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These codes provided him with the date of manufacture, should a defect be found, allowing him to maintain records of repairs.Fortunately, those date codes are a tremendous help today in the ability of collectors to correctly identify the year any given Zippo lighter was made.
Inserts can also be dated by their material, number of holes in the chimney, flint wheel style, cam style and markings. Date codes appeared as early as 1955, and the dating system was fully in effect by 1959.Very quickly, you can determine a broad age of a Zippo lighter based on the three major changes to the style of the word “Zippo” imprinted on the bottom of the lighter. Before 1959, dating Zippo lighters can be a bit tricky, as the exact placement of the words must be taken into consideration.The “Block” Zippo was used from 1933 to 1954; it was changed to the “Script” Zippo in 1955, and the “Flaming i” began in 1980. Pending was stamped from 1933 until the end of 1936, when it was replaced with Pat. We’ve provided examples of what we believe to be the correct bottom codes for those tricky years.Again, placement of the wording, the material the case is made of and the number of barrels on the hinge play key factors in dating earlier Zippo lighters.In 1986, the dot and slash date code methods were replaced with Roman numerals representing the year and letters of the alphabet representing the month of production.In 2001, the last two digits of the year were used along with the same letters for the months, and that system continues today.
Slim Zippo lighters were introduced in 1956 and had no date code on the bottom of the lighter. From 1957 through 1965, slims had different bottom date codes than did regular size Zippo lighters.
Beginning in 1966, the same markings were used on both the slim and regular.
Since the late 50's, the bottom of every Zippo lighter has featured a series of dots and slashes which serve as code marks.
When matched to the manufacturer's coding chart above, you can determine what year the lighters were produced.
George Grant Blaisdell established Zippo in October 1932 in Bradford, Pa., and the first Zippo lighter was produced in January 1933.
Blaisdell had date codes imprinted on the bottom of the lighter cases.