Archive for June 4th, 2007

I love my Zippo. I have to admit…it’s just great. I’ve had it since probably about 1986 and it hasn’t failed me yet. In fact, they are the only lighter that offers a lifetime warranty on the market. It’s been that way since the first one was ever produced as a major source of marketing and it hasn’t changed.

Zippos weren’t actually created or conceived by George Blaidsell outright. Rumour has it he saw a man using a very unsightly lighter where they both lived in Pennsylvania. Rather, he simply bought a patent from the existing Austrian company and improved upon the design of the original. The first thing he did was chrome plate the lid of the Austrian version to try and improve its appearance but they would not sell. There were some apparent defects. This is how, I suppose, the prototype was born for what we all know as the Zippo today.

Next what was done was to make the lighter small enough to fit in the smoker’s hand. Apparently the other was too bulky and awkward. Then he added a hinge to attach the lid to the bottom of the lighter and place the same Austrian windproof shield around the wick. Aha! Sound familiar?

The first Zippo was produced in 1932 but was later shortened by 1/4 or an inch. Perhaps a bit too bulky still? The price was $1.95. I have no idea what the price would be for one now as again, I’ve had mine for a little over 20 years! I can’t even remember what I paid for it then.

In 1936, you could probably say that the beginning of “Zippo Art” or personalization began. They offered two engraved insignias on the lighters: the “Scotty Group” showing dogs and “The Drunk” showing an inebriated man leaning against a lamp post. Hmmm. Drinking and smoking have always gone together? You could also have your initials engraved.

All this talk…I think it’s time for a cigarette. Don’t worry, PA is only drinking water *grin* And that’s another thing. There’s nothing quite like the taste of lighting a cigarette with a Zippo. Most regular smokers either love or or hate it. Or well, perhaps some are indifferent but I’ve spoken to some who have definite opinions. Disposable lighters of Butane ones…no taste like a Zippo.

So after the beginnings of Zippo art in its fledgling form, marketing and advertising of them really took off. Manufacturing companies, cigarette companies (of course,) sports teams, tourist destinations, comic characters, universities. There was even an illustration of an attractive woman in Esquire magazine called “The Windproof Lady” that created a huge stir that later led to more major advertising in other magazines.

Zippos became rather huge during war times. Blaidsell shipped many to the front lines during World War II but made them with a black matte finish so that the shine would not be evident and attract enemies to the soldiers. During the Vietnam War, they were also tremendously popular as the soldiers would use them as a form of artistic expression on their own. And this time, no black matte finish was needed. Instead, the chrome finish became a useful tool as the soldiers would use them as handy mirrors and also the strong flame would be employed to heat meals. Supposedly, they also kept salt in the bottoms to replenish lost body sodium if required. I also read and have heard of bullets being stopped by Zippos but if memory serves, PA watched this “urban legend” become debunked on MythBusters.

And oh yes, the name! Where did the name “Zippo” come from? Well, apparently Blaidsell liked the word zipper so he sort of transformed it to Zippo. Now what zippers and lighters have in common, PA is not quite sure…except for the fact that she can light hers off her pants. And no, she doesn’t set herself on fire in the process. In fact, that’s another thing about Zippos. People love to do “tricks” with them. PA can not. Every time she has tried to do some kind of fancy “hand flick” or something, usually the damn thing goes flying across the room (not lit of course, thankfully.)

Here’s a site that shows some clips of Zippo tricks. There seems to be pages and pages of video clips of them so I didn’t watch them all. There is even one for modifying your Zippo to make it smaller! Sacrilege! Oh, and in case you are wondering, PA’s Zippo is, she believes, a silver 1936 replica. No personal engraving or insignias. Just two diagonal lines across the top and the bottom–quite attractive.

For more information check out this link if you are interested as there is more than I covered there. Also you can Google more information but I’ve pretty much given the basics.


Holy crap. I should bind my hands behind my back and throw my MacBook in the trash. The former would be easier but I can’t do the latter as MacBook cost me many pretty pennies and even though I am still waiting for Mac Guru to give me the software I need, I can still blog to my heart’s content and fuck around on the internet and muck around with iTunes and upload the photos that hopefully I will shoot.

But really, isn’t this blogging business getting “Out Of Hand?” Yes…the YouTube is coming. I made a reference to it in a comment earlier. It’s my current earworm at the moment. PA gets them all the time. Whether they are (somewhat annoying or good) songs predominantly, or even to extend the reference, thoughts or even blog posts (quite obviously…)

My poor readers…whoever you may be. I thanked dear senators in six at …salted lithium for giving me “prime real estate” on his blog recently. Lord knows why! Apart from him adding me to his blogroll, he has a neat tracking tool where he as a few blogs that monitor posts as they are added in a separate part of his sidebar. I am one of a lucky few that he has chosen. Well, shit. Yes that is quite an honour indeed but with the amount of posts that I keep writing these days, is it really worth it? I suppose if anyone reading has as much time on their hands as I do, I guess it might be?

And yes, I’ve linked to him a lot recently…I know…”people will talk!” He is a dear, though. He has another blog as well. It’s called …cultural snafu. and it’s all aboot our lovely country Canada. Also worth a look. But yes…he is very kind. I remember when I first commented on that site and I felt like such an idiot. He is so erudite in his writing and I was so intimidated! But he was welcoming and lovely and said that my opinions were valued no matter.

Anyway, where was I going with all of this! Besides the fact that I can’t stop blogging and senators in six is now my friend.

I’ve been trying to think about so many other “things” that I could write about other than my life but it’s rather difficult…and yet I can’t stop writing. It’s this stupid cycle it seems. Blah, blah, blah…is anything even relevant on the screen? Maybe I can come up with something better soon–even tomorrow? No promises, though *grin*

So yes, about that “earworm” and that song. I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to control things in one’s life. In my life. I’ve said before that I’m not a control freak but at times, things can happen to everyone that shakes them and surprises them–or not necessarily to that extent but simply you just don’t know what to do and you’re a little bit confused.

So I give you “Out Of Hand” by The Mighty Lemon Drops. PA’s going to try and just let things flow for a bit and well…let certain things go if she has to.

But probably not blogging.