When it comes to lighting a fire, there are a plethora of options available on the market. Lighters have been around for centuries and have evolved significantly over time. From traditional lighters to electric lighters, torch lighters, and even specialty lighters, the choices can be overwhelming. In this article, we will explore the different types of lighters available and their pros and cons, to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a lighter.
The Main Types of Lighters
Traditional lighters, such as disposable lighters and refillable lighters, have been around for decades. They are the most common types of lighters and are widely available at most convenience stores and gas stations. Traditional lighters are cheap, easy to use and can be found in a variety of colors and designs. They are great for everyday use and are perfect for lighting candles, cigarettes, and even campfires. However, traditional lighters have a limited lifespan and need to be regularly refilled with butane. Moreover, they are not windproof and can be difficult to use in windy conditions. Some popular traditional lighter brands include Bic and Zippo.
- Widely available and inexpensive
- Easy to use and can be found in a variety of colors and designs
- Great for everyday use such as lighting candles, cigarettes, and campfires
- Limited lifespan and need to be refilled with butane
- Not windproof and can be difficult to use in windy conditions
- Interesting fact: Bic lighters were first introduced in 1973 and have sold over 100 billion units worldwide.
Electric types of lighters, such as USB lighters and arc lighters, have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are rechargeable and eco-friendly, as they do not require the use of butane. Electric lighters use a high-voltage electric arc to create a flame and are windproof, making them perfect for outdoor activities. However, electric lighters need to be charged or replaced with batteries and are typically more expensive than traditional lighters. Some popular electric lighter brands include Tesla Coil Lighters and Plazmatic X.
- Rechargeable and eco-friendly, as they do not require the use of butane
- Windproof and perfect for outdoor activities
- Need to be charged or replaced with batteries and typically more expensive than traditional lighters
- Interesting fact: Electric lighters use a high-voltage electric arc to create a flame, similar to a small electric welding torch.
Torch lighters, such as jet flame and double flame lighters, are known for their powerful flames. They are refillable and use butane as a fuel source. Torch lighters are windproof and are perfect for lighting cigarettes, cigars, and even campfires. They are popular among smokers and outdoor enthusiasts. However, torch lighters can be more expensive than traditional lighters and require regular refills. Some popular torch lighter brands include Colibri and XIKAR.
- Refillable and use butane as a fuel source
- Windproof and perfect for lighting cigarettes, cigars, and campfires
- Popular among smokers and outdoor enthusiasts
- Can be more expensive than traditional lighters and require regular refills
- Interesting fact: The term “torch” is used to describe lighters with powerful flames, often used in culinary and industrial applications.
Specialty types of lighters, such as candle lighters and grill lighters, are designed for specific tasks. They are typically more expensive than traditional lighters but are perfect for lighting candles, grills, and even fireworks. Candle lighters are long, thin lighters that are perfect for lighting hard-to-reach places, such as inside a pumpkin. Grill lighters, on the other hand, are designed to light charcoal grills and have long-lasting flames. Some popular specialty lighter brands include Zippo Hand Warmer and Bernzomatic Grill Lighter.
- Designed for specific tasks such as lighting candles, grills, and fireworks
- Typically more expensive than traditional lighters
- Interesting fact: Specialty lighters have been designed for specific tasks such as lighting hard-to-reach places or grills.
The Holly Grail
The most expensive lighter ever sold is the “Ferrari 250 GTO lighter” by S.T. Dupont. The lighter was designed to commemorate the famous Ferrari 250 GTO car and was sold at auction in 2012 for $3.5 million.
The lighter is made of solid 18-karat white gold and is adorned with diamonds and rubies. The design of the lighter is inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO car and features the car’s signature grille and headlights. The lighter also features a miniature replica of the car’s engine, which can be seen through a transparent window on the side of the lighter.
The “Ferrari 250 GTO lighter” was a limited edition piece, with only eight units being produced. It is considered to be a luxury item and a true collector’s piece. The lighter not only serves as a functional tool but also as a piece of art and a symbol of luxury and exclusivity.
It’s worth noting that there are other lighters that are considered to be expensive, but the “Ferrari 250 GTO lighter” is considered to be the most expensive one ever sold.
In conclusion, when it comes to purchasing a lighter, there are a variety of options available. It’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. Traditional lighters are great for everyday use and are inexpensive, while electric lighters are eco-friendly and windproof. Torch lighters are perfect for outdoor activities and smokers, and specialty lighters are designed for specific tasks. With so many options available, it’s worth trying out different types of lighters to find the one that best suits your needs. In recent years, the trend of eco-friendly and rechargeable lighters is on the rise. It’s worth noting that when purchasing a lighter, always consider safety and proper usage instructions.
Lighters, as we know them today, were first invented in 1823 by German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. He created the first lighter, known as the “Döbereiner’s Lamp,” which used a chemical reaction between hydrogen and platinum to create a flame.
However, the history of fire-making tools dates back much further. Early man used flint and steel to create sparks, and later, matches were invented in the 19th century. These early matches were made by dipping wooden sticks in a solution of sulfur and potassium chlorate, which would ignite when struck against a rough surface.
The first handheld, portable lighter was invented in 1892 by the American inventor, George Blaisdell. He created the “Zippo” lighter, which used a wick and a simple thumb-operated mechanism to create a flame. The Zippo lighter quickly became popular, and the company is still in operation today, producing millions of this types of lighters annually.
In the following years, several improvements were made to the lighter design. In 1926, the first disposable lighter was invented by the German company, Ronson. The lighter used a fuel mixture of butane and naphtha and was known as the “Wonderlite.”
The invention of the piezoelectric spark in the 1930s by the Austrian engineer, Carl Auer von Welsbach, paved the way for the development of the modern electric lighter. This type of lighter uses a high-voltage electric arc to create a flame, similar to a small electric welding torch.
In recent years, the trend of eco-friendly and rechargeable lighters is on the rise, as people are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment.
In conclusion, lighters have come a long way from their early origins of flint and steel and matches. The invention of the Döbereiner’s Lamp, Zippo and the disposable lighter and the modern electric lighters, have made it easier for people to create a flame, whether for practical use or for leisure. Always be aware of safety and proper usage instructions when using a lighter.
Millions or Billions
It’s difficult to determine an exact number of lighters produced per year, as it varies depending on the types of lighters and the manufacturer. However, it is estimated that there are billions of lighters produced annually worldwide.
According to the Zippo company, they produce around 13 million lighters per year. Bic, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of disposable lighters, produces more than 100 million lighters per day. Other manufacturers of lighters, such as Ronson, Clipper and Scripto, also produce millions of lighters annually.
This number also includes lighters produced in the form of cigarettes, which are also considered as a form of lighter.
In addition to traditional manufacturers, there are also many small-scale and artisanal manufacturers who produce lighters, and their production numbers would not be included in these estimates.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that lighters are widely produced and are a common household item, and the number of lighters produced per year is in the billions.