The story of Zippo Manufacturing Company is the story of its people, from the founder, George G. Blaisdell, to the many Zippo employees, customers, and collectors who have played a part in its 80-year history. Their loyalty to Zippo has made this one of America’s great companies, one with a vivid history.
The Zippo timeline begins in the early 1930s, at the Bradford Country Club in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Mr. Blaisdell watched a friend awkwardly using a cumbersome Austrian-made lighter. The lighter worked well, even in the wind, due to the design of the chimney. But its appearance was utilitarian. Its use required two hands, and its thin metal surface dented easily.
Late in 1932, he decided to refashion the Austrian lighter. Mr. Blaisdell fabricated a rectangular case and attached the top of the lighter to the case with a hinge. He retained the chimney design which protected the flame under adverse conditions. The result was a lighter that looked good and was easy to operate.