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The appearance of the word Zippo in the bottom stamp provides another clue to dating.
There have been three major changes, as shown in inset.
In March 2011, due to significant decrease of sales from 18 million lighters a year in the mid-1990s to about 12 million lighters a year recently, combined with increasing pressure on people not to smoke, Zippo Manufacturing Co.
tried offering a wider variety of products using the Zippo name, such as watches, leisure clothing and eau de cologne.
Most lighters fabricated between 19 can be identified by style and model and the patent or patent-pending marks.
Starting in the mid 50s, date codes were stamped on the bottom. The date codes have since become an invaluable tool for Zippo collectors.
Zippo also offers for sale a name brand lighter fluid. After July 1986, Zippo began including a date code on all lighters showing the month and year of production.
Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the eight decades since their introduction including military versions for specific regiments.
Since its invention Zippos have been sold around the world and have been described "a legendary and distinct symbol of Americana".
This noise is produced by the spring-loaded toggling cam, a little lever that keeps the lid closed or opened securely. From 1974 until 1981 the coding comprised combinations of forward slashes.
Unlike disposable lighters, Zippo lighters purchased new do not contain fuel. In 1979 an error was inadvertently introduced into fabrication, with some lighters reading / on the left and // on the right instead of // on the left and / on the right, but was fixed within the year.