Well I recently bought a 1994 brushed chrome Zippo lighter. I am writing this guide to help those thinking of buying a Zippo to find a genuine one and those that have one and want to know if it is real or not.
There is certain thinks to look out for when buying a Zippo; online and in retailers.
The first thing to look at is the stamp; this is found at the base of the lighter casing. Every windproof Zippo lighter has written; "BRADFORD, PA, MADE IN U.S.A" Depending on when the lighter was made there is a different date stamp. From 1986 Zippo introduced Roman numerals for the year stamp, but since 2001 there has been an introduction of numbers etc 01, 02 ... 10 (each corresponding to the year : 09 being 2009). Also from 1986 there has been a month stamp on the left side of the Zippo logo A to L.
Also the lighter incert of the Zippo can be removed and on one side should read;
"FOR BEST RESULTS
FLINTS AND FULID
ZIPPO MFG. GO. BRADFORD, PA,
(MONTH STAMP) (YEAR STAMP)
MADE IN ZIPPO(R) U.S.A."
The oppisite side should read;
"KEEP AWAY FFROM CHILDREN
AFTER FILLING WIPE* LIGHTER
& HANDS BEFORE LIGHTING*
LIGHTER DOES NOT
CLOSE LID TO PUT IT OUT."
*I am not 100% sure as I can't make out the text on my lighter, sorry.
NOTE: the casing date stamp does not have to match to be real, but since 2001 I believe they should be or if not vey close.
A very good way of spotting a fake, well when buying from a retailer, is that it should come with the famous Zippo Lifetime Guarantee which accompanies every genuine zippo lighter.
Some windprof lighters don't claim to be Zippos but even still it can be misleading, so be sure to check what you are buying. Zippo lighters that depict the designs of military and especially Vietnam era lighters are commonly copied.
The spark wheel should go at an angle to the right, most fakes are straight across.
The pins at the wheel and the lid hatch thingy should be a silver/chrome colour, made of stainless steel or zinc type material, fakes are found to be brass.
The lid hatch thingy should be a light black colour, fakes are found to be a silver/chrome colour.
A highly distinguishable difference is the opening noise; a real Zippo has an almost echoing cling where as fakes are very dull sounding.
Overall the Zippo should feel better to the touch and the finish should be more professional.
If you have any question when buying on the internet then ask to see photos of the stamp and the other things to look out for.
Hope this guide was helpful and and questions feel free to ask.
Thanks for reading.