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How To Determine the Age of a Zippo Lighter

May 22nd, 2012 Collectibles

Zippos make great collector's items because of the sheer number of designs out there and how relatively simple it is to get a start on your set. However, if you've recently come into a lighter with little information, you may be curious as to how you can determine just how old it is. As it turns out, whether intentionally or not, Zippos are naturally fairly easy to date. At the very least, you'll be able to get a ballpark idea of when it was made. Here's how to do it.

First, start by looking at the bottom of the lighter. Check the patent number. Zippos made between 1932 and 1936 will say "PAT. PENDING" on the underside. If patent 2032695 is listed, look at the placement of the number. Through 1957, the patent information was placed toward the left of the base. From 1958 through 1967, it was placed in the center.

Have a look at the Zippo logo itself. In 1969, the company changed the design so that the letter Z has a bit of a curl on its right side, and again in 1980, having it connect with the lowercase I.

You can also use the dots and dashes on the underside of the Zippo to figure out when it was made. For instance, you can determine the exact year of a lighter produced between 1974 and 1981 based on the number of slashes. From 1987 to 1999, the company switched to a Roman numeral system. Zippos produced after the year 2000 simply have that year listed in Arabic numerals. Based on this information, you can pinpoint the exact year that your Zippo was made!