Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the eight decades since their introduction including military versions for specific regiments.Since its invention Zippos have been sold around the world and have been described "a legendary and distinct symbol of Americana".Period Zippos were made of brass, but Zippo used a black crackle finished steel during the war years because of metal shortages.
The first markings were added in 1957 and overlapped into 1958. Diagonal lines were added shortly after production began, giving the lighter an Art Deco look. These hinges were prone to breaking off over time and ZIPPO decided to change the method of how the hinge was attached, by spot welding it to the case. see scan below written 6-4-40 from their own history files by Bezaleel Whitmore. This replaced the earlier piston style cam spring, that was prone to overheating and loosing its tension. It is said, that the hinge on both the "tall case" and "short case" 33s, used a hinge where the material rolls over the pin compared to the 34-35 hinge where the material rolls under the pin. The very early models had the hinge plates soldered to the case. of metal was a relatively new science at that time, and was achieved by photo etching the shapes from small 8 1/2" X 17" sheets of material with acid.While it had previously been common to have Zippos with authorized badges, unit crests and division insignia, it became popular among the American soldiers of the Vietnam War to get their Zippos engraved with personal mottos.These lighters are now sought after collector's items and popular souvenirs for visitors to Vietnam.THE ZIPPO LIGHTER COLLECTORS' GUIDE Dear Zippo Lighter Enthusiast, pushed the first insert into the first case of what would be the first Zippo lighter. Zippo introduced its own lighter collectors' club, Zippo Click, in 2002, logging over 8000 members in the first three years.