The Legend of the Lighter

Overview

One of the foundations of civilization as we know it is the ability to make and transport fire. Ever since our cave-dwelling ancestors rubbed sticks and stones together, humankind has pursued a quest for an efficient and reliable fire-making device - a quest that has inspired some of the most innovative inventions in history. The Legend of the Lighter traces this fascinating journey from the fire steels of the ancient world to the tinderboxes of the seventeenth century up to the modern cigarette lighter, which is...
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Overview

One of the foundations of civilization as we know it is the ability to make and transport fire. Ever since our cave-dwelling ancestors rubbed sticks and stones together, humankind has pursued a quest for an efficient and reliable fire-making device - a quest that has inspired some of the most innovative inventions in history. The Legend of the Lighter traces this fascinating journey from the fire steels of the ancient world to the tinderboxes of the seventeenth century up to the modern cigarette lighter, which is featured here in an astonishing variety of designs. Drawn from the unparalleled collection of the Dutch Lighter Museum Foundation, the numerous unique, distinctive, and whimsical lighters reproduced here chart the voyage of the lighter from an important scientific discovery to a treasured collector's item. Along the way, we learn about the history of the pipe, the popularization of smoking, and the growth of today's global marketplace, as well as other significant events and wondrous inventions that have played a role in the history of the lighter.

Through the ages, people have drawn inspiration from their desire to develop the idea of portable fire. This book traces the history of the cigarette lighter from its predecessor, the tinder box, to the fashionable and exquisitely decorated lighters of the 20th century, and provides a unique account of its development in design and technology. 150 color photos.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558598546
  • Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 9.77 (w) x 11.72 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Foreword by Richard F. M. Peersmann

Since the dawn of civilization, fire has played a central role in the progress of humankind and the development of both industry and culture. While our cave-dwelling ancestors feared and revered the seemingly magical flames that alighted in the forest, their more advanced progeny learned to control, and eventually to make, fire. Once human beings had established their mastery over fire, they were no longer merely prey to the elements; they could concentrate on tasks such as making tools and weapons and gathering and cultivating food; essentially, they could begin the process of becoming civilized. Forging ahead toward greater and greater sophistication, people of every era have attempted to devise the best means of fire-making—from the primitive tools of the Bronze and Iron Ages to the fire steels of ancient Greece to the tinderboxes of the seventeenth century to today's microelectronic lighters.

As the culmination of humankind's search for an efficient and portable fire-source, the development of the lighter truly reflects the progress of civilization. The history of the lighter is an illuminating chart of our long journey from prehistoric times to the present, and it is this fascinating story that is told in this book.

Although the basic function of the modern lighter recalls the earliest and simplest fire-makers, it is also a marvel of ingenuity and versatile design. And it is this appealing marriage of technique and design—notable in nearly every model that has been produced—that has made the lighter a highly desirable collector's item.

Lighter enthusiasts from all over the world gather regularly at conventions andexhibitions to exchange information and talk endlessly about this wondrous and wonderful object. Until now, however, there has been a great need for a comprehensive book on the lighter, one which in words and pictures delves deeply into the past, present, and future of this alluring and multi-faceted device. The Legend of the Lighter more than fulfills this need: the book recounts the history of the lighter in captivating detail, beginning with the discovery of fire and ending with a provocative look at the future of the lighter industry.

Many of the illustrations have come from the Dutch Lighter Museum Foundation in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which has one of the world's largest and most complete collections in this field. The Lighter Museum's holdings illustrate every phase of the development of the lighter; they include patent applications and technical drawings penned by manufacturers and designers, as well as advertisements and, of course, exceptional examples of lighters from every period made in every conceivable shape, form, and material.

The Legend of the Lighter is the first book to trace the history of the lighter and to place it in its historical and sociological context; the authors have devoted particular attention to the cultural, scientific, and political circumstances that have influenced the development of the lighter. Beautifully illustrated and designed, and written in an engaging style that will appeal to experts, collectors, and novices alike, this book is destined to become a classic reference work that will fascinate both present and future generations. The Legend of the Lighter places the lighter on the pedestal it so rightly deserves.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

The Birth of the Lighter: A Journey of Daring and Discovery

Origins: The Harnessing of Fire

The Age of Invention: Science and Industry Light Up

Innovation and Progress: A Cavalcade of New Products

Postwar Revolution: From Gasoline to Gas Lighters

A New Era Dawns: The Global Market and the Future of the Lighter

Donors

Bibliography

Index

Acknowledgments

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