Vintage Cigarette Lighters

& Ashtrays, too!

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Elgin [American] [Otis] Lighters

Elgin [National] Watch Co.

The Elgin National Watch Company, was founded in August 1864 as the National Watch Company. There is no indication that they were ever involved in the production of cigarette lighters; they made Elgin Watches.

Elgin American

The Illinois Watch Case Company of Elgin, Illinois (and subsidiary Elgin American) should not be confused with the Elgin [National] Watch Company.

The Illinois Watch Case Company (1890 - 1963) made Elgin American products through a subsidiary. In 1896 Illinois Watch Case Company established a subsidiary, the Elgin American Novelty Company, that produced jewelry and lockets. In 1923 Elgin American entered the ladies’ compact field with a patented "powder box." They went on to make various kinds of jewelry, compacts, and lighters. Elgin American continued production until closing in the early 1960s.

Elgin Otis (as it is popularly known)

'Myth' (or Lighter Legend, if you prefer): "This company, formed by the Elgin Watch Company and the Otis Manufacturing Company began making art deco styled pocket and table lighters during the late 1920’s through the early 1940’s." There is no indication that Elgin National Watch Company was involved in the lighter business. It seems a natural enough assumption, but there were a number of 'Elgin' companies in Elgin, IL - including Elgin American, a subsidiary of Illinois Watch Case Company.

Actually, it appears these were lighters manufactured by Otis Manufacturing Company of Chicago, IL (not to be confused with the Otis Elevator Company) and using the "Elgin Craft" trademark of the Elgin American Company. So, really, this is an Otis (manufacturer) - Elgin Craft (trade name) Lighter.