Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Table Lighters

(my small collection of table lighters)

I'm a self-proclaimed classic movie junkie. I grew up in a very small / very modest town in Appalachia, which never seemed to fit me properly. I would watch these films, or rather study them, and somehow feel right. I wanted to be Paul Varjak, C.K. Dexter Haven, Caleb 'Cal' Trask, Brad Allen (Rex Stetson), and sometimes (or, rather too often) Schatze Page. They were cool. They dressed with such amazing style, spoke with elegant and witty candor, they drank scotch, smoked, drove beautiful cars, always got the girl (or guy), and were all around awesome.... in my opinion. These movies have been such an influence in my life, not just in the way that I design, but in the way that I live.

One prop, in general, stands out to me as a symbol of chicness unparalleled in today's films -the table lighter. Smoking, although I'm not a fan of, was not only standard in film, but in life. I don't smoke. I can't stand the smell of it. But, there is something somewhat intriguing about it. It's a sort of classic ritual, and when performed properly and with appropriate accoutrement; a silver cartier cigarette case, a tiffany lighter, etc. can be quite dashing.

***images provided by: google image search, and table-lighters, with the exception of first photo of my collection provided by my phone.


  1. That is a wonderful post.
    So different. I love the egg lighter.
    great collection.


  2. Love a good lighter or even better, a match strike. The basket weave is to die for

  3. Scott-

    BETTER THAN THE LIGHTERS--was your childhood reverie. Loved it.

    And here you are, living your dream...but real and better.

    cheers...here's to you! DIANE

  4. wow...so cool! it makes me want to start another collection though that is the last thing i need. how did i miss out on a table lighter collection? it's tempting!

  5. Yvonne -Thanks. I love the egg lighter too!

    Sean -I totally agree with you! It's from Florence c. 1960.

    D.D.S. -Thank you. A compliment like that from a person who I regard so highly is truly flattering.

    Jaz -It's never too late! ; )

  6. ha - we grew up so similarly - even schatze page, comeone. I have a framed movie poster of 'how to marry a millionaire' for gosh sake! anyways
    I have always loved these too and whenever I see one I contemplate buying one 'for candles' as I too, hate smoking. Maybe I should just give in and buy one.

  7. What a brilliant idea for a collection. I bet eBay has lots. Where have you found yours? I love these.

  8. Its an object I've always found handy and highly civilized. It generally comes with a cigarette box. May I confess that I have both a posto on the side table next to the sofa in my study and use it for a much shameful reason that lighting candles. Same family as paper knife, stationary, you name it...

  9. i have the lighter in your first picture.
    (front left)

    i have a fascination with lighters and ashtrays.
    i think that is why i started to smoke.


  10. i do like a cigar on special occasions...you've made today special...

    i'm off to the tobacco store....

  11. This is one of the best posts, I have seen in a long while. The beauty of the items here makes me think of sitting in my library while smoking a tobacco pipe. With a glass of Talisker in my new glen plaid, lead crystal double old fashions, And of course with my black and white IG at my side. while visions of Ella danced in my head.

  12. Stefan -Yes, but you've led more of a fabulous Shatze Page life than I have! You should have at least one in your pad. I got the small silver one (Ronson - "Crown") from Ruff & Redy last weekend for $6.00!

    Beth -I'll bet your right. I'm not much of a collector. I really like the idea of just picking one up when I run across it. I got the square lucite one while on vacation with my parents at the beach, the taller silver one while shopping with a friend, and the smaller silver one while out on another fun day of shopping with said friend. The collection seems to mean more to me when compiled this way.

    Ivan -I agree with you, and I'm sure that your look very fitting in your beautifully appointed home. *show us some photos on your blog!

    Renee -That's great! It's the Ronson "Crown" c.1936. I, too, am intrigued by lighters and ash trays. Like I said, I feel like there is something very reminiscent and chic about them.

    ha ha, Custard, enjoy your cigar!

    Alex -Thanks for leaving a comment, and such an elaborate one at that! Funny you should mention visions of Ella dancing. She's stretching at the bar right now.

  13. Fun posting Scott, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It is interesting that you and I have posted on tobbaciana in such short order. I just posted mine this evening, actually, as I was finally satisfied with the tinkering I have been doing to it for the last several weeks. Now please, get out the silver polish and get to work!

  14. Mr. Darling -I'm glad you enjoyed it. Does unpolished silver bother you? I love the look of gleaming silver accents in a stately well pedigreed home, such as yours. But, in my shabby little place the tarnished look seems more appropriate. I promise you if I ever am fortunate enough to live in a home like Darlington that I will polish all of my silver!

  15. Hmmm, to polish or not to polish? I like my silver polished, but I like my brass patinated....shiny brass just seems so, so, trying too hard..

    But I digress. Loved this post. You're on a roll.

  16. I have blog envy! Especially the title - wish I'd thought of it! Found you via Apartment Therapy. You are now bookmarked.

  17. D.E.D. -I'm reminded of a part of Breakfast at Tiffany's (the movie) when Holly Golightly talks about how much she appreciates diamonds, and how she adores them on older women, but how they're not right for her. This is sort of how I feel about polished silver accessories in my home. It will work for me when I'm older, but not for now.

  18. Magnolia -Thanks for stopping by! I hope that I'll be able to keep your interest!

  19. These lighters are indeed very pretty. As I commented on Reggie's blog, table lighters, like ashtrays in his case, used to be on every side table and coffee table in most houses, when smoking was an accepted social habit, and I certainly had a pair of silver Ronson table lighters, which are stored somewhere long forgotten, to enforce the discouragement of the habit inside my house. If guests want to smoke, they have to repair to the balcony.

  20. I love it. It's incredible how much you know about films as well as beautifully designed lighters.

  21. Hello Scott,
    There is nothing more pleasing than gleaming, beautifully-polished silver--no matter the level of grandeur of the surroundings. While I believe that unpolished silver looks marvelous for the camera, I prefer polished silver for daily living whenever possible.

    I suppose I am on the side of Harriet Craig on this one . . . now, get to work!

  22. The Tiffany fish are beautiful!

  23. Columnist -Thanks for the comment. I don't allow smoking in my apartment either, but am fond of the paraphernalia associated with it. I would kill for Mr. Darling's impressive collection!

    A Super D. -Don't be fooled, I know very little about lighters. It's amazing how much you can learn in such a short amount of time thanks to the trusty web!

    Mr. Darling -You're absolutely right! How could I ever oppose to the teachings of a man who is as gifted in the style department as you are? I got the polish out yesterday afternoon, and you might be pleased to know that all is shiny and silver now!

    Jill -They are amazing, aren't they!

  24. I adore all of them, but if I had to choose, it's a tie between the blue clock and the silver basket weave.

    Thanks for stopping by Willow Manor, btw!

  25. Scott-
    Thank you for sharing! What a chic collection youv'e gathered here.
    Like most people I grew up around the culture of smoking and still find something romantic about the idea, even though I can't stand to be around smoke (anymore).
    Great post!
    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

  26. Willow -My pleasure! You've got a fantastic blog! Yeah, I know what you mean... too many beauties, how can we chose just one?!

    David -I agree with you completely. Thanks for stopping by!

  27. oooh, this post is right up my alley. I love each and every one of these lighters! Gorgeous!!!

  28. Cashon&am;Co -I'm glad you dig it! Thanks for stopping by.