–20.00)

    • 195 grams (0.43 pounds)
    • height: 9.5 cm (3.74")
    • diameter: 6.5 cm (2.56")

    Advert: Ronson Varaflame Futura, Meteor, Grecian and Four Seasons Lighters, 1959

    This Ronson magazine advertisement was published in Life magazine on the 25th of May, 1959. It depicts the Ronson Varaflame table lighter models: Futura, Meteor, Grecian and Four Seasons.

    Royal Doulton Table Lighter, Falstaff, 1958

    This ceramic Royal Doulton Falstaff Table Lighter was designed by H. Fenton and issued between 1958 and 1973 in England. It is a fine example of the great variety of character jugs/table lighters manufactured exclusively by Royal Doulton Company which is an English company producing tableware and collectables, dating to 1815. Operating originally in London, its reputation grew in The Potteries, where it was a latecomer compared to Spode, Wedgwood and Minton. The Royal Doulton Company began as a partnership between John Doulton, Martha Jones, and John Watts, with a factory at Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, London. The company took the name Doulton in 1853.

    Other character Royal Doulton table lighters are in the shape of: Bacchus, Beefeater, Buz Fuz, Cap'n Cuttle, Captain Ahab, Lawyer, Long Jhon Silver, Mr Micawber, Mr Pickwick, Old Charley, Poacher Porthos, Rip Van Winkle.

    It is worth to know that Falstaff (Sir John Falstaff) is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare as a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vain, boastful, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, and is ultimately repudiated after Hal becomes king.

    The lighter base is marked on the bottom:

    Copr 1949
    Doulton & Co Limited
    Rd No 857578
    Rd No 5905
    Rd No 75/49

    The brass wick lighter insert was provided by Colibri a famous English lighter manufacturer. The company was established by Julius Löwenthal  in 1928. Colibri delivered the lighter insert which was produced in France and W. Germany. Royal Doulton also cooperated with Evans Co. and Ronson. The lighter insert is marked:

    Colibri by Kreisler
    U.S. PAT
    U.S. Zone

    Type: wick (petrol) lighter

    Scarcity: uncommonrare

    Value for mint condition: $90.00–130.00 (approx €70.00–90.00)

    Weight: 300 grams (0.66 pounds)

    • height: 11 cm (4.3")
    • width: 11 cm (4.3")
    • depth: 8 cm (3.2")