Jump to navigation Jump to search
File:100 Yen lighter.JPG

A lighter is a portable device used to create a flame. It consists of a metal or plastic container filled with lighter fluid (usually naphtha or liquid butane under pressure), as well as a means of ignition and some provision for extinguishing the flame, either by depriving it of air or of fuel.

Lighters using naphtha have a wick which is immersed in the fluid and becomes saturated. This type usually has a fiber packing material which absorbs the liquid to keep it from leaking. They also must have an enclosed top to prevent the volatile liquid from evaporating, and to conveniently extinguish the flame. Butane lighters have a valved orifice that meters the butane as it escapes as a gas.

A spark is created by striking metal against a flint, or by pressing a button that compresses a piezoelectric crystal, generating a voltaic arc (see Piezo ignition). In naphtha lighters the liquid is volatile enough that flammable gas is present as soon as the top of the lighter is opened. Butane lighters combine the striking action with the opening of the valve to release gas. The spark ignites the flammable gas causing a flame to come out of the lighter which continues until either the top is closed (naphtha type), or the valve is released (butane type).

A metal enclosure with air holes generally surrounds the flame, and is designed to allow mixing of fuel and air while making the lighter less sensitive to wind. The high energy jet in butane lighters allows mixing to be accomplished by using Bernoulli's principle, so that the air hole(s) in this type tend to be much smaller and farther from the flame.


The first lighter, Döbereiner's lamp, was invented by Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823. It stayed in production until 1880.The first "match" was created in 1805. The first friction match, which can be ignited on virtually any surface (i.e. fabric) was created in 1827, 4 years after the lighter.[1]

Lighter Re-Distribution

It is common place for a cigarette lighter to change ownership many times in its lifetime. According to a recent study at TVU in Reading an average disposable lighter will make its way in to the pockets of 7 different smokers during its time and only 1 out of 45 lighters ever survive until they become un-useable.[citation needed]

Car cigarette lighters

Template:Seealso Most cars are equipped with an electric cigarette lighter plug that fits in the socket. Its internal heating element becomes glowing orange hot in seconds when the device is activated, and is capable of lighting cigarettes, cigars and tinder (among other things).

The lighter's socket doubles as a 12 volt power outlet that can be used to power many small electrical devices. In some newer cars, due to the decreasing popularity of smoking in some countries and the popularity of in-car electronics, the lighter plug has been omitted while leaving the socket behind as a power source.

In Pop Culture

During slow songs at live concerts, particularly power ballads, concert goers often wave lighters in the air. This tradition is being at least partly superseded by the waving of mobile phones, both for safety reasons, and because mobile phone users are becoming more common than smokers.[citation needed]


According to an interview by Matthew Alice, the use of lighters in concerts started due to the influence of several sources, making it difficult to trace. First, there is the theory that the practice simply started at a Neil Diamond concert of 1972 or a Bob Dylan concert at 1974, because the audience had lighters available. Another theory is that the gesture is symbolic of songs with flames mentioned, such as the Doors' "Light My Fire." Another theory is that this practice came out of a performance during Woodstock where candles (rather than lighters) were held aloft, and evolved from this. [1] Template:Sect-stub

See also



ca:Encenedor cs:Zapalovač da:Lighter de:Feuerzeug eu:Pizgailu fa:فندک id:Korek api gas it:Accendino he:מצית lt:Žiebtuvėlis nl:Aansteker no:Lighter nds:Füertüüch scn:Azzarinu sr:Упаљач fi:Sytytin (tulentekoväline) sv:Tändare

Template:WikiDoc Sources