Now, loosely speaking, lighters, a method of producing fire, were around in various forms long before this timeline starts; this timeline is an attempt to trace the roots of the modern cigarette / cigar / pipe lighter, so it doesn't start with the Cave Man, but it does include matches.
Through the years this process forms the basis for many, many lighters including some very familiar to collectors such as Lektrolite and New Method lighters.
He sent his lighters to artists and goldsmiths and offered original, highly elaborated pieces to his customers.
This was Alfred Dunhill’s greatest impact on lighter’s history.
While a vintage plain silver-plated ‘Unique’ in excellent condition may fetch around £100, keep an eye out for those with other functions – an embedded watch may raise the value to £2,000 or more; and those covered with exquisite Japanese maki-e lacquer decoration by Namiki – the best often taking months to create – can fetch similar sums.
Other vintage names worth collecting include Thorens, a Swiss manufacturer well known for music boxes; the company used its knowledge of these movements to create lighters with fine quality mechanisms.
Although examples were made earlier, the lighter became widespread in the early 20th century to fulfil a new market of smokers when the cigarette rose to popularity.
The decorative designs of vintage lighters make them sought after, says Judith Miller Although examples were made earlier, the lighter became widespread in the early 20th century to fulfil a new market of smokers when the cigarette rose to popularity (previously, cigars or cigarillos were lit with matches).