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My Favorite Princess

by Larry Tolkin

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Ronson Princess LighterToday if someone were to ask "Who is your favorite princess?", most people would respond with a Walt Disney animated character. I would say, "The Ronson hard baked enamels of 1929."

Ronson Princess LighterLouis V. Aronson designed the Princess De-Light in 1927, coming at the same time as the standard model, as shown in the design patent.

The princess model was continually improved until its last version in the early 1950’s. Spanning 25 years of manufacture - the Princess comes in a multitude of finishes, coverings, and enamel designs.

Ronson Princess LighterMy favorite princess model has always been the two sided hard baked enamel series of 1929. No other model of pocket Ronson lighters were manufactured with this quality baked lacquer inlay process. The lacquer enamel designs were applied to both the front and back making this model quite colorful.

Ronson Princess LighterThe designs also utilize more colors than other Ronson enamel models. Equally important to their beauty are the sophisticated modernistic geometric art deco patterns. Only a handful of patterns were created for the series – each coming in an array of color combinations.

Ronson Princess LighterThe 1929 Princess version was redesigned from the original 1927 De-Light, incorporating a streamline modern snuffer and thumb press. The underside bears the 1926 Banjo automatic mechanism utility patent along with a 1917 rare earth metal alloy (cerium flint) patent. All known examples of this Princess model are found with chrome plated bodies.

Ronson Princess LighterRonson pocket atomizer perfume sprays also were made with the same process and designs with some retailing as sets. The worldwide economic depression in 1930 likely created the business environment that made it necessary for Ronson Art Metal Works to discontinue this inlay enamel application and change to a less expensive process

Ronson Princess LighterIf you appreciate art deco enamel lighters or pocket Ronsons, make sure to add a two side inlay baked Princess to your collection.

Photos by Larry Tolkin

cover shot of Blaze newsletter

Larry Tolkin's article has also appeared in Issue 128 February, 2011 of BLAZE - the quarterly newsletter of The Lighter Club of Great Britain - http://www.lighterclub.co.uk/

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