In the early 50s. GE came up with a campaign to use Zippo lighters as a selling tool. The first customer of every week who came in to purchase this revolutionary television, would receive one of these specially made Zippo lighters. They came in their own special packaging and were used for a 1 or 2 year period. 52-53. Ultra Rare in this condition.
1953 Smoking Coilman
This is an advertiser from around 1953. It shows a Coiled Man with a cigarette in hand.
I really dont know the significance of the coilman himself.
Up untill 1952-53, Zippo used pat # 2032695, this new Patent Pend. base stamp was used until 1955-56.
Very few of these are still around. I have never seen another in mint condition, like this one.
The Lossproof lighter was introduced in 1947 under the name"LOOP" Then "Tach-A-Loop" and came without the lanyard.
The lanyard was not standard until around 1955 or 56.
Primarily designed for the sportsman. Its purpose was to attract customers who wanted a "lossproof" lighter.
Originally made of nickel silver, It used a "D" shaped ring to allow the owner to attach a lanyard in order to prevent loss.
The shape of the ring was changed, due to it's ability to pinch the fingers.
The attaching ring under-went numerous changes over the years... The lossproof model is still produced today.
Full leather models were first introduced in 1950.
The cases were made from brass and had a unique lip and flange on the lide and case.
The purpose of the lip was to stop premature curling or lifting of the material attached to the lighter.
These were made from multiple pieces of leather that were seamed together prior to shaping, and not just one piece.
These materials were prone to lift or bubble over the years.
To find one without these imperfections is nearly impossible.
The lighter (below right) is the best i've seen, with very few imperfections.
The full leather model was discontinued in 1957.
They were available in 2 materials, Calfskin or English Moroccan Leather, and 4 colors, Red, Tan, Blue and Green.
They had a gold leaf border on the front and back, and script style logo on the base.
Custom logos or initials could also be ordered for a small fee.
Leather wrap models were introduced in 1952 and discontinued in 1960. They were available in 3 materials, Aligator, Reptile, and Moroccan Leather.
Moroccans were available in Black and Blue. The Aligator was available in Brown only, and the Reptile was available in Red, Brown, and Green.
These came in a unique box. The box had many changes over the years.
One style and color (of box) is shown here (left),
with the "Blue Morocco" lighter. Also know as Midnight Blue.
The lighter on the right is a rarely seen Zippo applied logo on a "Black Morocco leather wrapped lighter.
2 panel graphics
2 Panel Graphics
In 1959, Zippo began using both the lid and the case to display various sports illustrations.
This two panel style is my favorite, as the scenes seem to be more balanced.
Fisherman, Golfer, Hunter, Bowler were the most common.
Less common are the Skier, Snowmobiler, and Woman Bowler.
There were also other prototypes that are extremely rare and collectible.
Sterling Silver models have been available since the 30s. This one dates between 1959-62.
These are difficult to determine the year of manufacture,
unless you know for sure that the insert is original to the case.
There were no date codes stamped on the case, and the only way to determine it's age,
is by dating the insert or hinge.
This one came from the estate of a gentleman in PA.
The cases were specifically made and lined with satin.
The outside of the cases were of a silver color, as was the logo inside on the lining.
A small protective pouch came with the gift set.
The gold, or gold plated cases, pouch, and logo were a gold color.
Zippo supplied their sales team with sample lighters to boost sales.
Salesman samples come in many variations. Zippo would often use different paint processes and colors, as well as different styles of type-set to show the prospective buyer what options they had to place an order for larger amounts.
These can be seen with logos, letters, pictures etc. on all sides of the lighter, to give as many ideas as possible to the individual purchasing the lighters.
A true sample lighter would be one made and sent to the salesman to have his customer inspect before ordering multiples of it.
Although these lighters are commonly known as samples,
they are more "promo" than "sample" items.
The samples on the left are from 1969, including lighter, knife and tape-measure.
The sample on the right is from 1975, called "The Little Persuader".
The Royal Hudson 2860 was a steam powered passenger train,
that linked North Vancouver BC to Squamish BC, for over 25 years.
Retired in 1999, now rebuilt & ready to run again.
1959 Shell Oil
With 10k gold logo
1968 Salesman Sample Fuel Tin
Here we have a rare Salesman sample lighter,
showing the 29c fuel can of that era.
This design has become popular on the newer lighters today. But very hard to find an original one.
This lighter has a unique Rayon "fuel cell", as opposed to the normal cotton wadding used by ZIPPO.
I had heard of them, but never seen one until i got this one. I believe these cells were experimental, and used on some lighters for 3-4 years.
During 1952 -53 Zippo made a few models that resembled refrigerators. These were painted in white enamel.
There were three major brands that had this done.
One was Kelvinator, that there are two styles of, and this Leonard.
As well as a Westinghouse version.
All are extremely rare, but the Leonard is much more rare.
Kelvinator & Leonard were affiliated with one another at this time.
The Leonard Company was founded in 1881, and in 1926 Leonard merged with Kelvinator.
These models had the logos applied to the back side of the Zippo, in order to create a cleaner look, and resemble a fridge & freezer.
The Westinghouse version had the logos on the front, & right side.
This group of automotive theme lighters was made between 1958 & 1961.
They were specially ordered by one salesman, who was very enthusiastic about British cars.
He used these as "promo" gifts.
In 1958, British cars were only just arriving on the scene in the USA.
A limited number were produced for him.
Even though all these cars were available in North America,
the Porsche was the only one of this group to become popular in the US.
Another little known car of the time was the Borgward.
Like the Porsche, it was made in Germany.
The T-Bird is my favorite,
It is the only American made car from his collection of promotional lighters.
In 1959 Jaguar was a world leader in the sports car world both on and off the track.
German styling and performance at it's best.
1959 Costin-Jaguar Sports Racer
Early 1956 GE Computer Dept.
With Town & Country painted logo.
Mid 50s came a change to the hinge
A change to the hinge happened in mid 1956
Where the barrels #2 and #4 became larger.
The one on the left was used from 1949-early 56.
The hinge on the right is from mid 1956 on.
During the late 40s and early 50s, Computers were just at the beginning stages of production.
The lighter features a logo that was handpainted in the Town & country process.
This lighter (in my opinion) has great historical significance, as it was made during these early stages of computer technology.
This early computer took 3-4 people to run.
During the 1950s, researchers at the Stanford Research Institute invented "ERMA", the Electronic Recording Method of Accounting computer processing system. ERMA began as a project for the Bank of America in an effort to computerize the banking industry. ERMA computerized the manual processing of checks and account management and automatically updated and posted checking accounts. Stanford Research Institute also invented MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) as part of ERMA. MICR allowed computers to read special numbers at the bottom of checks that allowed computerized tracking and accounting of check transactions.
ERMA was first demonstrated to the public in 1955 (September), and first tested on real banking accounts in the fall of 1956. Production models (ERMA Mark II) of the ERMA computer were built by General Electric. Thirty-two units were delivered to the Bank of America in 1959 for full-time use as the bank's accounting computer and check handling system. ERMA computers were used into the 1970s.
1955 Jimmy Stewart Movie Promo lighter
Jimmy stewart is well known for his acting, but his life was very colorful as a bomber pilot in both WWII and Vietnam.
Following World War II, Jimmy Stewart remained in the U.S. Air Corps as a Reserve Officer, and with the United States Air Force after it became a separate service in 1948. He commanded Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Marietta, Georgia. In 1953, his rank of colonel was made permanent, and in 1959, Jimmy Stewart was promoted to Brigadier General. During his active duty periods, Colonel Stewart remained current as a pilot of Convair B-36 Peacemaker, Boeing B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress intercontinental bombers of the Strategic Air Command.
General Stewart flew his last combat mission, 20 February 1966 in Vietnam for the U.S. Air Force
James Stewart was one of America’s most successful film actors. He made a number of aviation films , such as “No Highway in the Sky”, “Strategic Air Command”, “The Spirit of St. Louis”and “The Flight of the Phoenix”.
I purchased this lighter from the cousin of Film critic Nevart Apikian.
Nevart was of Armenian decent and began her journalism career working for the Post Standard & Herald American. (Both Syracuse NY papers) She covered stories in New York as well as Hollywood.
She began working at The Post-Standard in August 1942 as a news reporter. She soon became a theater and movie critic.
A position she held for 25years.
The lighter was a gift to the people involved with the making and promotion of the 1955 movie "Strategic Air Command" starring Jimmy Stewart.
It was engraved by Zippo and still has the name tag on the original box. Mint and never used.
Along with the lighter came this press photo showing Mr. Stewart in discussion with
Brig. General, William Blanchard.
This photos shows the Strategic Air Command logo on the jet.
Press photo is from 1956.
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1956 Sylvania w/ Halolight
This along with my other two TV advertising lighters shown in the top section of this page,
are amongst my favorites.
The graphics are what makes these very collectible, and very hard to find in mint condition.
1952 Steel Case Leather Crafted. (Left)
Very nice example of the first year this model was produced.
It was model #550 & called ,"Leather Wrap".
This one is in the very rare early box.
This box is modeled after the Town & Country boxes of that time.
There is the "Pop Up" flap used to display the lighters at the retail stores.
(Right) is a early 1956 lighter with a Zippo applied logo for "Old Forester" Whisky in the later style box.
Below is the "Full leather" model first used in 1950.
Texas Fuel Company, founded in 1901 in Beaumont Texas.
For many years, Texaco was the only company selling gasoline under the same brand name in all 50 US states, as well as Canada, making it the most truly national brand among its competitors.
It is by far one of the most recognized symbols in the gasoline industry.
This lighter (from early 1955) features a Pittsburgh PA Service station logo.
The lighter has never been used and remains in its original box.
Zippos with logos such as this one appeal to a variety of collectors.
Therefore falling into the "cross-collectible" category.
Here is another from my collection
This one is a steel case model from 1953
1953 marks the beginning of the new patent number 2517191.
The early models 1953-early 55 use a bottom stamp that covers the entire base of the lighter.
Later in 1955, the bottom stamp was changed, and was the first time that ZIPPO began using a series of dots for a date code system.
1953 - 1955 all had the "PAT PEND" stamped on the base.
1955-57 Bottom Stamp (TEXT ONLY)
Date codes begin