From Academic Kids

A Zippo Lighter is a refillable, metal lighter manufactured by the Zippo Manufacturing Company. They are highly collectible and hundreds of different styles and designs have been made in the seven decades since their introduction.

Zippos are typically rectangular in design with a hinged flip-top lid. Unlike plastic lighters (such as those made by the BIC Corporation) that are used and thrown away, Zippos are refilled with liquid naphtha lighter fluid. By sliding the inner component out of the outer shell, its owner can pour lighter fluid into a rayon packing that holds a wick. The flint that produces the spark to ignite the wick, which is also replaceable.

Zippos gained popularity as “windproof” lighters—able to stay lit in harsh weather. They became popular in the United States military, especially during World War II when all Zippo lighters produced went to the Allied war effort. Additionally, Zippos are known for the lifetime guarantee they carry: if a Zippo breaks, no matter how old, the company will replace or fix the lighter for free.

George G. Blaisdell founded the Zippo Manufacturing Company (located in Bradford, Pennsylvania) in 1932 and produced the first Zippo in early 1933. It got its name because Blaisdell liked the sound of the word "zipper" (according to John Ratzenberger's television show "Made in America").

By 1936 the first patent was granted for the Zippo lighter.

Since 1933, over 400,000,000 Zippos have been produced.

The Zippo Manufacturing Company has expanded its product line recently to include a "Multi-Purpose Lighter".


Zippo maintenance

Refilling the lighter

  • Open the lighter and remove the lighter assembly from the shell.
  • Open the bottle of lighter fluid (the lighter assembly can be used to open the "safety nozzle" used for most brands of fluid).
  • Some Zippos will have a small hole in the bottom of the lighter assembly that can be used to refill the lighter. Otherwise, lift up the bottom part and refill, taking care not to oversaturate the cotton (otherwise, lighter fluid will leak out).
  • Replace the lighter assembly in the shell. Wipe the shell and hands clean of any excess fluid before lighting.

Replacing the flint

  • Open the lighter and remove the lighter assembly from the shell.
  • Loosen the screw at the bottom of the lighter assembly. A screwdriver or coin may be necessary, but usually this can be done with the fingers.
  • Remove the screw and spring and shake the lighter, to make sure the remnant of the previous flint (if any) falls out.
  • Drop the replacement flint into the hole, replace the spring, and tighten the screw. Replace the lighter assembly into the shell.
  • The striker may need to be "wiggled" a little in order to get the new flint to strike.
  • A common trick is to put in two replacement flints, instead of just one. That way, if the first flint runs out, the replacement is already in position.

Zippo boats

During the Vietnam War, modified LCM-8s were equipped with flamethrowers and nicknamed "Zippo boats".


Many people have mastered the art of flipping open a Zippo lighter, and making it look "cool". The most popular method is to hold the lighter in the right hand with the index finger and middle finger on top, and the thumb on bottom (hinge facing towards the pinky). Pressure is applied to the Zippo from the top fingers, which slide to the back, throwing the Zippo open.

Another common trick, with the lid open, is to snap one's fingers, glancing the wheel with the middle finger and igniting the wick. Easily as common is the trick of running the wheel quickly over one's pant leg in order to ignite the wick. Many practice these tricks until one can 'pop' the lid and ignite the wick in one seamless motion. It is not nearly as difficult as it looks, and can be an impressive display of casual dexterity.

The website detailed 555 tricks that can be done with a lighter, until the United States National Fire Protection Association had the site shut down due to claims that it encouraged young people to play with fire. The site has since re-opened as

External links

de:Zippo ja:ジッポー


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