10 different one of a kind Ronson lighters:
The first is an Adonis model covered in clear rhinestones. This is a design room prototype as only the Gem model was manufactured utilizing allover rhinestone design. Circa late 1940s with value of $1000
Next are 4 post WW2 1940s two-tone gold plate touch tips. Each has a rare two color goldtone finish that was never used by Ronson for production. Each features a 1940s wand and curved flint wheel housing design. These are the only known examples. Estimated values: Octette $7500; Oval $5000; Colonnade $5000; Grecian $3500.
Louis Aronson started Art Metal Works circa 1895 as a metal plater. He had invented a process for gold plating that he named “Ormolu” (not to be confused with the French term, also plating related, dating into the early 1800s). Art Metal Works first manufactured ashtrays, lamps, photo frames and other novelty household items. It was from this invention that he stated making plated pocket and table striker lighters a few years later. Aronson later developed numerous gold, silver, nickel and chrome plate finishes.
Next: 5 incredible Ronson windscreen prototypes
When Alfred Dunhill introduced the sport windproof model in 1927 it became an instant success. Soon after, most American lighter companies needed to introduce their own windproof versions. All the major U.S. lighter manufacturers including Evans, Clark, Marathon, Golden Wheel, and Demley soon introduced windproof models. The demand for windscreen models was so great, it lead George Blaisdell to start importing stormproof lighters from Austria in 1932. Zippo quickly developed the attached cased model based upon the Austria lighter but added an outside hinge so the snuffer cannot separate from case. Blaisdell asked Gimera to design the new lighter.
Ronson, starting with Louis Aronson to Frederick Kaupmann to Ray Burchett designed numerous windproof models, but many were never put into production. Ronson tried numerous designs including movable windscreen (1927) and slide windscreen (1929), then settled on the Whirlwind retractable windscreen model in the late 1930s. They even tried a similar design to the Zippo using an automatic mechanism. It was designed in 1945 by Ray Burchett of Ronson Art Metal, where the mechanism lights when the snuffer lid is opened. Estimated value $25,000 - only one known.
Next shown are 3 standard 1930’s models-each having a different built up windscreen. Estimated values $5000-7500 for each.
The WW2 wartime table green crackle Ronson lighter features an unusual built up 3 sided windscreen with curved thumb press and oversized funnel shape snuffer. The lighter is marked Ronson on the pull out chrome plated insert. Estimated value $15,000 - only one known.
As you can see from the variety of styles,windproof models were very important during the history of Ronson Art Metal.
Photos by Larry Tolkin