The Barlow lighter is often attributed to the Barlow family of Sheffield, England. The first known mention of a Barlow lighter is from the late 18th century. These early lighters were typically simple friction spark lighters, similar in design to flintlock firearms.
The Barlow lighter design evolved over the years, incorporating advancements in technology and materials. In the 19th century, several patents were issued for improvements to these lighters, both in the United Kingdom and the United States. These patents covered various features, such as mechanisms for igniting the flame and protecting the fuel source.
Barlow lighters gained popularity and became a common household item during the 19th and 20th centuries. They were often made from materials like brass, steel, and other metals. These lighters were known for their durability and reliability, making them a preferred choice for many.
Barlow lighters came in various shapes, sizes, and designs, catering to different tastes and preferences. They often featured intricate engravings, decorative patterns, and personalized designs. Some Barlow lighters were made as promotional items, commemorative pieces, or gifts. Over time, certain Barlow lighters became collectible items, sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.