Everything You Think You Know About American Manufacturing Is Wrong. Here’s Why
Chamber Photographer Ian Wagreich has spent the last few years working to capture the mood and movements of the unsung heroes of America’s industrial infrastructure.
You may not think too much about lighters. In fact, with mounting pressures on the tobacco industry and the advent of gas fire and stoves, fewer and fewer people are. But even though Zippo windproof lighters have remained virtually unchanged over the last 77 years, the company behind them has accomplished the near impossible— it has grown and adapted to today’s fickle market while remaining a steadfast American icon.
The spark for the Zippo windproof lighter came in 1932, when George C. Blaisdell watched a friend fumbling to light a lighter in the wind. For Blaisdell, that’s when the light bulb (or flame, if you will) sparked. He founded Zippo that same year, and 82 years and 500 million lighters later, the company is still selling its products in 160 countries. And like any growing company, Zippo is diversifying its offerings—look out for the new Zippo fragrance, casual clothing line, and camping gear, coming to a store near you.
The U.S. Chamber blog recently sat down with Zippo’s current president and CEO, Gregory Booth, to talk innovation, market strategy, and why it chooses to keep manufacturing in America. Watch the full video, or read their article here. And in the meantime, check out these 9 interesting facts about America’s favorite lighter: