"Do you want to buy some Zippo lighters?"

Zippo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania began selling refillable metal cigarette lighters in 1933 (the company was founded the year before) and remains very much in business to this day. During the Second World War, Zippo discontinued manufacture for civilian consumers and devoted all their production to supplying the U.S. military. Though the company did not have a formal contract with the military, soldiers and other personnel insisted that their base exchange stores stock Zippos. Brass, the metal used in the traditional case for the lighters, became unavailable, so wartime Zippos were made of steel.

In subsequent decades, the company issued lighters with special designs, other popular brand names and logos, and limited edition artwork, so they became popular collectors’ items. Today, customers may order a Zippo lighter customized with their very own message, artwork, or photo engraved on it.