Zippo lighter - extending fuel life

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by hot diggity, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    This is more a different twist on an old topic, but I found the numbers interesting.

    I like old stuff that works, so I carry a Zippo lighter. I have a routine of refueling it every Sunday. I tested just how long it would go from filling to failure to light, and it was 10 days. Fuel evaporation is the culprit, and somebody else had suggested a fat rubber band around the case to seal the fuel vapors in. That's great, but I didn't have any rubber bands that would fit. I had also noted that my lighter was the only piece of gear on my body that wasn't clipped, strapped, snapped, or dummy- corded to me to prevent loss. (Try fishing a slippery lighter from between the seat frame and console in the dark with cold hands and you'll see why I hate this.)

    My solution isn't pretty. That has turned out to be a good thing. ;) I have been slipping my lighter into the thumb of large blue nitrile glove. The fuel discolors the glove to an unpleasant brown. This may be an advantage if I was to drop the lighter, since nobody is likely to pick up an icky looking rubber glove. I find it is far less likely to slip from my pocket, and if it should, I have the glove to grab hold of. This makes it harder to lose my old friend (again) in sand, water, down the back of the wood pile, or in some strangers car.:(

    Oh, but the best part was the fuel life. I had to go back and look at a picture I took when I had first fueled the lighter and slid it into the glove. It failed to light on the 29th day. Not too shabby for a 52 year old lighter!
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Wish I still had some of my old Zippo lighters.....
    Alanaana, Gator 45/70, Hanzo and 3 others like this.
  3. svjoe

    svjoe Angry Monkey

    Avid Zippo collector here, probably have well over 100 on display as well as the 3 or 4 I carry. Will revisit this topic later today once home........
    duane, Hanzo, Tully Mars and 5 others like this.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I use the Zippo hand warmers, they are fantastic to have for the winter.
    The lighters I did use way back in the day, but no longer. Smoking is a bad habit.
    I buy Coleman fuel in bulk (it's naptha) instead of buying tiny, overpriced Zippo fuel containers. Just be warned, the meth heads like to use it, too. Local conditions and restrictions may apply.

    If I wanted to make it airtight, I would sand the area of the lighter or warmer just around the top seal and apply a coat of rubberized sealant for auto body repair. I would try this for a lighter, but it's just not needed for the warmers, in my opinion.
    duane, Gator 45/70, Aeason and 4 others like this.
  5. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Large rubber band to seal the Zippo = a 1" section of a bicycle tire tube.

    john316, Gray Wolf, Hanzo and 5 others like this.
  6. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Air locking helps a lot.
    I double zip lock bag PVC pipe primer and cement. Adds at least another year of life to opened and used cans.
    Same principle applies to those lighters, when warm they off gas a little. Then when things cool down at night they suck in air.
    So you put item to be preserved in a sealed container to create an artificial atmosphere made up of whatever substance the item off gasses.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
    duane, Hanzo, Tully Mars and 3 others like this.
  7. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    silicone glue .
    Vaseline the base where the cap rests and silicone the cap around the edge .let it gently rest down in place and let the silicone set up.
    A little is good , too much and it get's inadvertantly pulled off.
    Hanzo and UncleMorgan like this.
  8. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Don't have a Zippo myself, but I got one for my grandson and he flat-out treasures it.

    Zippos do seem to have a bit of Houdini in them.

    You can cut a piece of surgical rubber tubing that will stretch to the fit the case tightly (Ranger Band style) which will help a lot with gripping in the cold and wet.

    If you pinhole the tubing twice, work in the base of a 1" X skinny ga. steel D-ring and then re-close it, you'll wind up with a sturdy lanyard ring that also folds flat and stays flat when not hooked on a line.

    Making a second band to fit the cap could stop the vapor loss, too. Just fit it to press end-to-end against the base band when the lighter is closed.
    duane, Hanzo, Tully Mars and 2 others like this.
  9. Tempstar

    Tempstar Pray for BT

    Never put together that Coleman and lighter fuel were both naptha, but now that I think about the smell...Thanks again Monkeys!
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    What's really great is Coleman actually makes a really high grade naptha fuel in slightly smaller, 32 oz. sized containers (still very reasonably priced compared to Zippo fuel) and it doesn't smell as much, burns great and also works excellent in any stove you have.
    But, I've stored and used the bulk Coleman fuel like stg58 showed in the picture. It all works beautifully, no problems. [winkthumb]
  11. svjoe

    svjoe Angry Monkey

    Some interesting Zippo facts:

    George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo® Windproof Lighter in 1932.

    Mr. Blaisdell was nicknamed "Mr. Zippo" by famed World War II war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

    The Zippo lighter was given its name as a derivation of the word "zipper" and because Zippo inventor George G. Blaisdell liked the sound of the word "Zipper", which had been patented in nearby Meadville, PA.

    The original price for a Zippo lighter was $1.95.

    Zippo started engraving initials and providing metal insignias in 1936.

    The first patent for the Zippo windproof lighter was granted on March 3, 1936, Patent Number 2032695.

    The basic concept of the Zippo lighter has remained unchanged for the past 77 years.

    The first corporate logo decorated 500 lighters in 1936 for Zippo's cross-town Bradford neighbor Kendall Refining Company.
    Zippo ran its first national advertising in Esquire magazine in December 1937.

    Between 1934 and 1940 Zippo moved more than 300,000 lighters through the use of punchboard advertising. Considered a game of chance, punchboards were ruled illegal in 1940.

    Zippo windproof lighters have been carried by GIs in every war from World War II to Desert Storm.

    The Zippo factory in Bradford, PA produces close to 80,000 lighters a day.

    Zippo produces about 12 million lighters a year.

    Every Zippo product is guaranteed with an unconditional lifetime guarantee: Any Zippo product, when returned to its factory, will be put in first-class mechanical condition free of charge, for Zippo has yet to charge a cent for repair of a Zippo product, regardless of age or condition. The finish, however, is not guaranteed.

    Every U.S. Navy Ship, from a small auxiliary vessel to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, has her own custom designed Zippo windproof lighter.

    In the late 1950s, a Zippo lighter was removed from the belly of a fish. It lit the first time.

    A cent has never been spent repairing a Zippo product.

    A regular size Zippo lighter weighs 2.05 oz.

    A slim Zippo lighter weighs 1.50 oz.

    200,000 Zippo windproof lighters were used by Americans in Vietnam. Vietnam-era Zippo lighters are highly prized collectibles.

    There are an increasing number of lighter clubs around the world, including several in the US, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and others in England, Japan and The Netherlands. 21% of the people who own Zippo lighters are collectors.

    Since 1932 Zippo has produced over 400,000,000 windproof lighters.

    Zippo lighters are made in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The location is stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter.

    Every Zippo is dated on the bottom of the case.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I have one from my Navy days. We engraved them with Ports-O-Call. The rec fund bought an engraver for that. A couple of us became pantograph master operators. Right now, I think I need to find mine ---
    duane and Hanzo like this.
  13. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    I am filing for a Zippo Condom patent ..... ;)
  14. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    Hmmm...interesting math. If they do 12 million a year and 80,000 a day that means the factory is only working 150 days per year or about 12 days per month. Nice gig.
    Hanzo and Gator 45/70 like this.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    If you can get it....
    Hanzo likes this.
  16. svjoe

    svjoe Angry Monkey

    Up until a couple of years ago, they also had a factory in Canada....
  17. jaxjaxtyn

    jaxjaxtyn Neophyte Monkey

    A ranger band sealing the zippo will greatly extend fuel life and reduce fuel evaporation. If the lighter is refueled too much, it can also prevent fuel from leaking into your pocket or backpack and avoid soiling other items. I think a more convenient and effective solution is to replace the fuel-powered Zippo with a USB-charged plasma lighter. Zippo has already produced something like this. After each charge, I was able to use it for two weeks or more.
  18. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Messing with several of the funky butane and propane lanterns from the early 1980's, I've come to appreciate the value of piezoelectric ignition. Although usually extremely cheap and wimpy in their construction, they have the potential to provide an eternal spark. What could be simpler than whacking a rock (crystal) with a tiny hammer?

    Direct the spark straight into a wire core in the Zippo wick and never need a flint again.

  19. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Illini Warrior

    Gator 45/70 and Dunerunner like this.
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