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Zippo Lighter Dates: MANY SELLERS ARE WRONG! Read on...

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Frequently, while browsing Zippos on Ebay, I come across lighters that are said to be much older than they actually are. Many people claim a Zippo to be from the 1930's (VERY rare) when it is really from the '50s (fairly common). This mistake is due to the fact that the patent number was the same on Zippos from 1936 to 1955! There are a few quick ways to tell a Zippo's true age.

1: Chimney Holes: Zippos from '34-'46 had 14 holes (7 per side). 1947-present have 16 holes (8 per side).

2: Striker Wheel Mount: The mounting for the striker wheel was like a half-circle shape on '34-'46 models, and then like a half-teardrop shape from '47-current.

3: Hinge Barrels: '32-'35 had 3-barrel external hinges. '36-'37 had 4-barrel external hinges. '38-'44 had 4-barrel internal hinges. '46-'49 had 3-barrel internal hinges. And '50-present have 5-barrel internal hinges, except for some special editions I have seen with 4-barrels, but are newer replicas with the appropriate date codes on the bottom. A 3 or 4-barrel lighter may have been sent in for repairs, and fitted with a 5-barrel hinge, making the date harder to determine.

4: Flat or Indented Bottom: '46-current Zippos have an indented bottom unless it's a replica. Up until '45 the bottoms were flat or curved outwards. There are some exceptions to this (especially slims), but any flat bottoms after about 1955 will have a date code.

5: Bottom Date Codes: It would take a while to type all the date codes here, so here's a quick rundown: '32-'35 have PAT. PENDING in the lower left corner. '36-'41 have PAT. 2032695 lower left. '42 had an error and PAT. 203695 lower left. '42-'55 have PAT. 2032695 lower left, with some '53s having PAT. 2517191 and PAT. PEND together. '55-'56 have PAT. 2517191 lower left with 3 or 4 dots on each side, too. '57-'65 have PAT. 2517191 on center bottom with the number of dots reduced each year by one. '66-'73 date codes are vertical lines "||||" reducing by one each year. '74-'81 had forward slashes "/ / / /" reducing by one yearly. '82-'86 had back slashes "\ \ \ \" reducing by ones. '86-2000 used month letters (A thru L) and year Roman Numerals: II = '86 and XVI = 2000. 2001-current have month letters and regular numbers: L 06 = December 2006.

I hope this helps you determine the approximate age of a Zippo before you buy it. The quickest hints are barrels, chimney holes, and indented bottoms. Good Luck! Please Click "YES" below if you found this helpful! Thanks! Don C.

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