In 1932, George G. Blaisdell
founded the Zippo manufacturing company in Bradford, Pennsylvania
. He obtained the patent rights for the design of an Austria
n windproof lighter, made modifications to the style and structure, adding a hinge to the top, squaring the bottom, adding a windhood around the wick. Fascinated with another new invention, the zipper, named his lighter the Zippo. Backing it with the now world-famous guarantee
Any Zippo lighter, when returned to our factory, will be put in first-class mechanical condition free of charge, for we have yet to charge a cent for the repair of a Zippo lighter, regardless of age or condition. The finish, however, is not guaranteed.
This guarantee gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state. Other Zippo products carry their own specific warranties.
As of today, Zippo has produced over 325 million of their windproof lighters, with case designs ranging from the WWF
to Marilyn Monroe
. Except for minor modifications to things like flint
composition or case decoration, the design remains unchanged from the first that Blaisdell produced in 1932. Today, the factory is still owned by second and third generation members of the Blaisdell dynasty. Although the lighter is by far their most popular product, the company expanded its line in 1962 with a pocket tape measure, one of many experiments, the first of which was perpetrated in 1947 as ‘The Zippo Car
’, vaguely reminiscent of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
. Zippo currently has branches in over 120 countries, and clubs for collectors of their lighters have been organized in the US, Britain, Japan, and a number of other countries. Zippo also owns W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company
, a subsidiary which specializes in hunting and pocket knives.
The Zippo/Case visitors center
, which publicizes itself as “the most visited museum in northern Pennsylvania
’, is located in Bradsford, PN at 1932 Zippo Drive, right off Route 219
. There, visitors can enjoy an American flag made of over 13,000 red, white, and blue lighters, a holographic knife, and occasionally the Zippo Car, when it rests between engagements. The Zippo Repair Center
is located within the same building. Proper procedure for having a lighter repaired is as follows:
- Remove flint from lighter and allow the fuel to evaporate (leave the lid open) for two or three days prior to mailing.
- Package lighter securely in padded box or envelope.
- Include name, address, and telephone number inside package, but do not attach anything directly to the lighter. Make sure your complete return address is on the outside of the package.
- If your lighter has special sentimental value to you, you may want to (a)insure your package, and (b) inform repair staff, in their note, as, if lighter cannot be repaired, they will send you a new one.
- Mailing address
Attention: Repair Clinic
1932 Zippo Drive
I ganked it all from zippo.com.