This page is a little different to the rest as none of it is Zippo, not Rippo either, Being as the items here are not marked as Zippo on the base. I suppose they could still catch people out. After all, some are the same (or similar) in shape as a Zippo. But as none of these lighters are actually attempting to be a pure copy, I put them here away from the Rippo's. Providing they are sold for what they are, then Items like the Penguin and the Park are an equally viable alternative to a Zippo. Personally, I don't have any problems with the older models shown here that are using similar designs to a Zippo, some of which are quite nice in their own right. Even the giant novelty Fliptop lighters are a possible conversation piece, It's not as if Zippo themselves are making a similar sized item that could justify calling the big lighters a rip off. Some Zippo collectors have no problem with them, while others feel they should all be banned outright.
I do however have reservations on some of the more modern 'Flip Top' items, especially when they use packaging that is obviously designed to mimic the Zippo style, this practice can only be seen to be an attempt to mislead buyers..
The Park lighter, although sharing a similar overall case shape to the Zippo, is obviously a different thing altogether once opened up. It is marked up as a Park and consequently has it's own place in the world. It is on this page solely to show it's similarities. The park has been wrongly advertised by sellers as a Zippo on many eBay auctions, Something that you can't fail to see with it open, but if you only had the face view to go off, it could possibly catch you out.
The Helios and the Hurricane are both Bakelite (although metal versions were made in limited numbers, though in truth I have only seen the FOE style in metal), again very similar in design, and both are of a similar age to the original Zippo from the 30's/40's. There is more information on the Hurricane elsewhere on this site (George's Ideas page), but the Helios is a relatively new finding to me so I can't presently tell you anything more about it.
The Hurricanes, though vaguely similar in look, do not have the characteristic clicks of the Zippo, The lid has a spring loading mechanism to flick it closed once beyond a certain point, but not having the Zippo cam (and no additional metalwork in the lid itself) means the lid merely snaps shut, while opening is a silent action. The Hurricane inners not only differ from the Zippo design, but are also different types in the bakelite and copper/metal versions. The images of the bases give a better idea of the design difference. I can't help but wonder why they wasted so much fuel space on the Hurricane inners, the spring mechanism in the lighter body does not need any room to operate in the vacant space, yet they still left this as a 'dead' area of the insert.
Something to note between the metal and bakelite Hurricanes:- the insert from the metal version is overly tight if inserted in the bakelite model (not a good idea to push the issue here as the bakelite is after all, a 50 odd year old 'plastic' lighter), whereas the bakelite models insert fits nicely in the metal version. It may only be a manufacturing tolerance issue, but for anybody looking to replace an insert on a hurricane, it may be information worth bearing in mind. A further difference between the inserts is that of the materials used. The metal Hurricane uses a steel insert, while the Bakelite models use Aluminium.
One thing I did like with the Hurricane was the design of the lid itself. It has a lid-stop built into the hinge mechanism, when opened it doesn't flick fully back on itself like a Zippo. This would probably prolong the life of the hinge as the lid is never allowed to suffer the additional strains of a fully free lid wobbling about on a worn mechanism. The bakelite model opens up to a 90 degree angle, while the metal version (with a different spring lid closure design) only opens to around 80 degrees.
The straight cut flint wheel is something of a flop in comparison to the Zippo though. I used a Hurricane for a while, and it does not offer the same reliability as a Zippo, sometimes taking 3 or 4 attempts to spark to life. If I were asked to gamble on it lighting first time? I would politely decline the offer.
The giant lighters are nothing more than a gimmick, usually advertised as giant lighters and nothing else, they are trading on the Zippo appearance, but are obviously not a Zippo product.
Similar thinking affects the butane inserts made to slip in a Zippo case. Again, I don't have anything against these. It isn't as if Zippo ever made one, and in some ways I actually think the idea holds merit. It cannot be mistaken for a genuine Zippo insert, though in the case of the Tristar it does look similar when the lid is first opened. If anything, the Tristar (and the other butane inserts) are paying homage to the Zippo case design.
The Husky is an old British made 'flip top', obviously taking some styling cues from the Zippo style design. I like the Husky. It is different enough to warrant more than a passing glance, and is a good talking piece due to it's UK lineage. The lid is actually affixed to the insert. The lip where the lid meets the case is part of the inner, resulting in the whole lid and inner assembly pulling out for refills and flinting. The flint wheel itself weighs in at almost double the width of a Zippo flint wheel.
'The Windy' made by Matawan (Japanese?). Ironic that they choose windy as a name, seeing as Windy (the girl) is associated with Zippo. But it isn't the same as a Zippo, nor is it claiming to be anything but what it is.
Ellis Catalin Table Lighter
Next up comes the Ellis Catalin Bakelite 'Barcroft' type lighter. Again not exactly the same as a Zippo, and although it isn't my style, it still has a lot of age there. Made in New York in the 30's, it is an interesting enough piece in itself. Bakelite instead of metal makes for a far more breakable item than a Barcroft, and could possibly make it more of a rarity. Especially as this item didn't have a lifetime guarantee.
The 'Neff'? Really? I wonder why this didn't take off then? 'Oh hello there, is that a Zippo?', 'No, It's a Neff!' Not quite as good a name as the Zippo perhaps, but somebody somewhere probably cherishes it.
Then comes the last of the Old homage lighters. The penguin. Very similar to a Zippo, but marked up clearly as the penguin. Not an exact copy, and therefore not in the Rippo section, it is an unmistakably different bird.
The Champ lighter images shown here were donated by somebody who bought it on eBay believing it to be a Zippo, (it was advertised as a Zippo and did not show the box or the base image on the Auction advertisement). When it arrived it was obviously not a Zippo. That said, despite unscrupulous sellers trying to pass them off as Zippo's, These modern day items are clearly marked as a Champ. They are obviously copying the Zippo form, But as they are marked accordingly and are not trying to be something they are not, then this also avoids the Rippo page.
The Star lighter falls into the same bracket as the Champ, except for one detail. It also copies the form of a Zippo, and like the champ does not try to pass itself off as anything else. However, due to it's packaging style, it qualifies for both this page and also the Rippo page. The reason is pretty obvious, the box is a direct copy of a Zippo box design with only minor alterations to the name area. Copying box designs is nothing new, but misleading buyers is an equally old trick. The Rippo packaging page shows a quite large number of misleading Rippo boxes.
The Zippo box is a well known item, This particular box shows the word STAR where Zippo would normally be, but it still looks like a Zippo box. Personally, I think that copying the box as well as the lighter only serves to show how far the manufacturers are prepared to go in an effort to mislead buyers. A relative newcomer to the Zippo brand on seeing the box and lighter as they are shown here, could easily mistake it for the real deal. Perhaps thinking the STAR brand name was some type of Zippo model name? Imagine it as a blurred photo on eBay and it gets a little more unpalatable. The STAR is well known in the Zippo/Rippo community, and Star inserts make regular appearances in both fake and Genuine lighters (showing how close the rip off designs are), But the lighter itself isn't marked up Zippo, so despite it's dubious packaging it has been added to this page as well as the Rippo section.
Another in the long line of wannabe's. I was given this by a friend at work who thought (Despite the Hadson name on the base) that it was a Zippo. Funny how people's perception of a particular shape can convince themselves that a lighter clearly marked as something else is a Zippo.
Kitty was the only one here I couldn't really decide on. It was sold as a fliptop lighter, It made no attempt to pass itself off as a Zippo, indeed the seller stated it wasn't a Zippo, but in later life, with a new owner/seller? (that tin box is very Zippo style), it could be tempting to take liberties with the item description. I left it in here because of the fact it was sold as a fliptop. If others did the same then maybe they would not be such an issue.
When all is said and done, none of the items shown above actually have Zippo written on them, so they are not Rippo's (not to my mind at least).
If I saw some of the older models at the right price (and perhaps the Tristar inner with the Zippo style chimney), I would probably buy them as a talking point. Maybe even for use. Though not having the Zippo guarantee behind them would leave me worrying about damage and component failure on the older stuff. Indeed, now I think about it, The Husky (one of my own lighters) did get used for a while, but was retired to the display case for that very reason.
This page wouldn't be complete if I didn't show at least one dodgy insert, The insert shown above was in a genuine Zippo bought by a friend off eBay. The lighter case itself was genuine enough, The person who sold it to him hadn't sold Zippo's previously, and stated they were unaware of the Rippo insert. But that said, this must rank as one of the more hideous examples of an insert, especially when you look at the wadding in the second image.
I said at the start of this page, that I had no issues with the older models that used the Zippo's basic shape and principles. The husky being something of a quality item, well manufactured and good materials throughout. However, the quality of the insert shown above is abysmal, showing the rubbish that some manufacturers are willing to pass off on the public. If you want Zippo quality, buy a Zippo.