Zippo set to produce 500 millionth lighter

Zippo set to produce 500 millionth lighter

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The family-owned Zippo Manufacturing Co. in northwestern Pennsylvania was expected to celebrate the production of the company’s 500 millionth lighter today.

The company in Bradford, about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, has been making the cigarette lighters with distinctive metal cases that go “click” when their lids close since 1932.

Tuesday also happened to be the birthday of the late George Blaisdell, the man who began the Zippo empire. He died in1978, and the company is now owned by his grandson, George Duke, 59.

Zippo planned to celebrate the milestone lighter by creating about 60,000 replica lighters during the day, each with a commemorative stamp. About 50,000 will sport the company’s well-known brushed nickel chrome case, while the others will get a higher polished Armor case with gold engraving.

Zippo lighters come with a lifetime guarantee and a small museum at the plant shows a handful of lighters that have been replaced — at no cost — even though the damage suffered, such as being run over by vehicles or chewed up by heavy equipment, could hardly be described as normal wear and tear.

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