Welcome To VintageLighter.com – History of vintage lighters and where to buy online. Vintage lighter brands, for sale, price guide, values and information.
The original concept for the cigarette lighter can be traced back to German inventor Carl Auer von Welsbach in the late 19th century. He patented a pocket-sized device called the “Auerlicht” in 1903. It used a metal coil that, when ignited with a match, produced a flame suitable for lighting cigarettes.
Ronson took Welsbach’s concept and made the Wonderlite in 1913.
World War I pushed the design of lighters when soldiers made lighters out of empty cartridge cases.
The first commercially successful and widely used lighter was invented in 1920 by an American named William P. Fife. His lighter used a fuel-soaked wick and a striker mechanism to produce a flame.
In the 1930s, the design of the car cigarette lighter evolved into the well-known element we recognize today. The basic design consisted of a removable knob or heating element connected to a coil spring. When the knob was pressed in, it heated the coil, and when released, the knob popped out, indicating that the lighter was ready to be used.