Monday, June 8, 2015
The color choices are status quo typical Vector styling. Offered is Black Matte, Gunmetal Satin, Chrome Satin, High Polish Chrome and Black Crackle Matte.
This lighter had some weight to it, weighing in by itself at nearly 10 ounces. This gives some reassurance if dropped or with repeated use, no internal parts are likely to break on you. Since it is designed to be a table top lighter, the weight is a huge pro, the lighter will stay put and not roll around on you. As for balance, the lighter is solid, not top heavy, not bottom heavy. The balance is good.
Vector manufactures one of the finest lines of butane torch lighters available on the market today. The feel of the Thundra when pressing the ignition button is solid. The button is large and comfortable to press. Especially if you are like me and have fat fingers… Props to Vector on this.
As expected, with three independent burners, we lit up cigars ranging from 50 to 60 + gauge, experiencing perfect burns. There was no hesitation when attempting to ignite, in fact, some may feel that it is too powerful.
One cool thing that Vector does, is they typically test their products for use at specific altitudes. The Thundra has been Altitude Tested up to 10,000 ft. This is about the height at the peak of Aspen Mountain.
Well, since it has a rather large butane tank, we have lit up a ton cigars within no hesitation or sputter. We will be updating this part of the review with a final cigar lighting number off of one butane fill.
Backed by Vector's Limited No Proof Warranty. Vector lighters passed all of Vector's demanding tests and inspection standards set by Quality Control. Vector warranty covers mechanical parts only under normal use and excludes damages resulting from misuse, tampering and abuse of lighters. This warranty does not apply to the outer case finish of a lighter.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Louis V. Aronson was a huge creative driving force for the company; and, with a few business adjustments, including the addition of Alexander Harris (1910-11) as Business Manager, the company soon became World Famous!
All accounts state that Louis Aronson was a gifted man, who at 16 years old set-up a money making shop in his parents' home - before receiving a U.S. patent for a commercially valuable metal-plating process he developed when he was 24 years old, and he sold half the rights while retaining the Right to Use. "His experiments, which he has been conducting since his early youth, resulted in 1893 in the discovery of a process for electrically producing tinplate. Much money was expended upon improving the process... and has been of great practical value to the whole industry. Retaining its rights, he sold half the patent rights, and later used part of the proceeds to open the Art Metal Works in Newark, N.J. Soon the company was producing a variety of high-quality Lamps, Book ends, Art Statues and other decorative items, prized today for their detail in the collector marketplace.
When, in time, technological advances were developed to allow for the manufacture of a safe flint material in 1906, Louis Aronson's ambition for an automatic pocket lighter soon became a reality. In 1913, Louis Aronson applied for a patent for a Liter (lighter), which was approved. In 1926 he released a new "automatic operation" Banjo lighter, which offered to both ignition and extinguish in a single push. It was a great success, demand shortly exceeding supply, spurring Aronson to Patent it and design other products around the invention, which were marketed under the Ronson brand name. Under his leadership, 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 in 1927 Ronson began marketed it as the Ronson De-Light Lighter with the slogan "A flip - and it's lit! Release - and it's out!" Ronson's new lighters were an overnight success worldwide and soon the company offered a variety of lighters for all tastes. As with the Art Metal Works output, many well-built and stylish early Ronson lighters demand high prices in the collectibles marketplace.
Ronson Pisto lighter
Looking much like a long-barrel pistol, the Ronson Pisto-Lighter was exhibited at the 1912 Olympia (UK) car show on the Klaxon stand. It consisted of a file-like member which was drawn up the barrel of the pistol against a strong spring, and when the trigger was pressed it was released rubbing against a 'flinty substance' contained in the cap where the front sight of the pistol would be. This action was said to produce a constellation of sparks sufficient to light an acetylene lamp in the wildest wind. At the time acetylene lighting was standard for motor vehicles.
Ronson Butane lighters
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 lighters.
Ronson appliances in Australia, after being sold by the parent company, are now owned by Breville Group and the brand is a mid priced value brand with wide distribution in the Australian market.
Ronson Cadet lighter
This silver colored and durable square lighter was brought out to the public in 1959. This lighter was made in three variants not including the Cadet Mini, and they were made exclusively in England. One of these three versions of the Cadet even featured a wind shield. The Cadet Mini was also released in 1959, also manufactured exclusively in England. This shorter variant of the Cadet Lighter also came in four different patterns.
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, Pennsylvania. The acquisition did not include the Ronson Aviation subsidiary.
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.
Ronson Limited sells Ronson branded gift and everyday lighters, gas and fuel, and smoker's requisites internationally with the exception of North America.
Ronson Limited and Ronson International Limited headquarters are located in England.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
The Zippo timeline begins in the early 1930s, at the Bradford Country Club in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Mr. Blaisdell watched a friend awkwardly using a cumbersome Austrian-made lighter. The lighter worked well, even in the wind, due to the design of the chimney. But its appearance was utilitarian. Its use required two hands, and its thin metal surface dented easily.
Late in 1932, he decided to refashion the Austrian lighter. Mr. Blaisdell fabricated a rectangular case and attached the top of the lighter to the case with a hinge. He retained the chimney design which protected the flame under adverse conditions. The result was a lighter that looked good and was easy to operate. The first Zippo lighter, currently displayed at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford, was produced in early 1933 and sold for $ 1.95 each. And, from the very beginning, they were backed by Mr.
Blaisdell’s unconditional lifetime guarantee – “It works or we fix it free. ™” The name “Zippo” was created by Mr. Blaisdell. He liked the sound of the word “zipper” so he formed different variations of the word and settled on “Zippo,” deciding that it had a “modern” sound.
Application for the original Zippo patent was filed on May 17, 1934, and patent number 2032695 was granted on March 3, 1936. A second patent, number 2517191 was issued on August 1, 1950. The design of the Zippo lighter remains basically the same to this day, with minor improvements. In the mid-30s, Bradford’s Kendall Refining Company placed an order for 500 Zippo lighters. These are believed to be the first company-advertised lighters produced by Zippo and are highly collectible. Today, companies continue to use Zippo lighters as an advertising medium and Zippo “advertiser” lighters continue to be among collectors’ favorites.
Beginning in 1939, World War II had a profound effect on Zippo. Upon America’s entry into the war, Zippo ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military. The military initiative led to the production of the steel-case Zippo lighter with black crackle finish. The fact that millions of American military personnel carried the lighter into battle was a significant catalyst in establishing Zippo as an icon of America throughout the world.
Supplying the military market resulted in full production for the plant. This enabled Zippo to be strong financially and made it a viable company.
At the end of the war in 1945, Zippo hit the road selling lighters to peacetime America. A promoter at heart, Mr. Blaisdell wanted to create a car that looked like a Zippo lighter. In 1947, the Zippo Car was born.
1950s / 1960s
Starting in the mid-50s, date codes were stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter. The original purpose was for quality control, but the codes have since become an invaluable tool for collectors.
The launch of the Slim model in 1956 was a major milestone. This version was designed to appeal primarily to women. The first non-lighter product was a steel pocket tape measure, or “rule” as it was called, introduced in 1962. Other items have been added and deleted from the Zippo line since the 1960s. Many were primarily geared to the promotional products division. The roster includes key chains, pocket knives, golf greenskeepers, pen-and-pencil sets and the ZipLight pocket flashlight.
Perhaps one of the biggest influences on collecting is Zippo’s ties to Hollywood and Broadway.The Zippo lighter has been featured in more than 1,500 movies, stage plays and television shows over the years. Zippo lighters have “starred” in such diverse productions as “I Love Lucy” “The X-Men” and “Hairspray – the Musical.” Often the lighter is a key prop, used as a device to move the plot forward or to reflect the personality of a character or time period being depicted.
On the music scene, Zippo lighters have been raised high since the 1960s as a salute to favorite performers, a gesture later dubbed the “Zippo Moment”. The famous Zippo “click” sound has been sampled on songs, and the lighters themselves have been featured on album covers, tattooed on rockers’ skin, and wielded in Rolling Stone photo shoots. With a rock resume like this, ZippoEncore.com was created to showcase the talents of undiscovered bands across the country.
1970s / 1980s
Mr. Blaisdell passed away on October 3, 1978. He is remembered not only for inventing the Zippo lighter, but also for his
generous and kind spirit. After his passing, his daughters, Harriett B. Wick and Sarah B. Dorn, inherited the business. In the 1980s and 90s, the company was owned by six members of the Blaisdell family, including his daughters and their children. Today,
George B. Duke, Mr. Blaisdell’s grandson and Sarah Dorn’s son, is the sole owner and Chairman of the Board. Gregory W. Booth is President and CEO.
In the 70s and 80s, Zippo greatly expanded its overseas sales and marketing efforts. As a result, Zippo lighters are now sold in over 160 countries. Strong sales in both the domestic market and emerging markets overseas, particularly China and India, contributed to record sales increases in 2011 and 2012.
In 1993, Zippo acquired W.R.Case and Sons Cutlery Company. Case manufactures premium hand-crafted knives, and offers a wide range of product categories, from traditional folding pocket knives and fixed blade sporting knives to limited-production commemoratives and collectibles. Established in 1889 and based in Bradford since 1905, Case has a rich heritage and many aficionados collect both Case knives and Zippo lighters.
It’s estimated that there are some four million Zippo collectors in the United States and millions more around the world. Their fervor and dedication to the brand is unparalleled. To enhance the collecting experience, Zippo collector clubs around the world hold meet ups and other events throughout the year.
The Zippo/Case Museum opened in July 1997. The 15,000-square-foot facility includes a store, museum, and the famous Zippo Repair Clinic, where the Zippo lighter repair process is on display. The Zippo/Case Museum Store was remodeled early in 2012 with textures like brick, metal, and leather; a wooden runway leading to the centrally located cash wrap illuminated by pendant drop lights that resemble fire; a combination of vintage artwork and lifestyle photography; and display shelves resembling the Zippo bottom stamp.
2000 to Today
In the fall of 2002, Zippo obtained trademark registration for the shape of the Zippo lighter. This was a major milestone in helping Zippo protect the brand from counterfeiters. Zippo also launched a major new product category with the Zippo MPL®, multi-purpose lighter, a refillable butane utility-style lighter. Since then, several new products have been added to the multi-purpose lighter line.
The Zippo windproof lighter has been a staple necessity for outdoor adventures since . . . well, for more than 80 years. There are many stories of how the light, heat, or case of a Zippo lighter saved the day or saved a life in the company archives. In 2010, the company introduced an all-metal hand warmer that operates on Zippo premium lighter fluid and keeps hands warm longer than any other product on the market. In 2011, an emergency fire starter kit and flex neck utility lighter were added to the roster of Zippo Outdoor products. As the Outdoor products continue to show very strong sales worldwide, Zippo is developing a Zippo- branded line of robust camping gear and fire accessories scheduled to be introduced later in 2013.
Zippo’s diverse product line continues to grow, and now includes lighter accessories; butane candle lighters; watches, men's and women's fragrance, and lifestyle accessories for men; and the developing line of heat and flame products for outdoor enthusiasts. Zippo also owns the Ronson brand of lighters and fuel.
In 2012, during its 80th anniversary year, Zippo production surpassed the milestone of 500 million lighters since Mr. Blaisdell crafted the first lighter in early 1933. The lighter is ingrained in the fabric of both American and global culture. In marketing parlance, the brand enjoys an unaided awareness rate of more than 98 percent. That means 98 out of every 100 people surveyed have knowledge of the Zippo name and lighter without being coached in any manner – an astonishing recognition factor.
Today, though most products are simply disposable or available with limited warranties, the Zippo lighter is still backed by its famous lifetime guarantee, “It works or we fix it free.™” In more than 80 years, no one has ever spent a cent on the mechanical repair of a Zippo lighter regardless of the lighter’s age or condition.
The first lighters were converted flintlock pistols that used gunpowder. One of the first lighters was invented by the German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823 and was often called Döbereiner's lamp. This lighter worked by passing flammable hydrogen gas, produced within the lighter by a chemical reaction, over a platinum metal catalyst which in turn caused it to ignite and give off a great amount of heat and light. The device was very large and highly dangerous and fell out of production by the end of the 19th century.
The patenting of ferrocerium by Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1903 has made modern lighters possible. When scratched, it produces a large spark which is responsible for lighting the fuel of many lighters, and is suitably inexpensive for use in disposable items.
Using Carl Auer von Welsbach's flint, companies like Ronson were able to develop practical and easy to use lighters. In 1910, Ronson released the first Pist-O-Liter, and in 1913, the company developed its first lighter, called the "Wonderlite", which was a permanent match style of lighter.
Two Zippo lighters, one open, one closedThe Zippo lighter and company were invented and founded by George G. Blaisdell in 1932. The Zippo was noted for its reliability, "Life Time Warranty" and marketing as "Wind-Proof". Most early Zippos used naphtha as a fuel source.
In the 1950s, there was a switch in fuel choice from naphtha to butane, as butane allows for a controllable flame and has less odour. This also led to the use of piezoelectric spark, which replaced the need for a flint wheel in some lighters and was used in many Ronson lighters.
In modern times most of the world's lighters are produced in the United States, China, and Thailand.
Naphtha (very similar to gasoline) based lighters employ a saturated cloth wick and fibre packing to absorb the fluid and prevent it from leaking. They employ an enclosed top to prevent the volatile liquid from aporating, and to conveniently extinguish the flame. Butane lighters have a valved orifice that meters the butane gas as it escapes.
A spark is created by striking metal against a flint, or by pressing a button that compresses a piezoelectric crystal (piezo ignition), generating an electric arc. In naphtha lighters, the liquid is sufficiently volatile, and flammable vapour is present as soon as the top of the lighter is opened. Butane lighters combine the striking action with the opening of the valve to release gas. The spark ignites the flammable gas causing a flame to come out of the lighter which continues until either the top is closed (naphtha type), or the valve is released (butane type).
A metal enclosure with air holes generally surrounds the flame, and is designed to allow mixing of fuel and air while making the lighter less sensitive to wind. The high energy jet in butane lighters allows mixing to be accomplished by using Bernoulli's principle, so that the air hole(s) in this type tend to be much smaller and farther from the flame.
Specialized "windproof" butane lighters are manufactured for demanding conditions such as shipboard, high altitude, and wet climates. Some dedicated models double as synthetic rope cutters. Such lighters are often far hotter than normal lighters (those that use a "soft flame") and can burn in excess of 1,100 °C (2,010 °F). Contrary to common misconception, the windproof capabilities are not achieved from "higher pressure" fuel, with lighters using the same fuel (butane) as standard lighters, and therefore developing the same vapour pressure. Instead, windproof lighters mix the fuel with air, and pass the butane/air mixture through a catalytic coil. An electric spark starts the initial flame, and soon after the coil is hot enough to sustain a catalytic reaction and cause the fuel/air mixture to burn on contact.
Requirements1 for Cigarette Lighters
What is the purpose of the rule that requires certain lighters to be child-resistant? This rule reduces injuries and deaths that occur when children under the age of 5 light fires while playing with cigarette lighters and requires generally that:
(1) at least 85% of the children who test a surrogate (dummy) lighter in the manner described below must not be able to make it work;
(2) the mechanism or system that makes the lighter child-resistant must reset automatically each time someone tries to light the lighter;
(3) the child-resistant mechanism must not impair the safe operation of the lighter when the lighter is used in a normal and convenient manner;
(4) the child-resistant mechanism must work properly for the reasonably expected life of the lighter; and (5) users must not be able to easily override or undo the child-resistant mechanism.
What is a disposable lighter?
A disposable lighter is a lighter that either:
(1) cannot be refilled with fuel or
(2) uses a gas such as butane, isobutane, propane, or other liquefied hydrocarbon under pressure, and has a Customs Value or price from the manufacturing factory under $2.25.
What is a novelty lighter?
In general, novelty lighters have features that make them attractive to children under five. Novelty lighters include lighters that depict or resemble articles commonly recognized as appealing to or intended for use by children under 5 years of age, such as cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, musical instruments, vehicles, toy animals, food or beverages. They also
include lighters with features entertaining to children, such as visual effects like flashing lights or sound effects like musical notes. A novelty lighter may operate on any fuel, including butane or liquid fuel. Novelty lighters are subject to the requirements for child-resistance regardless of their Customs Value or factory price.
What is a surrogate lighter?
A surrogate lighter is a substitute for an actual working lighter. Surrogate lighters are used for testing so that the children tested do not have to try to operate real lighters. A surrogate lighter approximates the appearance, size, weight, and shape of an actual lighter intended for use by consumers. It does not have fuel, and must also be identical to the actual lighter in all characteristics that might affect child resistance, including the method of operation and the force(s) needed to operate the lighter. When operated, a surrogate produces a sound or visual signal to let the tester know that it has been operated in a
manner that would have caused the actual lighter to light.
Are there any standards for other hazards presented by lighters?
The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Lighters, ASTM F400-97, addresses such issues as flame generation, flame control, flame-height adjustment, spitting or sputtering and flaring, flame extinguishing, and structural integrity. The ASTM standard also provides that each lighter be accompanied by instructions or warnings, or both, explaining the proper way to use the