The History of Antique Lighters

The History of Antique Lighters

In 1823, a German chemist perfected the world's first lighter, and it was referred to as the Feuerzeug or the Döbereiner's Lamp, in honor of its inventor, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. This lighter, and other lighters from the 19th century, were relatively unstable given the amount of heat that they put off. They were also dangerous because of the fuel that was needed to be used to catalyze a flammable reaction. These early lighters were cumbersome and impractical, but also marked an incredible technological advancement.

Once these tabletop lighters entered the market, other manufacturers began to experiment with making pocket-sized lighters, portable lighters, and striking mechanisms that were safer than those previously released. A number of different lighters grew to popularity in the 1880s and 1890s, but it wasn't until 1903 that the conventional lighters we know today were born.

In 1903, Baron Carl von Welsbach patented ferrocerium, the material that's known today as flint. These semi-automatic--and later, automatic--flint lighters gave people more stability in their flames and allowed lighters to become smaller and smaller. Yet, the handheld lighters of the 1920s and 1930s are seen as some of the most collectible examples on the market.

Browse our collection of antique lighters here:

1 / 4