logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as an older child

Cigarette lighters and cigarette cases
in mid 20th century Britain

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Decorative women's cigarette lighter, made in Japan, common in the 1950s and 1960s, 1 of 2   Decorative women's cigarette lighter, made in Japan, common in the 1950s and 1960s, 2 of 2

Decorative women's cigarette lighters, made in Japan, common in the 1950s and 1960s.

I was in my teens when I made the observations described on this page. They reflected the fact that the austerity following the Second World War was coming to an end. I am sure, though, that similar observations could have been made before the war started, which was before I was born.

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Cigarette lighters

For a while in the late 1950s, my friends and I toyed with smoking cigarettes because it felt the 'grown-up' thing to do. It didn't last long and what I remember most was the cigarette lighters that we considered as fashion accessories. At that time, cheap ones were coming in from Japan and were quite decorative. I had one faced with bright red leather.

They worked by lighting petrol from a flint which made a spark when a lever was pressed rapidly. Lighters needed to be refilled with petrol once the petrol ran out. This petrol came in tiny capsules from tobacconists.

Silver or silver-plated man's cigarette case, common in the mid-1900s, showing the elastic which held the cigarettes in place

A common cigarette case. The elastic held the cigarettes in place.

My father's cigarette lighter came from before the war and was silver with his initials engraved on it.

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Cigarette cases

My father had a cigarette case that matched his lighter - also from before war. Most men had similar ones.

If you can add anything to this page, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.