Book review: Compacts and Smoking Accessories, 1991

  • Full title: Compacts and Smoking Accessories
  • Author: Roseann Ettinger
  • Binding: Soft cover
  • Number of pages: 170
  • Publisher: Schiffer Pub Ltd
  • Publication date: 1991
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.4 inches
  • ISBN 10: 0887403719
  • ISBN 13: 978-0887403712
  • Availability: used and new at Amazon
  • Price range: $4–$25

Description of the book provided by the publisher:

Cosmetics and tobacco are two of the 20th century's most fascinating fashion influences, for they inspired new accessories for the well-dressed woman. This book highlights the evolution of popular vanity cases by investigating materials from compact, cigarette case and lighter manufacturers. The book begins with a history of cosmetics, and their impact on society, and goes on to show how compacts evolved to hold cosmetics and who fashioned them.

The tobacco-related containers are also traced from their beginnings to the establishment of a new line of accessories for both men and women. Through her newly revised text and hundreds of color photographs and advertising pieces of examples arranged chronologically, the author provides a wealth of information in this growing collector's field.



Acknowledgments 2
Preface 3
Brief history of cosmetics 7
Vanity Cases and Compacts 21
Smoking Accessories 107
Bibliography 161
Values guide 163
Index 166


Sample pages:





Roseann Ettinger specializes in antique clothing and jewelry. She has published a few books for collectors among others: "Popular Jewelry 1840-1940", "Popular Jewelry of the '60s, '70s & '80s" and "Handbags". These books were great but can be the same said about "Compacts and Smoking Accessories"?

The author covers the use of tobacco in history making it an introduction to the third chapter on smoking accessories. Short stories about cigar and cigarette cases, match safes, lighters, jewelry stores, cigar and cigarette holders, men's cases are following - in total about three pages of little enlightening information for a collector. With a small exception - did you know that: by the 1920s, a survey was conducted among jewelery store owners which concluded that twenty-four out of twenty-five pocket lighters that were sold were bought as gift items. The majority of the customers were women buying the lighters for men. Also some of the main manufacturers of lighters were described like Evans, Ronson, Dunhill and Zippo. 

The layout of the whole publication is unattractive; surprisingly the same applies to the cover. Also the selection of lighters and other smoking collectibles is questionable. There are plenty of pictures showing smoking accessories, catalog pages and old ads with some very modest captions. All presented in full color, nicely detailed but nothing special.

The book contains an index and bibliography which is unfortunately limited to the compacts and cosmetics part. Overall an average publication which cannot be recommended unless one is also interested in compacts. Despite of the fact that the book was published in 1991 it is still easy available today. At amazon you can have it in used condition below $5 - still to much for an eager lighter collector.

Rating: Average (2/6)

"Silent Flame" Table Lighter Operating Instruction

The improved "Silent Flame" lighter mechanism was invented and patented by Irving Florman in 1935 in the United States of America (U.S. Pat. 2,020,142). The invention was known as the electric cigar lighter "of the type wherein a wick is ignited through the heat of an electrical resistance element". Below an instruction on how to care and use such lighter. It applies to all Silent Flame Lighters made by PARKER and Dunhill.

To Fill Lighter: Turn knob at top of lighting stick to left to remove. Fill stick to top with any good lighter fluid. Do not use gasoline or kerosene. Replace knob at top of stick.

To Light: Rest the lightning stick upon the metal railing around the top of the lighter, at the same time touch the protruding point of the lightning stick against the metal figure in the center of the lighter so as to make a contact. Do not scratch any part of the lightning stick against any other part of the lighter.

To Exchange Batteries: The lighter operates on two batteries. Any standard dry cell of the correct size will do. At the bottom of lighter is a screw. Turn this screw to remove the base. This exposes two cells, one is in an up and one is a down position, according to markings. Replace with two fresh batteries and be sure that they are put in the same up and down position at last ones and that they are firmly held in the metal clips.

Mail Order Catalog, N. Shure Co. 1939

Fine examples of cigarette lighters from the late 1930s. I love the semi-automatic table lighters presented on the bottom.