Vintage Cigarette Lighters

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Ronson Lighters

The Ronson lighter company started as The Art Metal Works in 1886 by Louis V. Aronson, a gifted man who at 16 years old received a U.S. patent for a commercially valuable metal plating process he developed. Retaining its rights, he sold the patent and used its proceeds to open the Art Metal Works in New York City. The following year he moved his factory to Newark, New Jersey. Soon the company was producing a variety of high quality lamps, book ends, statues and other decorative items, prized today for their detail in the collector marketplace.

Aronson had established himself as a safety-match development pioneer with his inventions of the Non-Toxic Match and the All-Weather Match in the 1890s. When, in time, technological advances were developed to allow for the manufacture of a safe flint material in 1906, Aronson's ambition for an automatic pocket lighter soon became a reality.

Under the leadership of Louis Aronson, the Art Metal Works began designing prototypes, and patented several generations of 'Igniting-Apparatus' until finally arriving at the Banjo Lighter. Ronson received an exclusive patent, in 1926, for a new automatic style of lighter that worked with one hand and Ronson marketed it under the slogan "A flip - and it's lit! Release - and it's out!"

During World War II, Ronson plants were switched to 24-hour ammunition production. A number of lighters were produced solely for distribution to the armed forces. "Ronsons are made today for our armed forces only and are obtainable by them thru government agencies. Available to civilians, as usual, after Victory."

After the war, Ronson turned to producing lighters, then branched out into domestic goods such as electric shavers and cooking appliances. The company expanded to include England and Australia.

In the early 1980s, high costs and the advent of cheap disposable lighters forced closure of its production facility at Leatherhead in England. Now, a European branch at Long Buckby in Northamptonshire in the UK sells a range of stylish and exclusive butane lighters consistent with the firm's legacy, along with the usual disposable and refillable lighters and requisites.

In February 2010, Zippo acquired certain assets of Ronson (lighters and lighter fluid products) in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. As a Zippo brand, Ronson is based at Zippo headquarters in Bradford, PA.

Today Ronson remains a strong brand in the U.S. and Canada. Ronson pocket lighters are available in both disposable and refillable versions. Several models of multi-purpose lighters and a touch-utility lighter are also marketed. Ronsonol lighter fluid and Multi-fill butane fuel have a sizable market share in North American markets.

The Ronson brand is sold in the U.K. by a separate company.