The Ronson Company, located in Newark New Jersey, originally
started out as the Art Metal Works Company in the late 1890’s making many types of decorative items such as bookends, lamps, statues, trophy’s,
incense burners and other home decorative items. Many of the items were fashioned after European and Asian designs.
During the advent of the
flint, the Art Metal Works Company began producing lighters, both pocket and table models and the first versions were called striker lighters
using a simple system of striking a piece of flint with a steel rod wrapped with naphtha soaked asbestos. The steel rod, when struck against
the flint would cause a spark which in turn ignited the asbestos wick which was soaked with this lighter fluid. The owner of The Arts Metals
Works Company, Louis V. Aronson then had the idea of a much easier system for lighting cigarettes and cigars and his company invented one of
the first automatic lighters called the Banjo. In a one stroke motion, the lighter would ignite and then stuff out the flame. This “press
it lights, release its out” motion became one of the most copied actions in the lighter manufacturing business. Louis Aronson was able to
incorporate this lighting mechanism in many of its decorative items turning the lamps, statues, and other home decorative items into table
One of their most famous systems was the Ronson Touch Tip Lighter. This mechanism used a removable rod which would ignite
when pressed onto the lighting mechanism and allowed the user to bring the rod to the item to be lit making it an easy system to use.
Hundreds of different objects d’ arte incorporated the touch tip mechanism. The famous movie “The Maltese Falcon” featured one model of
the Ronson Touch Tip lighters. The Ronson Bartender Touch Tip is probably the most famous of all the touch tip line. Many different
designs were produced incorporating cigarette boxes, ashtrays and clocks.
Ronson produced the very popular pencil lighter starting in the mid 30’s in various forms and finishes. Some of the most beautiful lighters were made
incorporating and cigarette case and lighter combination in many varied enameled deco designs. With the advent of the butane lighter
during the late 1950’s, Ronson capitalized on this new and better system with their famous line of Ronson Varaflame Lighters.