The Zippo Manufacturing Company was founded in 1932 in Bradford by George G. Blaisdell, who designed the first Zippo lighter in 1933; since then, Zippo has produced nearly four hundred million lighters. The product line eventually expanded to include tape measures and pocket knives. Zippo entered the specialty advertising market in 1935, when the Kendall Refinery ordered five hundred lighters that displayed its name. The Zippo lighter has become a commemorative showcase for corporate logos, special events, and famous places throughout the United States and around the world.
Zippo has been owned and operated by the Blaisdell family for more than seventy years. Zippo Manufacturing Company contains photographs of the Blaisdells, the Zippo Riders, the Zippo ski slope, the Zippo car, special-edition lighters, and scenes from the town of Bradford. Zippo archives and private collections have yielded rare photographs of Zippo employees at work, company and collector events, and other highlights in the company's history.