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Also see the Ernie Pyle Zippo.

 World War  II Zippos                                                                           [1] [2]


The category "World War II" Zippo is defined broadly here. Officially, the World War II Zippo was the 1942-45 Black Crackle Zippo. Due to materials shortage during the war, Zippo had to use the more porous metal steel instead of brass, and the lighter could not be finished with chrome or nickel. Instead, it was covered with a special black crackle paint. A benefit of this finish is that it would not reflect the light, thereby avoiding the attention of enemy snipers. The paint, while baked on, tended to become brittle and chip off, giving the Zippo a rugged look.

The tradition from WWI of decorating lighters with coins and crude engravings, or "trench art" continued on the Zippo in World War II. Some of these decorated lighters were pre-war Zippos, including the 1940-41 brass Zippos with and without diagonal lines as well as earlier models. The vast majority of the lighters from 1936-1945 can be easily recognized by the rounded corners and absence of the post-1946 "canned" bottom. The bottoms are flat or protrude outwards in varying degrees even to the point that the Zippo will not stand upright on a flat surface.

   
 
This is a typical 1942-45 World
War II black crackle Zippo. It is made of steel (distinguishable
with a magnet) and the paint
along the edges has been
worn down or chipped from
regular use.

Black crackle
Zippo with an
attached US Navy emblem.
  Black crackle
Zippo with
 Army Wings.
 
   
This "trench art" Zippo has three french coins attached on one side and is engraved with the name of Frank W Prelate, his serial number, Paris France 1945 along with a map of the English Channel and France on the other. The map traces the route of the river Seine from Le Havre to Paris.   1942-45 black
crackle Zippo with an attached Seal
of the United States.
 
This is a rare "red crackle" Zippo.  Presumably these were preferred by soldiers in tanks because they were easier in the darkness of the tank's interior. Even the Germans
used the Zippo
in those days.
This WWII Zippo shows a
World War I era tank, as seen
from the side.
 

Here is the ultimate trench art Zippo lighter.  It belonged to Capt. J.R. Ralph as seen on
the top of the lid.  A swastika as well coins from England, France and Tunisia and other countries have been attached to the case. As for aesthetics,
it is in the eye of the beholder

This 1941 Zippo has a "military welfare" emblem and a Red Cross. During WWII, over 7.5 million Americans got involved with the Red Cross.

See more Zippos
Vietnam War- Army - Navy - World War II - Ernie Pyle - USS Missouri Surrender - Brown Water Navy - Military or go to the Gallery Index
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