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Dating my zippo lighter, dating a Zippo Lighter

Dating Zippo Lighters

The date code enables the collectors to determine the age of the Zippo lighter at a glance. This is fun and easy to do because every Zippo lighter since has some kind of identification on the bottom of the Zippo lighter case. At the turn of the new century, Zippo Manufacturing Company introduced a new and easier way to recognize the date codes. The difference between a and Zippo can be determined by the insert as the ones had markings on them.

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The flintwheel rivet was solid from this point on. Experiments were made using different types of steel and different angles of cut. The second change was the introduction of the new cam spring.

After months of research, and lots of emails, I think I am now somewhere close to dating these lighters. On the image below we can clearly see that there are four dots, bankatpeoples online dating either side of the word Zippo.

The next major difference is the hinge, between the two halves of the lighter case. By carefully aligning the lighters to a common Red base line we can start to see the small differences. As the inserts may be steel, a magnet will stick to some brass cases if placed against the body of the lighter. Many of the early hinges were replaced, as have been some later ones, so the hinge barrel count is not always absolutely accurate as it is possible a repair replacement has been made.

This is still evident today with many of the dated lighters. So far, I have only found the larger one on lighters.

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The History of Zippo Lighter Dating

At this time, the insert stamp was on the bottom section of the insert. It is now much wider than the ones used in previous years. Black crackle Zippos were apparently produced only for shipment to armed forces overseas and none were produced for domestic sales.

Dating a Zippo Lighter

The date code is the same format as Regular Windproof Lighters. The appearance wasn't so great and there was a tendency to rust, so a black crackle paint was used on these lighters. Another detail picture shows just how minor these differences can be.

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Ready to start a collection today! Earlier lighters are much more difficult to date accurately. The flintwheel has a hollow rivet. Even prior to the coding system we can go some way to identifying the approximate year of manufacture, as the stamping on the bottom has changed slightly over the years.

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The spring style changes at this time, from a humped spring to a narrow flat spring. This style spring is still used today. The cam spring was unchanged, and was the narrow flat spring style.

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Whilst being a good guideline, this is by no means infallible. On the two lighters below we can see how the spacing between the letters differed over time.