From its sleek shape and unmistakable click, to the windproof design and cultural impact across film, music and beyond, the Zippo lighter is truly an American icon. With a rich history that spans over 85 years, the company has influenced how people live, work and explore the world.
The notable windproof lighter has secured its place in history and is still going strong today, but there’s a lot you might not know about Zippo. In celebration of the creation of the 600 millionth Zippo lighter, here are 10 fascinating facts to share with your friends:
More than eight decades of family business
George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company in 1933. In 1932, he created the first windproof lighter after being inspired when he saw a man using a lighter from Austria. While the design was awkward to use, he was impressed that it worked well in the wind. Inspired by this, the Zippo windproof lighter was born. To this day, his grandson remains an active owner of this business, with his great-grandson also on the board of directors.
100% American made
Every windproof lighter is made in America at the Zippo factory in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Zippo can produce up to 72,000 lighters every single day and roughly 10-12 million lighters annually.
600 millionth lighter
On June 3, Zippo celebrated the incredible milestone of the production of its 600 millionth windproof lighter. The landmark lighter will be preserved and displayed in Zippo’s own museum in Bradford for visitors from around the world to enjoy.
Two museums showcase the history
In addition to the 600 millionth windproof lighter, the Zippo/Case Museum houses thousands of windproof lighters including first editions, limited editions, works of art and collectibles. Another in Jeju City, South Korea, exhibits artwork inspired by Zippo as well as local limited-edition lighters. South Korea is a popular tourist destination known for its wide variety of fun and unusual museums — from chocolate and tea to teddy bears!
Own a piece of history
On July 31, 2020, fans can celebrate the milestone by purchasing a limited-edition, high-polish chrome Zippo lighter featuring 360-degree laser engraving and a color image of the 600 millionth logo. Additionally, every collectible produced on June 3 received a commemorative bottom stamp used only on that day of production. With only 20,000 available worldwide, it’s a unique memento and treasured time capsule that’s sure to be in high demand among Zippo fans and collectors around the world.
A team effort
Each lighter passes between an average of 10-15 pairs of hands as it is made, depending on how many decorating processes are used on the particular lighter. Something special, such as a solid 18k gold lighter, might only have one or two skilled engineers handling its creation.
Several veterans have reported Zippo has saved their life by stopping a bullet while being stored in a pocket. Another person reportedly went fishing and after cleaning the catch of the day, found a Zippo lighter in the belly of a large Pike. He was astonished when the lighter worked on the first try!
The world-famous lifetime warranty
If your Zippo lighter breaks, you can get it repaired for free as part of the brand’s now famous, unconditional lifetime guarantee. Over the years, Zippo has made more than 8 million repairs without charging a single customer.
Since 1933, Zippo has launched more than 300,000 different designs — but the unique lighters offer more than just a visual delight with unprecedented reliability. In 2018, the satisfying sound of the Zippo ‘click’ was officially trademarked, joining a line-up of other trademarked sounds including The Hunger Games’ Mockingjay Whistle and famed MGM Lion roar.
To commemorate the sonic sound and the diverse sensory experience of the iconic windproof lighter, Zippo created its ASMR lighter collection — still available to purchase through the Zippo website.
A cultural phenomenon
Zippo has fans around the world, with multiple clubs for serious collectors. China is the largest international market for Zippo, where the brand is so popular that an apparel line has been created, inspired by the iconic windproof lighter.
To learn more about Zippo’s unique history, or to order the limited-edition collectible honoring Zippo’s 600 millionth windproof lighter, visit www.zippo.com/pages/600-millionth-zippo-lighter.