hello,i have seen many instructables on what you can do with zippos,but i have not seen a comp-lete guide where the author lists what you should and shouldn't do with a zippo lighter.

please excuse the lack of pictures,but i will post them if i feel they are needed.
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Step 1: The history of the zippo lighter

Picture of The history of the zippo lighter
George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in 1932, and got his idea after discovering a large and bulky Austrian made pocket lighter. Blaisdell was an oil engineer who saw a audience for a good looking lighter that would function even in windy conditions. He produced the first Zippo lighter in Bradford, Pennsylvania.he called it the ZIPPO because he liked the sound of the word "ZIPPER"

Zippos are classified as windproof lighters, and are are able to remain lighted in almost any wind situation. They were common in the United States armed forces, particularly in the second world war standard silver Zippo a military zippo lighter was standard gear for all men in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. During that period, all Zippo lighters produced went to the Allied war effort. In fact, during the conflict, since brass was needed for weapon systems, the interiors of zippos were primarily stainless steel. Following the war, Zippo reverted to the traditional brass design.

Additionally, Zippo lighters are known for the lifetime guaranty they carry: if a Zippo breaks down, no matter how old, the company will replace or repair the lighter for free.

Approx. 200,000 Zippo lighters were owned by U.S. military personnel in the Vietnam War. In one instance, a Zippo lighter transported in a shirt pocket blocked a bullet from going in a soldiers body.

these are the facts i have read from various websites. now while i did copy and paste,I ALSO READ THEM AS THOUROUGHLY(spelling?) as possible.I have confirmed their accuracy,but feel free to comment otherwise.

Step 2: Parts of the zippo

Picture of parts of the zippo
look below in the pictures for the listed parts of a zippo lighter.
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My father has a zippo lighter from Vietnam and the bullet went right through the lighter killing a north Vietnamese solder dead in his tracks!! I'm looking at the lighter right now as we speak! This one did not stop the bullet! The guy that had this one in his shirt pocket is planted in the ground dead! It's a pretty nasty hole right through the center of the lighter and my father assured me the man that was carrying this particular lighter is dead as a door nail! Lol
I wouldn't keep that lighter if I were you. It belonged to someone that your father killed. When someone is killed under false pretenses (ex. war), the emotions run ramped and the soul is so strongly linked with emotions. That is to say, it is probably quite cursed and will bring you and your bloodline into horrible downfalls. I'm not instructing, I'm warning. Parts of the murdered man's rage could quite possibly be withheld in the lighter. Don't be so proud of something that was a prize for murder. It may already be too late for your soul; eternal hell and suffering may already be bestowed upon you. When you laugh at death, death's sinister grin awaits to be opened to devour your soul.

I don't believe in your theory but I don't have any negative attitudes towards religious people because those in my life have rather been cool fruitcake type of dudes. Thats that.. but how do you theorize about the fact that.. The NV guy shouldn't have had the zippo in the first place. He probably got that from a marine. So, maybe the marines afterlife rage helped to get the NV guy the bullet? But then it did help mr. Vanderbergs father didn't it? Maybe it still continues to? I was actually searching for a way to make my Zippo blu to ignite smoother(roll smoother), like the petrol ones I have tried. It's actually igniting much better now when I switched from Ronson to Unilite something.. I don't know if it is even Butane, because it only says universal feuerzeug gas but I don't care since it lights better and I don't think I have any overheating problems given that the butane flame is 1300c anyway.

QuinnL1 bej.smt2 months ago

Ummm... lol i guess?

Javin007 bej.smt4 months ago

Wow. People like you are real. I thought that was just some kind of Hollywood thing.

DSLaBuda bej.smt4 months ago

cool story bro

It's entirely possible that a Zippo could stop a bullet, but that depends on various factors, including range, obstructions prior to the bullet reaching its target, and, most notably, how powerful ththround/gun is. I'm quite certain a Zippo couldn't stop round from an m16 but stopping round from a .22lr is certainly believeable.
NikcV1 month ago

Can't believe nobody said anything about this (At least I haven't noticed)

But you DON'T want to use other flints (like from bic lighters) on a zippo. It's not a terrible idea it's just that zippo flints are softer and create more of a spark, which makes it MUCH easier to light. Also it might make the zippo flint wheel smoother and although you can send it back to get a new insert it's going to ruin it.

hitachi81 month ago

for those who are not very inclined with volatile chemistry:

zippo (and all other wick device) will work on:



-diesel,kerosene,K1,jet fuel (might be hard to light)


-while gas

-"coleman fuel"

-other similar fuel.

dont try to run anything inside with a fuel that have additive in it (poison).

dont run the more volatile fuel for a long time, gasoline and like.

I say this with kindness in my heart... please, please let me fix the typos, grammatical errors, sentence structure & basic spacing. Reading the information was almost unbearable and sometimes unclear, due to the way it was typed. I fear Ur audience cannot properly read the information Ur trying to convey, so then Ur "instructable" misses its objective. Might I suggest for future "instructables", that U try typing the paragraphs in Microsoft Word. Or, another such publishing application where U can utilize the full capabilities of the spelling & grammar checker, as well as the Thesaurus. Then simply copy & paste from Ur final draft. I'm an English major, have proof read for newspapers, written a ga-zillion or so technical & software manuals for small businesses to huge corporations. So, sorry to say, this website almost made my eyes bleed, it is so ruff. U should see all the red ink on my screen... as I made corrections while reading... LMAO!

This is a comment page on an intstructables website not a grammar nazi page

So much this lol. Guy has good info, but its like he typed it all out on his phone.
DaveR16 months ago

Not sure about that; bought a can of "Power Premium Lighter Fluid" at the smoke shop recently and have to fill my Zippo every other day all of a sudden. I've always used Zippo or Ronsonol before and never had a problem. The stuff smells different, too, like maybe there's some acetone or similar mixed in to make it evaporate faster. Looking at the can now, it says "Petroleum distillate-Naptha". Going back to the old stuff, hope I didn't screw up my lighter permanently.

LolaW DaveR12 months ago

Even if you did mess up the filling of the lighter, a replacement wick and filling (you know, the cotton-like stuff that holds the fuel) are extremely cheap. It's awfully hard to permanently screw up a Zippo.

ian0606953 years ago
the story of a soldiers zippo lighter blocking a bullet is incredibly false. u have to completly not know how guns work to believe that. if a bullets coming at you a thin piece of alluminum isnt gonna stop a bullet, i guarentee that guys either dead or alive and sucessfully made a b.s. story. also in the vietnam war the zippos they used where "mini Zippos" as we know them now, and basically they were a zippo that was cut in half
JethroC ian0606953 months ago

Dude please....
There are endless stories of people being saved from being cellphones, belt-buckle, bible, cop-badge, schoolbook, quarter, nametag, flask, clipboard, and every thing else you can imagine.
Hundreds of them.

Please stop your know it all diatribes and just appreciate the wonder of it all bro!

aonixk ian0606955 months ago

If the bullet was a small rimfire, such as .22 lr or almost any older rimfire (eg. .41 short rimfire) the zippo could have rather easily caught the bullet or redirected it.

you are making the assumption that the bullet came at an absolute perpendicular trajectory. However, if the bullet struck the zippo at an angle, it could potentially ricochet and not harm the soldier. So, it can save a life, but its not body armour.

im sorry in advance if this sounds like im being an ass but im trying my best not to. anyways im not sure you fully understand the ballistics of firearms. in order for a bullet to be even capable of ricocheting off a aluminum you have to be almost directly aligned with the metal. and if your in the engle to where it will ricochet off off aluminum then even if you didnt have the lighter there it wouldnt be a deadly wound. heres a link to a video of a bullet going through an inch thick of solid steel. it doesnt go through but it makes a hell of a dent and thats an INCH thick of SOLID steel. were talking about a thin layer of aluminum.

Zippos were never made of aluminum.

Well my friend, sadly I think it may be you who doesn't completely understand ballistics. Firstly, your video is a bullet going through ballistics gel, not steel plates. Second, those are not your casual 9mm either, those were higher caliber rounds, probably hollow point and armor piercing to see the comparison. Furthermore, its not one flimsy piece of aluminum, its two! and with cotton in between. It can perform as a cushion effect, AT AN ANGLE! so what im saying is that it will most likely NOT protect you from a shot right to your zippo from near point blank, but can potentially defend you from a possible bullet wound caused by a bullet fired at an angle to your lighter. Please get back to me, I'm eager to see where this goes!

The Link*
Okay, I'm coming in late here, but I think I'd like to contribute. Firstly, it was clearly said above that after the Second World War, the material that Zippos are made from was changed from steel to brass. This means that the material trying to block a bullet was two sheets of brass, not aluminium. You're right, aluminium could never block a bullet. Also, in between the brass sheets there is rayon and lighter fluid. Both of these combine to make something roughly equivalent to what's called a dilatant (see link below). Dilatants are basically liquids that, when between two sheets of material, spread and resist movement. This means that, with the combination of the brass and the dilatant lighter fluid, a zippo lighter could potentially block a bullet.

Then again, Mythbusters tried it, and their Zippo failed to block a bullet, so I could be wrong.
Another possibility is that a Zippo lighter (or anything else for instance small bibles etc) prevented a tumbling bullet from penetrating the person. ie. a bullet that has passed through who knows what before hand and lost much of it's energy. Or it may not have been a bullet but a piece of who knows what shrapnel.

The point is that something like the Zippo stopping the bullet situation is completely possible to imagine and that the story would be interesting and memorable!

I will repeat my earlier comment:

It's quite possible that a Zippo would stop a bullet.

in mind that not all bullets fired on the battlefield are high-powered
rifle bullets, and many are "accidental" hits that may have been fired
hundreds, or thousands of yards away, or have ricocheted off a vehicle or other hard object. German officers & sergeants
carried pistols, and many of them (particularly in formerly occupied
countries like France or Belgium) were not standard issue. I have a
rather silly little .32 caliber pistol that my uncle removed from a
Wehrmacht officer in 1944. No chance that bullet would go thru a Zippo,
nor would many larger-bore pistol bullets (like from 9mm Lugers), esp.
if fired from a distance and esp. if they had to also penetrate heavy
winter clothing and/or other pocket debris. The same would hold true
for bullets fired from one of those miserable little Japanese Nambu
pistols -- assuming they even fired at all.

Also, keep in mind
that many battlefield weapons, then and now, were actually rifles or
machine pistols firing pistol-type ammunition (e.g. German machine
pistols or the U.S. "Tommy Gun." Those bullets were very slow and their
speed degraded greatly over distance. Someone who caught a stray one
that was fired a great distance away would suffer a much different,
shallower wound, and a Zippo might well stop that projectile. Bear in
mind that bullet size is far less important that bullet SPEED.

All modern Zippos, such as those used in Vietnam, are made of STEEL, and Zippo has never made an aluminum case. I have a WW2 blackout Zippo carried all through the Marine campaigns in the Pacific, and it's STEEL. A magnet sticks to it just like on my modern ones.

21-year Army Master Sergeant

Former Firearms Dealer & Custom Gun Maker

Competition Shooter, 1964 - 2008

Pepelepeuu6 months ago

I'd like someone to please answer me this, how do I stop the lighter fluid from evaporating in zippo and peanut style lighters? I am not a smoker but I do believe in being prepared so recently I purchased and filled a few peanut and zippo lighters to keep in my car/go & get home bags. But after less than two weeks time they have all gone empty with absolutely no use. However the bic that I found on the ground and threw in my bag 5 years ago still lights every time. So could someone please tell me the point of carrying a high maintenance unreliable item for something as important as starting a fire? Or if I'm doing something wrong please advise.

A Zippo is NOT a good choice for an emergency lighter, for exactly the reason you stated.
Whoever said that it was,...lied.
They are very reliable on a daily basis and will last for years.
But they are not an emergency lighter.

Get a BIC.

Get about a half inch to 2 inches of road-bicycle inner-tube and slip it over the Zippo, so it covers where the lid meets the body. Makes it very water-resistant too.


Interesting. How long does the fuel last if you do this? I have probably 10 different zippos laying around the house (was a smoker for 20 years, and everyone thought they were a great gift). I would find myself running out of fuel so often, I just quit carrying them all together. Plus, when they are overfilled and leak into your pocket, that mild burning sensation directly next to your neithers is never fun.

I believe Zippo's are intended to be used daily. They're reliable because of their mechanical simplicity and serviceable design. If you're looking for occasional use a disposable sealed butane lighter like you spoke of would be better.

If u need fire, go with Bic. Zippo is just a fancy item. You can always manage with toyota, but people still buys ferarri, right?

You didn't do anything wrong. Its supposed to be like that.

jaga06924 months ago

how long can i store the zippo without using.

hey there, i am interested in the zippo lighters. i have just started to look for good lighters, i dont smoke, but i want to have one for any other emergency purposes.

so, i want to know how long can we store the zippo lighter ( filled with fuel ) and if the fuel may vapourise if its not used then, is there any way like using any airtight container, to store the lighter?

just asking out of curiosity about the zippos.

JethroC jaga06923 months ago

Zippo lighters are a poor choice for an emergency lighter.
The fuel will evaporate in a month or two, leaving you high and dry.

You are far better off putting a couple of BIC lighters in a baggie and keep them with your emergency stuff.

tacotaster3 months ago

Post 20th century update: Zippo DOs and DON'Ts.

Do buy a butane insert.

Don't leave with an empty tank.

tacotaster3 months ago

Post 20th century update: Zippo DOs and DON'Ts.

Do buy a butane insert.

Don't leave with an empty tank.

RonB14 months ago

Having rescued a fairly new one via a debt, I'd say its more bout the owners value and not whether it can stop bullets or survive zombie apocalypses :). Being ex-smoker now its more for recreational/household use candles etc.

Came here to confirm the fuel issue of evaporation. Hmm <b>CONFIRMED</b>

bej.smt4 months ago
I am actually not real at all. Hail satan.
PSPerson3 years ago
I fueled my zippo with charcoal fluid... it has a bit lower flashing point (making it a bit less ready to start) but it still works quite effectively and safely.

No, the flash point is higher. :)

adamshame1 year ago

You can always use Naptha as fuel. You can get a one-quart can at your local hardware store for about 8 bucks. It is the exact same stuff that is sold as "lighter fluid."

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