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Ronson Wonderliter Surprise

by Larry Tolkin

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Ronson WonderliterRonson WonderliterThis article reveals 2 Important Ronson discoveries that I made from eBay. eBay is a place of discovery as many lighters are listed with boxes or instructions that reveal previously unknown information. Both of my discoveries involve Ronson's 1910s pocket striker lighters.

When I bought my first miniature champagne bottle striker, about 20 years ago, I was told is was a Ronson lighter. The bottle was unmarked and I was not convinced it was a Ronson.Ronson Wonderliter It felt like a Ronson and I quickly compared the wand to other Ronson Wonderliter models. The wick tip prong was slightly different and I thereby thought it was made by another manufacturer. I was wrong.

Last year on eBay there was a similar model champagne striker which came in an unmarked box with pouch and its original instruction sheet. The instruction sheet was for the Wonderliter. The sheet does not mention Ronson, but Ronson trademarked and owned the name Wonderliter. Every Wonderliter is a Ronson lighter.

Ronson WonderliterIt becomes quite evident that Ronson manufactured this model for a champagne company circa 1915. It was the early days of Ronson manufacturing striker lighters and adding the Ronson name to the bottle would have added cost. Ronson later made special advertising pocket strikers for other companies that are also not marked, including the spot striker for New Bachelor Cigars.

Ronson WonderliterI therefore conclude the champagne bottle striker is 100% a Ronson model and now becomes an important novelty figural striker. Time to add one to your collection. If you already own the Ronson version of the champagne bottle, it is time to celebrate with a glass of bubbly.

Ronson WonderliterThe second discovery involves the fact that Ronson manufactured 1910s through 1920s sterling silver pocket strikers. I have shown an example of a floral, engine turned Ronson Paragon striker which sold on eBay last year. The Paragon was marked sterling along one side edge. I had thought Ronson produced sterling strikers but had no evidence. Ronson WonderliterShown also is an unmarked sterling Wonderliter Gem. It is exactly the same as the plated version (wand in photo of figure # 3 in Ronson book is incorrect version) and only marked sterling. It too was manufactured by Ronson Art Metal Works.

I hope all the Ronson or vintage novelty striker collectors feel this important information is "wonderliterful".

Photos by Larry Tolkin

cover shot of Blaze newsletter

Larry Tolkin's article has also appeared in Issue 125 August, 2011 of BLAZE - the quarterly newsletter of The Lighter Club of Great Britain - http://www.lighterclub.co.uk/

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