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Ron & Donna Miller - Publishers

Little Works Of Art The Secret
To Value Of Vintage Lighters


Hold Heet 1936 Electric Match Lighter
This cigarette lighter by Hold Heet dates to 1936, It looks similar to an old-fashioned candlestick telephone. This model, 7 inches tall, was called the Electric Match Lighter. It plugged into a wall outlet and, when a red button was pushed, the coil heated up. It is valued at $80-$120.

The second edition of The Handbook of Vintage Cigarette Lighters, by Stuart Schneider & Ira Pilossof, is a recent release of Schiffer Publishing. Over 800 lighters are illustrated with full-color photographs.

As the title indicates, this is primarily a book of vintage lighters, dating from the 1880s to the 1950s. It includes those made by well-known companies, such as Ronson and Dunhill, and also unusual and interesting lighters by smaller, lesser known companies.

There are several reasons for the interest in collecting cigarette lighters. One of these reasons is that they are small works of art. This is especially true of those from the Art Deco period. A few years later, by the time of the Great Depression, the larger companies had recognized the popularity of well-designed lighters and produced hundreds with “modern” artistic designs.

Another reason for the popularity of lighter collecting is their size. They don’t take up a whole lot of space, which is a critical factor for some collectors.

Cigarettes were invented in the 1850s, and had become popular by the 1880s. And inventions to light the cigarettes followed immediately. Dozens of patents were filed for “fire starter” devices. One of the first was a sparking cap of flint and steel that caused a rope to smolder. It didn’t take long before inventors realized that a bit of oil or gasoline could be used to make a rope burst into flame. Once some problems with the flint and steel were resolved, the striker lighter became popular. During World War I, technology developed to a point that could be adapted to lighter manufacture, using a wheel and flint mechanism, and the modern lighter came into use.

The Handbook of Vintage Cigarette Lighters includes updated market values for the lighters shown, and should prove interesting and useful for both collectors and dealers of cigarette lighters. It is priced at $24.99. Check with your local bookseller or see Schiffer’s online catalog,

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Quilts Have Historical Significance In
Addition To Providing Warmth


This photo of an elderly woman dates to c. 1900. Since the photo would have been taken outdoors, the author speculates that the quilt behind her was there for added warmth. The quilt pattern is identified as Tumbling Blocks.

Quilting has been one of women’s favorite, and useful, forms of needlework for centuries. There has been a resurgence of interest in it in recent decades, with new fabrics with which to work and fancy new sewing machines to do added interesting things to finish a quilt. Many quilters, while using new techniques, get inspiration from quilts made in earlier times.

One special category of antique quilts is the subject of World War I Quilts, by Sue Reich, a 2014 Schiffer publication.

The decade of the 1910s offered lots of new opportunities for quilters. There was an abundance of fabrics available, in many patterns and colors. (The American Printing Company of Massachusetts, the largest printer of cotton in the world, employed 6,000 workers.) And electric sewing machines began to displace the use of treadle machines, where electricity was available.

There were two huge events that occurred during 1917-1918 that kept all quilters busy. World War I was taking place in Europe and the 1918 pandemic flu, or “Spanish flu,” was bringing sickness and death not only in America but also around the world. Quilters focused their attention of providing quilts for soldiers and the Red Cross.

This Red Cross quilt was made in 1918. The pattern was published in the magazine The Modern Priscilla in December, 1917, in response to a call for increased fund raising for the Red Cross and the War effort.

The flu was horrific, killing 50 to 100 million people worldwide, and seemed to especially select young adults of all ethnic groups. Cotton quilts were the most acceptable form of covering for the sick beds, because they could be washed and sterilized. However, to be extra careful, when a flu patient died, the U.S. government recommended that the quilt in use be burned, to prevent potential spreading of the disease. Obviously, that has greatly reduced the number of quilts from this period that survive today.

Many quilts were made for solders by the women in their families and sent with them to war. However, there were also quilts made for fundraising purposes. These tend to be more elaborate, and use a variety of fabrics, rather than just the cotton used for the hospital quilts.

See examples of many of the quilts of this decade in World War I Quilts (ISBN: 978-0-7643-4754-2.) It is hardback, and priced at $39.99.

Another recent publication on quilts is Quilts in Everyday Life, 1855-1955. It is written by Janet E. Finley, and also published by Schiffer.

This interesting book is actually a collection of photographs, usually of people, that contain a quilt somewhere in the photograph. The author has selected 325 photos, from her collection of over 1,000, to include in this book.

Some of the photos are postcards, some are cabinet cards, the earliest ones are tintypes and ambrotypes, and a variety of other photo techniques.

The subject matter varies widely, from a deceased child covered with a quilt to a wagon load of men with rifles at the ready. Probably the most have a quilt used as background. Quilters today will recognize many of the patterns.

An informative text accompanies each photo which not only identifies the pattern when possible, but also gives some accompanying history.

Quilts in Everyday Life (ISBN: 978-0-7643-4216-5), in hardback, is priced at $34.99.
Check with your local bookseller for these two books or see the Schiffer online catalog, Schiffer Publishing may be contacted by email at

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