Skip to main content

Fire is one of man's most powerful tools. Fire allowed early humans to cook their food and survive difficult climates. And ever since it was first discovered, we've been trying to find ways of harnessing it. For centuries, candles were used to physically and metaphorically light the way, then in 1823 the lighter came along. The first lighter was made as part of a lamp by German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. In 1903, ferrocerium was developed by Austrian scientist Carl Auer von Welsbach, which aided in the invention of the modern lighter. Ferrocerium was often misidentified as a flint, but it helped companies to develop inexpensive, practical and easy to use lighters for mass consumption. 

The first permanent match style lighter, named the Wonderlite, was invented in 1913 by New Jersey based company Ronson. The Zippo lighter was created by American inventor George Grant Blaisdell in 1932, who founded the company in the same year. Soon after, Zippos began gaining popularity, as they were more reliable, had a life-time warranty and were marketed as being wind-proof. At the time, Zippos were fueled by naphtha, a flammable liquid hyrocarbon mixture, however, during the 1950s they switched over to butane as it provided a more controlled flame and emitted less odor. 

These days, approximately 70,000 Zippo lighters are made every single day out of their Bradford, Pennsylvania facility. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, with many professional artists collaborating with the brand. In recent years, there have also been plenty of incredible lighter tattoos created throughout the years. Take a look at 75 badass lighter tattoos from talented artists in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section on social media.