Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Golden Age

A few months back,  I was on look out for a smokers desk top set. Not really even knowing whether exactly what I wanted was actually going to be for sale anywhere, or had even ever been made. The one company with beautiful smokers accessories dating back to the early 20th century was Ronson.

I've owned a fair amount of their  lighters over the years and honestly thought, there's nothing really special about these. And a lot of the time, picking pocket lighters up from Antique shops or even car boot sales they were near impossible to get working. Knowing only the basics lighter maintainance, (changing the wick, flint and filling the petrol up) it wasn't long before I had collected countless Zippos which are much more reliable and easy to maintain, but never looking elegant enough or a real prized design piece.

More recently however favouring aesthestics from the Art Deco period  over Mid Century design principles it was back to Ronson that I sought inspiration and was enthralled by the beauty of  their designs form and function. I was amazed by their Touch Tip lighter the most. Seen in the film The Maltese Falcon, with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.

(the use of the Touch Tip is at 3 mins 15 seconds, if you don't fancy the 7 minutes)
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As I write this a  Touch Tip Lighter with Cigarette Dispenser below is currently on Ebay with three days left at £75.00. I have to be restrained from bidding though interested to see what it will actually go for.

The Ronson lighter company started as The Art Metal Works in 1886 by Louis V. Aronson, a gifted man who at 16 years old received a U.S. patent for a commercially valuable metal plating process he developed. The following year he moved his factory to Newark, New Jersey. Soon the company was producing a variety of high quality lamps, book ends, statues and other decorative items, prized today for their detail in the collector marketplace.

And so they went on designing, what probably are works art and what had to have a huge influence on Glamour in The Roaring Twenties and through the 1930's aswell.

A sure must for any serious Art Deco or Ronson collector "The Bartender" Touch Tip.

At present I own two 1930's Ronson case/lighters. The "Pal" and the "Patrician". Both fairly inexpensive considering their age and in full working condition. My favourite being the Patrician, with  it's obvious Art Deco shape and angles, it never fails to raise admiring glances and remarks while still being fairly masculine in jet black and chrome.

I was lucky enough to even buy it with my middle intials on!

With a new flat soon to move into, for me, 1920's design pieces are on the wish list. Being this beautiful how could they not be!


  1. Ranson was alway the name in cigarette lighters, I still have a small rolled gold ladies lighter in orginal pouch keep safe but no longer used in my jewlery cabinet.

  2. Aaahh you should still use it! If you smoke of course! I've only recently (for some reason) been able to commennt on my own posts, as I now have enabled cookies and must say thank you for your previous comments you've left! x

  3. ♥ nice post.)) love your blog.)) ♥

  4. Thank you Mary Mur & The Nyanzi report! Both your Blogs are superb and real source of inspiration for myself to carry on and Blogging more regularly!

  5. Just found your site while researching a Ronson Touch-Tip lighter my roommate owns.
    It identical to the one pictured on your May 29, 2011 Blog where you talk about one on ebay but had not learned the price it was taken for. Do you recall the article and maybe the price?
    i live out here in the Colonies in Kentucky, the horse and tobbacco capital of the world and cigarette items are highly prized here. I no longer take tobbacco, but have always enjoyed the industry and it's products. My Grandfather, Thomas M. Gilmore was publisher of Bonfort's Wine and Spirits Circular before Prohibition took his business from him. You may be familiar with it if you are really a Dandy of the true kind;-)
    Eddie Gilmore