I quit smoking over thirty years ago, and even though the urge hung around for a surprisingly long time I eventually got to the point where I didn’t miss it. And I can confidently say that I still don’t, but I realized something the other day — I kind of miss the gadgety aspect of the cigarette lighters I used to carry.
Regular visitors to the GMC will remember that I’m all about gadgets and gizmos (even referring to myself as Inspector Gadget in a recent piece) so it probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that cigarette lighters tickle my fancy. After all, some of them are pretty tricky little whizbangs.
I think my fascination started during my childhood, because I can remember a couple of different lighters from those days that were a lot more intriguing than an ordinary Zippo. One was a floor-model decorative ashtray (remember those?) with an electric lighter attached to it. The other was a ‘permanent’ match, a little metal unit that was filled like a conventional lighter but was lit by pulling out a slender rod — the ‘match’.
Later, as a smoker myself, I went through a variety of different lighters that seemed to get progressively more complicated. And when butane models with the exotic-sounding ‘piezo’ ignition came along, I was hooked. I ended up going through several different models — one I especially remember was transparent like a disposable lighter, but was refillable. I can still remember watching the little tank fill with liquid butane.
One thing I never did was collect antique cigarette lighters, and maybe I should have because it’s become a favorite collectible for many people these days. Just look at the examples below.