Zippo Lighters Go To War
Always a proud American Patriot, famous Zippo Lighter President G.G. Blaisdell started shipping as many of his lighters as possible during WWII. Soldiers loved the Zippo lighters because they were inexpensive, reliable, and they always worked when needed. During this time, Zippo was faced with material shortages, but that never stopped Blaisdell who began using low quality porous steel instead of the signature brass. This lighter was so popular at the time that the company created a General MacArthur 4 star Zippo that he carried with him throughout the Pacific theatre. The Supreme Commander left a large amount of memorabilia behind in Japan; many of these articles are housed at the MacArthur Museum. One of them being this famous lighter. The Zippo Lighter with a commemorative medal of the unconditional surrender of Japan, and the signature of General MacArthur, was given to all young officers trained on U.S.S. Missouri in 1949. These Zippos with the signature of General MacArthur is very rare.
More than 200,000 American soldiers used Zippo Lighters during the Vietnam War. The Zippo played a part in almost every daily activity of a soldier. The shiny top provided a handy mirror and the lighter’s flame warmed the K-rations at mealtime. Soldiers kept salt in the bottom parts their Zippos, to replenish lost body salt. Other legendary Zippos were used to transmit signals, or even provided a shield against enemy bullets. In fact, one man who owes his life to a Zippo Lighter during this conflict was Sergeant Martinez, who kept a Zippo Lighter in his chest pocket. A bullet struck his chest, only to be stopped by the Zippo. This was reported in Life magazine, and also appeared in various advertisements.