Dating zippos by stamp
Probably the most valueable pieces among these millions of black crackle Zippo lighters produced from 1942 to 1945 are those made "in memory of Ernie Pyle". Blaisdell learned about his friends' dead on April 18, 1945 in the South Pacific he immediately send about 600 specially engraved Zippo lighters to the Captain of the U. In late 1946 the flint wheel having 70 horizontal teeth was replaced by the newly invented criss-cross style flint wheel now having 48 teeth only. Blaisdell found out in early 1946 that the quality of the flint wheel was not as good as he has been led to believe.So he spent about US 0.000 in order to get the problem solved & to match quality standards - the base of his business & the now famous promise to customers:"If a Zippo ever fails to work - we'll fix it free!" For unknown reason some 1942 four barrel black crackle Zippo lighters have what is often mentioned as date code error,which has the patent number #203695 or 203695 instead of 2032695.It is also known that some bottom stamps from 1942 show sligtly bigger ZIPPO characters. There have also been variations showing the lettering in red or blue instead of black.The history of the black crackle Zippo lighters & the success of the Zippo Manufacturing Company itselfis inseparably connected to World War II.When on Sunday, December 7, 1941 Pearl Haror, Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese, out of a sudden the United States of America were in war.
At this time it was common to have cartoon like or comic strip style ads. Blaisdell hired famous US cartoonists like Frank Beaven, Otto Soglow & artists like John Lopker to design ads for his Zippo lighter.
Such lighters have also decorative elements that distinguish them into different groups.
For example, diagonal cuts are a popular styling for Zippo Lighters; Town & Country Zippo lighters often feature deer, wild birds and pictures characteristic of the American West; many lighters are decorated with metallic low relief and depict Harley-Davidson logos, cross and crown symbols,and other signs.
The famous War correspondant wrote columns for the Scipps Howard Newspaper & had the habit of giving a Zippo lighter to every soldier he interviewed, wrote a letter to George G. I.'s being very confident having a reliable lighter. Blaisdell started sending him about 50 to 100 Zippo lighters a month for free in order to promote his product by Mr. (please see some examples at the end of this page for further information)Regarding the company's output the production numbers exploded.
The Army Quatermaster Corps ordered Zippo lighters in 500.000 & 1.000.000 unit lots.Stamped codes signify the exact date when the lighter was produced.