Monday, March 12, 2012

Lighter Pencil Week Part 1: The Lite-O-Rite

Welcome to Lighter Pencil week, focusing on combination mechanical pencils and lighters!

To start things off, here's a "Lite-O-Rite" that surfaced at the Chicago Pen Show last spring in a bunch of other stuff I bought at one go.  It's also pictured on page 130 of The Catalogue:


I've got to admit I was a little embarrassed that it took until I got home to realize this was a combination lighter and pencil -- thank heavens the TSA didn't notice either!  If I'd looked at it a bit closer, I probably would have noticed that it was a  lighter from this imprint:



"Ronson AMW" is an abbreviation for Ronson Art Metal Works.  Ronson, as was conceded by the second-place competitor in a recent blog entry here, is the oldest continuously operating manufacturer of lighters in the world.  From 1920 until around 1957, the company produced combination mechanical pencils and lighters, and the Lite-O-Rite appears to have been the company's first effort. 

When the top is pulled, you get a much better idea of what is involved:


The patent identified on both the barrel and extended section, number 1,342,838, was issued to Louis Aronson on June 8, 1920, based on a patent application dated November 19, 1919:

While the Ronson Lite-O-Rite appears to have been a relatively short-lived product, it did pave the way for the next series of Ronson Pencil Lighters.

Pencil lighters . . . pencil lighters . . . say it real fast and you've got it right . . .

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