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Antique Cigarette Lighters

Updated on February 19, 2011

For many smokers who spend time at various shops and flea markets shopping for antique furniture, posters or various other household items, nothing will do for them except antique cigarette lighters. This article will educate you on the various brands of antique cigarette lighters and the history of lighters in general.

Antique Cigarette Lighters: The History

Let's first talk about the history of cigarette lighters in general, to determine what eras most of your antique cigarette lighters will come from. The first lighter was invented by Johann Wolfgang Dobereiner in 1823 and was called Dobereiner's lamp. The lighter was innovating and in fact was producted for nearly 60 years, but has a tendency to explode. Of course, to the collector of antique cigarette lighters, the Dobreneiner would be an incredible collectable but as none are available today for collectors, most turn to antique Zippo lighters.

Antique Vs. New

Antique Cigarette Lighters Vs. New Lighters
Antique Cigarette Lighters Vs. New Lighters

Antique Cigarette Lighters: Lighter Brands

Zippo began producing lighters during the Second World War, and while today we can buy lighters at the dollar store for about a quarter each, in the fifties and sixties lighters were more of a fashion statement, You would buy a lighter in much the same way that you purchased a watch, it being an accessory to your clothing, or décor at home. Anyone with a collection of antique cigarette lighters is sure to include several Zippos


Around the same time the Ronson brand was prevalent, even though the company actually began around 1886. The Ronson lighters are popular as antique cigarette lighters because of the complexity and sophistication of design. The Ronson lighters were truly pieces of art, made out of metal, and any collector of antique cigarette lighters worth their salt has at least one of two Ronsons in his or her collection. Their first pocket lighter was produced in 1913, and it was called the Wonderliter. This was the lighter that marked the birth of the cigarette lighters that we have today, and utilized a steel wand that is struck on a strip of flint..


Eventually, Ronson passed on their trade to their parent company, Colibri.  Colibri is still in business today, but when they took over they produced many lighters that can be had by collectors of antique cigarette lighters.

Antique Cigarette Lighters: The Burning Desire

The desire to collect cigarette lights has been with a few people throughout their device's history, and collecting antique cigarette lighters can often be quite lucrative because many people don't know what antique cigarette lighters are worth, or even that they are worth anything at all. Take the case of collector Urban Cummings who found a box and Zippo lighters at a yard sale and discovered that there was a Zippo in the box with the hinges on the outside, one of their very first lighters. He asked how much she wanted for the entire box and got it for ten bucks. The lighter inside was worth thousands of dollars. 


Look on the web and browse through some sites that sell antique cigarette lighters, or even visit Ebay. You can start your collection with just one lighter, and then shop online for more. Pretty soon you'll have a beautiful and valuable collection of cigarette lighters. Plus – if you're a smoker, you'll never have the problem of your very last lighter dying and having to wait until the store opens in the morning to buy another lighter!


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      DeapsMetaDupt 2 years ago

      More of this please

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      aissxidcd 5 years ago

      Good afternoon here is a good forum

      I spent 9 hours searching in the network, until find your forum! I think, I shall stay here for a long time!

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I have what appears to be a cigar or cigarette lighter that looks like a small 3 in champagne bottle that opens in half on a hinge. It is brass and has the word" importe" on the bottom. can anyone elaborate on the manufacturer, history or function for me?

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      gary  6 years ago

      have an old camel cigette lighter.its a 1939 to 42

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      gary 6 years ago

      have a ronson cig. lighter that resembels a i dream of geniue, ronson decanter

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      Mudcreek 7 years ago

      I have a lighter that I inherited from my father in law. It is in a small Christmas box dated 1926. If the lighter is that old it is in excellent condition. Perhaps you could guide me along the path to find out who the manufacturer is and authenticate it's supposed age. Any advice or comments you can share, Joshua, would be greatly appreciated.