The stage was still smoldering when Leonard Cohen stepped upon it shortly after 4am on the final night of the Isle of Wight concert in 1970. Hours earlier, the festival had deteriorated into anarchy when the rain-soaked crowd of 600,000—few of whom had slept in five days—responded to Jimi Hendrix’s incendiary performance by setting ablaze anything remotely combustible. Multiple riots erupted. Joni Mitchell and Kris Kristofferson were booed offstage, the piano and organ were burned to the ground.
It’s called the IMCO Super lighter, an Austrian art deco device from the early 20s that’s been in continuous production ever since. Nearly everything’s replaceable—the fluid, of course, but also the flint, the wick and the tank itself. And since it disassembles so easily, it’s a handy item to have for camping—or any other situation in which you need to douse something in lighter fluid...
After the advent of Zippos and more elaborate devices, matches are already a bit anachronistic—so we were thrilled to find a few packs with some genuine vintage to them. These were designed by none other than Saul Bass—you might know him for making Hollywood’s most famous title sequences, or designing the only AT&T logo you remember—and they’ve got us considering a whole new lease on light-giving. As it turns out, old school matchbooks aren’t that hard to find, and there’s plenty of inspiration at the Matchbook Registry. We may never handle butane again.
For a heritage brand, Dunhill’s been a little shaky lately.
Take, for instance, their latest lighter design. It’s modeled after the lighter Elvis used in the 50s, and not a bad specimen as Elvis-related trinkets go. With a history going all the way back to the 1890s, Dunhill’s well-equipped to take on this particular historical reissue, but the whole enterprise seems unhealthy somehow.
It’s not Elvis himself—although taking on his legacy is a hefty task—but the overwhelming sense that they’ve somehow gotten into the souvenir business…
The good old-fashioned Zippo lighter is as much a part of any American male's essential kit as a navy blazer or a decent pair of loafers. Though the ones we've collected over the years have been relegated to a dresser drawer since we stopped smoking some years ago, we like to think of them as more than mere reminders of a misspent youth. Our favorite, in well-burnished sterling silver, still sees service on special occasions when there are ladies present whose cigarettes require fire.