Patent: Ronson Touch-Tip Lighter Mechanism, 1935

The flame producing mechanism of the famous Ronson Touch-Tip Table Lighter was patented in 1935 by Louis V. Aronson. The no. of the patent is 1,986,754. The graphics of the anatomy of the lighter are based on the Ronson Touch-Tip Oval which production started in 1937 in the US (here is an magazine advertisement with the "Oval"). The most popular of the touch-tip range was though the Ronson Octette.

Book review: Collectible Lighters, 2003

  • Full title: Collectible Lighters
  • Author: Juan Manuel Clarke
  • Binding: Soft cover
  • Number of pages: 384
  • Publisher: Flammarion et Cie
  • Publication date: 2003
  • Language: English (available also in German and French)
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • ISBN 10: 2080111337
  • ISBN 13: 9782080111333
  • Availability: used and new on amazon
  • Price range: $4–10

Description of the book provided by the publisher:

The lighter, with its striker, fuel, and wick, was invented less than a century ago, and has since become an extremely popular collector's item, available in every imaginable shape and style. The contents of this richly illustrated volume range from the humble Bic (albeit with stylish James Bond designs), to the most luxurious of lighters, such as the bracelet/lighter manufactured in the 1930s by the Flamidor jewelers.

There are, of course, many examples of the archetypal Zippo, as well as brands like Dupont, Dunhill, and Polaire. A large section is devoted to soldiers' lighters - made from bullet cartridges, shields, and national coins - that tell their own story of the experiences of a young man at war.

Another section features figurative lighters, including one ingenious device that doubles as both a lighter and a functioning camera!

Collectible Lighters is a perfect source on the topic for all those interested in lighters, whether vintage or novelty, elegant or fun.


Introduction 10
Workday lighters 38
Soldiers' lighters 108
Novelty lighters 180
Luxury lighters 228
Promotional lighters 326
Index 372
Acknowledgments 374
Bibliography 377

Sample pages:

coming soon...


A small inconspicuous and handy book full of great pictures and worth knowing facts. A book for everyone who enjoys beautiful objects. This description fits only to one book devoted to lighters, namely the "Collectible Lighters"; a book written by Juan Manuel Clarke.

The book covers over 300 lighters which are divided into sections like novelty or luxury lighters. The choice of what lighter belongs to which section was made quite subjective. Also a keen observer will find out that French lighters are heavily favored as well as the American Zippos. I wish the author could bring a little bit more diversity into this book with more examples of lighters made by different manufacturers. The photographs are superb and the lighters well displayed.
The layout of the whole publication is simple and beautiful - one picture of a lighter and a short description on each page. The selection of lighters might be a matter of taste but you will find a lot of intriguing examples of lighters and interesting facts. All is presented in full color, nicely detailed and worth having on you coffee table or bathroom.

The book contains an index and a limited bibliography. The book was published in 2003 and is easily available new and used. Overall a great book for every collector of vintage items (not only lighters!).
Rating: Excellent (5/6)

Patent: Ronson Decor Table Lighter, 1955

The design of the Ronson Decor was patented by the United States Patent Office in September 1955 under the no. 175,564. More about this lighter can be found in my previous post.

Chocolat de la Compagnie Française Trade Card: The biggest foxhole windproof lighter in the world, 1910s

In March I have described the advertising trade cards from the Liebig Company showing The making of fire theme. Today I have encountered another trade card, this time issued by the Chocolat de la Compagnie Française. It depicts a soldier lightning up his cigar with the probably biggest foxhole lighter in the world. This chromo card was made during the 1910s and its size is 7 X 10.5 cm.

The card is uncommon and cost approx. €3-5.

eBay: Dunhill Sterling Table Lighter Clock, 1930s

This item is on my eBay watch list for a while now. It is a beautiful Dunhill Clock & Lighter with a significant price tag of 31 484 zł (approx. 32 620 zł). According to the seller it was made in the 1930s and is made of sterling silver. 

The clock and the wick lighter do work. The size (LxHxW) of the lighter is ca. 6.4 cm, 10 cm and 3,3 cm; the weight 203 grams.

Happy hunting!

Advert: New ASR Pocket Lighter, 1948

A full page black&white ASR magazine advertisement published in LIFE Magazine on 31st May 1948. It depicts the new American Safety Razor pocket lighter available in rhodium finish and in silver sterling. 

Advert: Alfred Dunhill Lighters Range, 1955

A full page Dunhill magazine advertisement published on 26th November 1955. It depicts a small part of the Dunhill smoking accessories range including Dunhill Rollagas pocket lighters and the Dunhill table lighter.

5th Rhein-Main Lighter Convention 2013

The 5th Rhein-Main Lighter Convention will take place this month on 27th October 2013 in Offenbach am Main, Germany. Hurry up to book your hotel room!

See you at the old factory of Mylflam Metallwaren from 10 o'clock!

Patent: Alfred Dunhill, Roman Lamp Lighter, 1937

Patented March 18, 1938
           United Kingdom Patent Office
           Patent no. 481,689
           Design and mechanism 
Dunhill Roman Lamp (mark 1)

 Alfred Dunhill Limited, British Company,
of 30, Duke Street, St. James', London
           Application date: January 30, 1937

What is the most expensive table lighter in the world? St. Dupont

If your are looking for the most expensive modern table lighter in the world than you should go visit St. Dupont which is known for its luxury creations. This St. Dupont Second Empire Diamonds Line 2 (model 016026) is a limited edition lighter – only 28 pieces were released worldwide in 2012. Each lighter is individually numbered.

The lighter is covered with white solid gold (27 grams) added parts and 222 white diamonds. It has a black & gray lacquer finish and is packaged in a custom second empire lacquer box.

The price tag? Modest $38,000. One is available at eBay right now.

eBay: $20,000 for a vintage Dunhill enamel set?

This item is on my eBay watch list since the beginning of the year 2013. It is a masterpiece without doubt. I am referring to a 'fixed price' auction with a 1930s Dunhill Set consisting of the "Unique" wick lighter and cigarette case.

Both items are unusual, made of 0.935 silver and beautifully enameled. The hand-painted enameling workmanship depicts a lovely detailed scene. The price tag? A heavy $20,000 (about €15,000)! The set is in very good condition and it comes in its original box.

Since it was listed it had already 13 price offers and currently 39 watchers including me. Happy hunting!

Dunhill "Baby Sylph" Cigarette Lighter, 1949

Alfred Dunhill ltd. manufactured between 1948 and 1954 one of the smallest fully working and for sure most exclusive lighters in the world. The so called "Baby Sylph" was marketed in solid silver, silver electroplate or gold plate. The lighter showed below has a reeded decoration. The original is stamped "Dunhill" and "Made in England". It has many reproductions which are cheap imitations made in Japan in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Type: petrol (wick) lighter

Scarcity: very rare

Value for very good–mint condition: $400.00–800.00 (approx €300.00–600.00)

Weight: 31 g (1oz)

  • height: 2.2 cm
  • length: 1.5 cm
  • depth: 1.1 cm

DuMouchelle's Auction House - Vintage Cigarette Lighters on sale

I have just received an email from the DuMouchelle's Auction House (Detroit) with an invitation to the auction on vintage cigarette lighters. It will take place on July 12-14th. Mainly figural table lighters are listed. The pricing is reasonable especially for a novelty lighters collector. Happy bidding!

1st International Lighter Convention in Czech Republic

Only three months left to the first International Lighter Convention in Eastern Europe! Time to book a room in Brno or its beautiful surroundings! The event will take place in the Penzion a restaurace U Libušky in Brno in Czech Republic on the 5th October 2013 on 9 o'clock. More information in the leaflet below. 

See you there!

Advert: First Zippo Ad, Windy, Varga Girl, 1937

The first Zippo magazine advertisement was published in Esquire on December 1937. This black and white full page ad depicts the famous pin-up girl called Windy or the Varga Girl. But the design was the creation of Enoch Bolles, one of the earliest and most widely published glamor illustrators at the time. His works can be seen here.

This ad is quite rare and it fetches prices above $50.

Advert: Ronson De-Light Lighters, 1929

A black&white magazine advertisement published in The American Magazine on November 1929. It depicts the Ronson De-Light Series including the table lighter Ronson Tabourette.

eBay: Dunhill Unique Table Lift-Arm Lighter, 1920s

It is not the most expensive table lighter in the world but for sure a very unusual one. It was sold yesterday on eBay. The opening bid started at $25 on June 8th 2013. Seven days later this rare Dunhill table lighter had received 33 bids from 15 bidders. The seller described it as being in overall very good condition.

This lift-arm table lighter was manufactured by Dunhill (model Unique) in the late 1920's. It is marked STERLING, GERMANY and DUNHILL NEW YORK along with three silver hallmarks. Lighter stands about 2-38" tall. It is about 2.25" wide and 1.25" thick at the base. The lighter is made of sterling silver and has a beautiful enamel painting of birds in flight at the edge of a lake. Below some more pictures of this lighter:

Historical documents: Zündwaren, Dr. Alfons Bujard, 1910

Another interesting document from the past worth reading will be provided for my donators. Two chapters are devoted to lighters and matches. It was written and published in Leipzig in 1910 by Dr. Alfons Bujard. The text is in German, so German reading skills are required. Below couple of paragraphs of the lecture entitled "Zündwaren":

Durch die Wirkung des Blitzen und durch der Erde entströmende brennende Gase oder Dämpfe wird der Urmensch wohl zuerst in den Besitz des Feuers gekommen sein. Ursprünglich mag er die Feuerbrände nur als Kampfmittel, also als Waffe gegen Raubtiere, gebraucht haben, er hob aber diese Naturgabe sorgfältig auf und verehrte in ihr eine Gottheit. Das Feuer wurde bei manchen Völkern durch besondere Priester unterhalten, wie die religiösen Gebräuche, Sagen und Dichtungen lehren. Es hat gewiß lange Zeit gedauert, ehe an den einfach lebenden Menschen der Vorzeit das Bedürfnis der Feuererzeugung herangetreten ist, und bis er ein Mittel zur künstlichen Feuererzeugung benutzt haben mag. Funde aus der Steinzeit, Gerätschaften aus Feuersteinen, deren Gebrauch man sich erklären kann, deuten auf eine erste Anwendung künstlicher Mittel zur Erzeugung von Feuer hin, und es ist wahrscheinlich, daß man damals durch Aneinanderschlagen der sehr harten Feuersteine mit anderen Steinen (Pyriten) Feuer erzeugt hat.

In Pfahlbauten fand man dagegen schon den Feuerstahl nebst Zünder (Feuerschwamm). Auch Drehfeuerzeuge, die sog. Drillbohrer (ein Holzbohrer, welcher mittels eines mit einer Sehne gespannten Bogens gedreht wird), find in frühester Zeit bekannt gewesen. Nach den Schriften der Alten hat schon Prometheus Feuer aus harten Steinen zu gewinnen gewußt.

Stahl, Feuerstein und Zünder waren den Römern bekannt, ein Feuerzeug, welches heute noch Anwendung findet und von Leuten, die sich viel im Freien bewegen, zum Anzünden der Zigarren und Pfeifen bei windigem Wetter benutzt wird. Die Zündholzverteuerung führt ohne Zweifel wieder zur vermehrten Anwendung dieser Feuerzeuge, wenigstens soweit die Raucher in Betracht kommen.

Als Zünder (Fomites) verwendete man im Altertume trockene Blätter, Schwämme von Bäumen, Holzspäne, auch Schwefel. Die Griechen kannten auch die Brenngläser aus Bergkristall und die Hohlspiegel. Sie wurden von Ihnen unter anderem in den Tempeln zur Hervorrufung von Göttererscheinungen und zum Anzünden des Holzes auf den Altären benutzt. Das Material dieser Spiegel war polierten Erz oder Silber. Die Brenngläser waren radförmige Gläser, sie wurden nach Plinius in der ärztlichen Praxis verwendet, auch war es schon bekannt, daß mit Wasser gefüllte Glasgefäße von geeigneter Form eine ähnliche Wirkung erzielen.

Im Mittelalter war das Schlagfeuerzeug aus Stahl und Stein das herrschende...

The 20 page long text (PDF document) is now reserved for my donators who will also receive the "Lighter Repair Manual. For All Cigarette Lighters" from 1954 and a lecture given by Dr. Rud. Benedikt in 1895 on lighters: "Die Feuerzeuge". Please donate $5 or more to this blog and you will get all three publications as a thank you.

First World War Postcard from France: "Un nouveau briquet", 1915

I have bought today a very intriguing postcard from the First World War period. It is dated on the reverse May 1915. On the front a soldier is holding a fired bomb which he uses to light his cigarette. "Un nouveau briquet" means "A new lighter".

French postcard dated 1915, Un nouveau briquet. Editeur PARIS, 552

Videos from the International Lighter Convention in Krefeld, Germany (2013)

The 14th International Lighter Convention which took place in Krefeld (Germany) on the 4th May 2013 came to an end. Below three short Full HD movies from the meeting. Enjoy!

The official part of the convention lasted approximately five hours from 9:30 to 14:30. I have meet collectors and dealers from such countries like Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, UK, Austria, Poland, France and Spain. I have counted more than 25 stands on which one could find pocket and table lighters, lighter parts, adverts, books and even displays. One could swap buy/sell lighters and over all exchange knowledge and experience. People who regret not attending this event should know that already two other meetings for lighter collectors are scheduled for this year:
  1. 1st International Convention of Lighter Collectors in Eastern Europe - it will take place on 5th October 2013 in Brno, Czech Republic. Contact person Vladimir Danek.
  2. 5th Rhein-Main-Lighter-Convention - it will take place on 27th October 2013 in Offenbach am Main, Germany. Contact person Matthias Burgey.

Historical documents: Die Feuerzeuge - ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Rud. Benedikt, 1895

Trying to expand my knowledge on lighters I am constantly looking for any historical sources that mention or describe lighters. One of the documents worth reading is a lecture by professor Rud. Benedikt given on 1895. It is all about lighters, including their history and development. The text is in German, so German reading skills are required. Below couple of paragraphs of the lecture entitled "Die Feuerzeuge".

Ich war im vergangenen Sommer Zeuge davon, wie ein Hausierer eine ganze Gesellschaft damit belustigte, dass er eine neue Sorte Zündhölzchen, und zwar solche ohne Köpfe, an ihrer Reibfläche entzündete. Alle waren aufs höchste befriedigt, nur ein ganz alter Herr meinte: „Zu meiner Zeit war's doch schöner, als man sich zu allem Zeit ließ und lassen konnte und seine Pfeife noch in aller Seelenruhe mit Stahl, Feuerstein und Schwamm anzünden musste." Der Herr war, wie gesagt, schon sehr alt und hatte offenbar daran vergessen, dass er sich dabei manchmal ganz tüchtig auf die Finger geklopft hatte.

Mir aber scheint es, dass es wohl angezeigt sein mag, wieder einmal über die Entwicklung der Industrie der Feuerzeuge in unserer Gesellschaft zu berichten, über eine Industrie, die wie so vieles Andere erst in unserem Jahrhunderte entstanden ist, und welche Erfindungen in sich birgt, die von größter Bedeutung für das tägliche Leben und die Wissenschaft sind.

Die leichte Art, in der wir heute Licht und Feuer entzünden, lässt uns vergessen, wie mühevoll und umständlich dies noch vor hundert Jahren, war; es wäre aber gut, wenn wir uns dies gelegentlich vor Augen hielten und nicht schon ungeduldig und ärgerlich würden, wenn uns einige Streichhölzchen versagen und erst das vierte oder fünfte brennt.

Ohne Feuer sind selbst die ersten Anfänge der Cultur undenkbar, und es ist nachgewiesen, dass selbst die Menschen der Eiszeit seinen Gebrauch kannten. Was das Feuer dem Menschen ist, kann man wohl nicht schöner als mit den Worten des Dichters sagen...

The 10 page long text (PDF document) is now reserved for my donators who will also receive the "Lighter Repair Manual. For All Cigarette Lighters" from 1954. Please donate $5 to this blog and you will get both publications.

eBay: 18K Gold Cartier Watch Lighter - the most expensive lighter

What is the most expensive lighter sold on auction at eBay up to date? It is a 18K Cartier Watch Lighter sold for $18,988 (ca. €14,500). The opening bid started at 50 cents on the 1st April 2013. Seven days later the solid gold pocket lighter received 45 bids from 19 bidders. By far it is the highest price for a lighter fetched on eBay. Till today the record belonged to an early example of a Zippo lighter which was sold on January 2009 for $11,758.98.

This luxurious Cartier Watch Lighter is a rare 18K solid gold lighter with a build in 15 Jewels Watch made in the 1930s in France. It measures 50 x 36mm and weights 82.8 grams. The wick lighter is marked "Cartier Paris Made in France 05396". It is extremely well build and looks very Art Deco taking into account the enamel details. A true masterpiece for a substantive pile of cash. The seller stated the condition of it as excellent.

Auction house - vintage pocket and table lighters, sale

I received today an email from "Koller Auktionen" - a swiss auction house - with an invitation to the auction on pocket and table lighters (auction no. W236). It will take place in three days on 20th of March. You may look at the over 200 lighters listed here

Most of the lots are overpriced but famous auction houses attract wealthy people so there is a probability that some of the cigarette lighters will find a new home. One of the table lighters I have spotted has though a tempting starting price:

Lot 5609
TISCHFEUERZEUG "WELTKUGEL", U.S.A., Art Déco. Metall silberfarben gefasst und teils verchromt. Erdkugel, die Kontinente profiliert dargestellt. Auf rundem Sockel. H 13,5 cm.
CHF 200.- / 300.-
€ 170.- / 250.-

The table lighter is in good condition and it is the famous "The Globe" lighter sold and advertised by Dunhill in the 1930s. It was manufactured by Demuth New York (Demley) and was available in chrome-plate and bronze-plate finish.

Liebig: Chromo Advertising Trade Cards - Making of Fire, 1908

I have recently discovered a fantastic field of ephemera collectibles; namely the advertising trade cards from the Liebig Company (producer of meat extract) issued between 1872-1939. The colored lithographed cards instantly become very popular and collectible. Each series has 6 or 12 cards and the size of each card is approx. 4.1" x 2.8".

One set of Liebig (Oxo) cards might be of interest to lighter collectors. The set no S0932: The making of fire was issued in 1908 and was available only in French (La production du feu), German (Erzeugung des Feuers) and Italian (La produzione del fuoco). This particular lot costs between €15-30.


Picture 01:      Das Feuerreiben in der Urzeit
Picture 02:      Feuererzeugung durch Sonnenstrahlen
Picture 03:      Das Platinfeuerzeug
Picture 04:      Bäuerin gebraucht das Zunderfeuerzeug
Picture 05:      Das Stippfeuerzeug
Picture 06:      Die ersten Phosphorzündhölzer

Advert: Lektrolite lighters, Glopoint, 1939-1946

Three black&white magazine advertisements published in Life Magazine and Popular Mechanics between 1939 and 1946.