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Lighter-Fi

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm curious to see if anyone else here collects and has an appreciation for lighters. I've built up a small but decent collection of them, with many being vintage models that are no longer produced.

 

For an example, the Thorens single claw. This was an interesting lighter made in Switzerland that featured a clever mechanism to open the top and light the flint. The top of the lighter is spring loaded, and pops open when the button on the side is pressed (the button can be screwed down to prevent accidental activation). When the top springs open, a claw connected to the lid jerks a peg on the flint wheel, which creates a spark that lights the wick. When the lid is closed, the spring becomes compressed again, and the claw moves on to the next peg.

 

 

Another interesting one is the Beattie Jet lighter. This lighter creates a jet flame that can be used to light pipes and thaw car locks (according to the materials that came with it), but is unique in that it's a jet lighter that uses lighter fluid instead of butane. It creates the jet flame by using two wicks: one of them is the primary wick that produces the main soft flame, the other is a wick housed inside a crimped tube with a pinhole in the end. When the lighter is tilted, the flame heats up the tube, vaporizing and pressurizing the lighter fluid held by the wick inside. This fluid then shoots out the pinhole, creating the jet flame.

 

post #2 of 21

I'd love a recommendation for a wind-proof refillable lighter...

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Sure thing! There are a lot of different types to choose from; probably the most important decision would be if you want butane or lighter fluid. Butane lighters come in soft flames and jets, the jets being the more windproof of the two. However, butane jets clog up more easily, and the piezo ignition systems eventually wear out. A soft flame butane will last longer and be more reliable, and a soft flame lighter fluid lighter will be even more reliable and long lasting than that. The disadvantage to lighter fluid lighters, though, is that the fluid evaporates and leaves the lighter. If you don't use and refill your lighter often, you might find yourself reaching for an empty lighter fairly often. Also, lighters that use lighter fluid impart a taste to tobacco, whereas butane lighters are more neutral. Do you have an idea of which type of lighter you'd like?

post #4 of 21

There are lighter fluid based lighters that have O-rings that seem to prevent or at least slow the loss of fluid.  I have a few of the County Comm peanut lighters and a Numyth for example.

 

I agree that the butane jet lighters clog easier.  I have no idea how to unclog them.

post #5 of 21

I need something which doesn't impart a taste.

 

soft flame butane may be the answer.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhritz View Post

There are lighter fluid based lighters that have O-rings that seem to prevent or at least slow the loss of fluid.  I have a few of the County Comm peanut lighters and a Numyth for example.

 

I agree that the butane jet lighters clog easier.  I have no idea how to unclog them.

True, but these are more cumbersome to use daily. I have one of those CC peanut lighters, too, and it makes a great backup. For the butane jet lighters, compressed air from keyboard dusters can sometimes alleviate clogs. Also, be sure to flip the lighter upside down and press the fill inlet a little after you fill it. This purges the chamber of air bubbles that get introduced into the system from refilling and impede performance.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noahbickart View Post

I need something which doesn't impart a taste.

 

soft flame butane may be the answer.

 

Soft butane is a great choice, but it's not very windproof. I can't think of any good modern soft butane lighters that resist wind, but I've been able to make mine work outside by cupping my hands around them. You should be fine unless you're in an area with extreme wind. One option would be to go vintage with Ronson's Windlite wind-resistant lighters. You might be able to find a decent example in good working condition, but the seals can be iffy on the old ones. They have a nice thick "hard chrome" coating that you rarely see on consumer products now, and because of the wick system it uses you can fill them with the cheap Ronson butane.

 

 

Personally, though, I mostly use my I.M. Coronas, and I can't recommend them enough. Even though they're not wind resistant, I've been able to use them outside without too much of a problem. They're pretty much the most reliable soft flame butane lighters you can buy (I've heard they're more reliable than the pricey S.T. Duponts and Dunhills), and the quality is excellent. They have a carbon filter to prevent damage to the nozzle from fuel impurities, but like all nice butane lighters you should still only fill it with triple filtered butane. If the lighter does stop working, though, I.M. Corona will repair it free of charge. Mine are the Double Corona model, which features two nozzles to create a wider flame for cigars. The bodies are machined from solid blocks of brass and plated with gold, pewter, or a few other options. Exchanging the flints takes seconds, and a little knob on the bottom flips up so you can adjust the flame height. They also have slimmer models and other types available.

 

post #7 of 21

My goodness, looks like you got a major collection in lighters, Pens and watches. I have an almost complete collection of mint Zippo with Joe the Camel, a couple of DuPont and Dunhill. I stopped collecting them after I quited smoking. I still smoke a cigar once in awhile. I use a torch lighter I bought from the hobby store. I worked great. Now if I learned to do welding, I can use the same lighter.  I do have a large collection of pens. They're mostly vintage Parker 45, 61 and 75, lots of Eversharp Skyline, and a few Waterman. If I know how to restore lighter, I would probably collect more vintage lighters. I have one vintage dupont and  a vintage Dunhill that I worked on. Problem is I couldn't find any part for them. But, I've quitted smoking for more than 10 years now. I guess I don't really need any lighter.


Edited by dvw - 6/10/13 at 9:15pm
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post

My goodness, looks like you got a major collection in lighters, Pens and watches. I have an almost complete collection of mint Zippo with Joe the Camel, a couple of DuPont and Dunhill. I stopped collecting them after I quited smoking. I still smoke a cigar once in awhile. I use a torch lighter I bought from the hobby store. I worked great. Now if I learned to do welding, I can use the same lighter.  I do have a large collection of pens. They're mostly vintage Parker 45, 61 and 75, lots of Eversharp Skyline, and a few Waterman. If I know how to restore lighter, I would probably collect more vintage lighters. I have one vintage dupont and  a vintage Dunhill that I worked on. Problem is I couldn't find any part for them. But, I've quitted smoking for more than 10 years now. I guess I don't really need any lighter.


Haha yes I do have my interests spread across quite a few hobbies. I also dabble in flashlights, knives, and sunglasses (and of course headphones). Those DuPonts and Dunhills are really works of art. I haven't been able to justify buying one since the I.M. Coronas function at least as well for much less, but those two companies really put out some impressive products that are nearly unparalleled for craftsmanship. Gotta love that ping, too. It would be great to see some pictures of your collection! Nice to hear that you're a fan of the Skyline, as well. I believe that they're very underrated considering how readily available and inexpensive they are compared to most vintage pens. People always sing the praises of the 51, but I really like the integrated filling and Art Deco design of the Skyline, which can typically be found for less.

 

I think my first lighter was one of those generic torch lighters; I thought it was so cool at the time. It fell apart eventually, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted. Based on my research into torch lighters, it seems like the best bets are Blazer and Xikar. Blazers are made in Japan and have an almost legendary reputation, while Xikars are reported to be high quality and come with a no questions asked warranty. I haven't had any experience firsthand with the Xikars yet, but here's my Blazer PB-207:

post #9 of 21

I had the Blazer too. Then I switched to the cheap generic torch. They kept plugging up on me. Then when I was in the Cigar Den in Hong Kong. They let me use this huge Torch that looks like a flash light. It was very easy to mange because you hold it with your entire hand and it has a 90 degree angle flame. You don't have to worry about burning your eye brow by accident. I found a similar torch in a hobby shop for $12. It is also easy to clean. A quick blow of compress air and it's as good as new.

BTW, Eversharp is a fantastic pen if you can find the right one. They all have some sort of flex. The flex ranges from semi-flex to wet noodle. I have a couple that is as good if not better than the Waterman. The only negative is the barrel is a bit fragile. I broke a few when I'm doing the resacking.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

There's definitely something to be said for getting a cheap torch, since the torch system is fairly fragile. The Ronson Jetlite is actually a really good option for that, I picked one up just to try it out. They're decently reliable and work well, but they cost under $5 when you can find them. They certainly don't feel like $5 lighters. Plus, at that price, it's worth picking up a few and using them in succession with the cheap Ronson butane (I only use triple filtered stuff for the nicer butane lighters). Even if the cheap butane breaks the lighter every couple canisters (and the lighter does last longer than that on cheap butane), you'll make back enough in butane savings to make up for it.

 

I'll keep that in mind when I have to resac mine. I've been pretty impressed with the durability of these old pens made in fragile materials, though. I have a Waterman 52 that has held up for over 80 years (based on the markings and designs, it was produced between 1929 and 1931 IIRC).

post #11 of 21

Man; I am really impressed with your broad knowledge across so many topic. I can imagine it must cost you a fortune to get all those toys. Talking about Waterman, I have one that might just be over 100 years based on the marking. I am resacing three Waterman that I just acquired. I'm waiting to get maybe two or three more. I like to order a bunch of sacs and do them all at once. Waterman are definitely a lot easier than to do than Eversharp.

post #12 of 21

I also have a Blazer that has held up very well over the years.  Mine is all back.  The coolest lighter I have (at least in terms of complication) has an air adjustment for using at high altitude.

 

It's similar to this one:

 

http://www.mysmokingshop.co.uk/index2.php?mod=mancats&sec=618&man=260

post #13 of 21

I am using something like this.

http://www.harborfreight.com/micro-torch-42099.html

 

It's on sale for $8.99. I better go and load up.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post

Man; I am really impressed with your broad knowledge across so many topic. I can imagine it must cost you a fortune to get all those toys. Talking about Waterman, I have one that might just be over 100 years based on the marking. I am resacing three Waterman that I just acquired. I'm waiting to get maybe two or three more. I like to order a bunch of sacs and do them all at once. Waterman are definitely a lot easier than to do than Eversharp.


Thanks! I've actually found that some research and knowledge into a hobby can be the best way to stretch your budget. There are always a few niche items within each hobby that are underappreciated and can be had without breaking the bank. I'm guessing the 100 year old one is an eyedropper? Those old slip caps with the decorative bands and the barrel are truly beautiful.

 

Here's the Ronson Jet-Lite I was talking about. They have some pretty durable metal construction and work pretty well. There's a fill inlet and flame adjustment on the bottom. Obviously they don't have the best fit and finish, and the longevity is limited by the jet flame and piezo ignition system, but for under $5 they're a steal. I learned about them from a cigar forum; apparently the best or only place to get them is Walmart, and they don't always have them. But if you do encounter them, they make a great backup. I've just kept mine in my backpack for years and seals have held up fine; it still fires up strong.

post #15 of 21

x-smoker here with a large quantity of lighters that i no longer need.  Nothing super-vintage or Dupont/Dunhill level, but lots of xicar, colibri, etc.  I'd agree with Tsujigiri's summary of the different ignition and flame systems.  I'd probably sell most of mine if the price was right.

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