Zippos are classed as windproof lighters because they can stay lit in practically any wind condition. Furthermore, Zippo lighters are recognized for their lifetime guarantee: if a Zippo breaks down, regardless of how old it is, the business will replace or repair the lighter for free.
Although zippos are designed to be lightweight and easy to carry, this does not mean that they are cheap to manufacture. In fact, a Zippo is one of the most expensive lighters available. The reason for this is that Zippo manufacturers require premium quality materials for their lighters; usually brass or steel with some plastic parts. These are expensive materials to source and maintain a high quality supply chain for.
Another factor which makes zippos more expensive than other lighters is the design itself. Unlike disposable lighters which are made from plastic, zinc-carbon zippos contain several parts which need to be manufactured with great care and precision. Even though these components can be bought individually, when put together they make up a highly effective fire starter and fuel gauge.
Finally, while most lighters rely on petroleum products to work, zippos use pyrogallic acid, a natural product derived from wood. So not only do zippos provide long-lasting flame effects, they also reduce our dependency on oil.
Overall, zippos are durable, reliable, and efficient.
If the pocket where you keep your Zippo becomes wet, the lighter may not operate. Strangely, I've seen them in rainstorms with moderate winds. They will ignite as long as the wick, striker, and flint are dry, but if any of those are damp, they will not light. The pocket can be dried out with a clean cloth or put in a hot dry place for about 24 hours.
The first Zippo was made in 1933 by Gilbert V. Ziglar (1893-1949) of Louisville, Kentucky. He had been working at an insurance company when he came up with the idea for the cigarette lighter while waiting for a train to come in. Unable to find anything like it on the market, he decided to make his own. Using parts from old cigar lighters, oil lamps, and even kitchen stoves, he came up with the first practical disposable cigarette lighter.
Ziglar's father wanted him to go into business with another man, but Gilbert refused. He knew that he could succeed on his own so he quit his job and started Zippo Inc. today. Although he never sold a single lighter, he proved himself to be very talented at marketing them. By 1937, one in every three lighters sold in the United States was made by Zippo. In 1951, Ziglar died in an automobile accident at the age of 55. His wife Anna and two children were also killed.
In Bradford, Pennsylvania, he created the first Zippo lighter. Because he loved the sound of the term "ZIPPER," he named it the ZIPPO.
The original Zippo company was founded by George Blaisdell and his wife Elizabeth. They were both graduates of the University of Michigan and had met while studying there. After graduating, they married and moved to Bradford, where they set up shop making lighters.
Blaisdell invented a new type of fuel cell that used zinc and steel plates with holes drilled in them. These were placed inside a glass tube filled with oil. When the two plates were heated from outside the tube, they would ignite, burning very cleanly due to the absence of oxygen. This method of lighting a fire is now used by most disposable lighters.
At the time, other brands of lighters were being sold across the country, some made in Bradford itself, others imported from Europe. So George Blaisdell decided to name his brand of lighter after the word everyone knew meant "lightning" - thus creating the ZIPPO label for all his products.
Within a few years, the Zippo company grew so large it needed its own warehouse and office building.