George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing Company in 1932, and produced the first Zippo lighter in early 1933, being inspired by an Austrian cigarette lighter of similar design. It got its name because Blaisdell liked the sound of the word “zipper”. On March 3, 1936, patent was granted for the Zippo lighter.
Since 1933, over 400,000,000 Zippo lighters have been produced. After World War II, the Zippo lighter became increasingly used in advertising by companies large and small through the 1960s. Many of the early advertising Zippo lighters are works of art painted by hand, and as technology has evolved, so has the design and finish of the Zippo lighter. The basic mechanism of the Zippo lighter has remained unchanged.
Zippo has recently expanded its product line to include a variety of utility-style multi-purpose lighters, known as the Zippo MPL. These lighters are fueled with butane.
A museum called Zippo/Case visitors center is located in Bradford, PA at 1932 Zippo Drive.