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  • October 30, 2019 1 min read 2 Comments

    I vividly remember my first Zippo.  Do you?  If you're into collecting Zippo lighters like I am, then I'm sure you do!  My first Zippo was actually not a lighter, but a Rule. I've spent much of my working career in the guitar business.  My family and I moved to the Ithaca, NY area in 2006 when I started working for a well known vintage guitar shop.  We did a fair amount of traveling to guitar shows and would often pass the exit for Bradford, PA.  On one of our trips a co-worker asked me if I had ever stopped and the Zippo Museum.  I answered that I hadn't.  He said we should stop sometime.  The next time we were on the road he handed me a Zippo Rule and said, "Here is your first Zippo".  It was made for an adhesive company and he got it when he worked as a book binder.  There was just something about the Etch & Paint design that I found captivating.  My memory fails me, but I believe it was the same trip when I got my first Zippo lighter.  It was purchased at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma and I have it pictured below along with my Zippo Rule.  It was the Zippo Rule that started my journey into collecting all things Zippo.  I would have never guessed at the time that it would turn into my career!  Please share a comment below on what was your first Zippo!


     My first Zippo - a gift from a co-worker


    My first Zippo lighter purchased in Clinton, Oklahoma in 2010

    2 Responses

    Rob Moon
    Rob Moon

    October 30, 2019

    back in the early 70’s when I was still in high school my godfather Bob Zepps stopped by our house one day and handed me some Zippos., saying “here, you’re a smoker” He was a salesman for Sacramento Rubber at the time and I don’t know if he collected them thru work or what. I kept 2 I thought were cool and gave the others to my brothers. One was a classic Rust-oleum advertiser and the other was a California Seals pro hockey team. I used them both religiously over the years and somehow never lost them or never got pocketed by a friend. I still have them to this day, although both are well worn and have been repaired a few times each. Funny thing is when I really got serious about collecting, I used to see a new California Seals Zippo pop up on ebay now and then and had to have a nice mint one. I thought at first they might be rare, but over the years mint in the box ones still pop up regularly on ebay. They must have made hundreds of them!

    Jeff Johnson
    Jeff Johnson

    October 30, 2019

    Chuck , my first zippo was a key ring I got from a family friend that was engraved with Jeff 1984 on it. The year I graduated from high school. I really never knew anything about zippos growing up as my family didn’t smoke. Every year in the Jamestown Post Journal Zippo would advertise “come see the Zippo Case International swap meet in Bradford PA with thousands of visitors from around the world”, with a full page ad. Finally in 1999 I went the for National Zippo Day. I too was hooked on Zippo! You can see the history of the US from wars starting with WWII to present and all of the interesting company advertising slogans and logos. They are like a little time machine back in history.
    And yes I still have the key ring!

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