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Zippo mourns the passing of founding family’s Sarah Blaisdell Dorn

January 12,2016 - Zippo announces the passing of Sarah Blaisdell Dorn, one of the long-time owners of the company. She was the daughter of Zippo founder George B. Blaisdell and the mother of current owner George B. Duke. Sarah Dorn died on January 10, 2016 after a brief illness. She was 88 years old.

Zippo President and CEO Greg Booth made this statement on behalf of all Zippo employees: “The entire Zippo family is saddened about the news of Sarah Dorn’s death. Along with her sister, Harriett, her involvement with the company started at the very beginning when their father, George Blaisdell, started the company. Sarah played a vital role in the growth and success of Zippo. She was also a big booster for Bradford, Pennsylvania and made countless contributions to many community organizations to help improve the lives of the people who lived in her hometown. Zippo will very much miss Sarah and she will be forever remembered by those who knew and loved her.”

Born November 22, 1927, in Buffalo, she is the daughter of the late George G. and Miriam (Barcroft) Blaisdell.  On April 23, 1981, in the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Bradford, she married Richard B. Dorn who survives.

She was a 1945 graduate of Bradford High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College and later graduated from Katherine Gibbs Business Academy in New York City.

Sarah was actively involved with Zippo operations beginning in the early 1950s. Sarah and her sister Harriett B. Wick assumed ownership after the death of their father in 1978. Sarah served as Vice President and Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Zippo Manufacturing Company until her retirement. She maintained a seat on the Board of Directors until the time of her death.

Sarah was a member of the Board of Directors for many charitable organizations which supported health, welfare, social and leisure programs in and around Bradford. Sarah was especially proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the Philo and Sarah Blaisdell Foundation, which her father established in December of 1950.  Through the Blaisdell Foundation, Sarah and Harriett established the Miriam Barcroft Blaisdell Scholarship which supports scholarships for 65 students annually.  In 1993, Sarah received the Presidential Medal of Distinction from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford for her longtime support of the University. Her memberships included the Pennhills Club and the Bradford Club.

Surviving in addition to her husband Richard is one son, George B. (Rita Walters) Duke Sr.; one sister, Harriett Blaisdell (the late Robert H.) Wick; two grandchildren, Grant B. (Shane Baker) Duke and Sarah Duke; two step grandchildren, Kara Close and Beau Close; one nephew D. Blaise (Ann Anderson) Wick and Barbara Wick (Richard) Kearney; four step children, Missy (John) Warner, Terry Dorn, Mac (Lauri) Dorn, and Bruce (Carol) Dorn; six step grandchildren and three step great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband Paul C. Duke Jr., her second husband Thomas Blauser, one son Paul C. Duke III who died September 28, 2005, one grandson George B. Duke Jr., who died November 13, 2015, and one nephew Michael Quinn Wick who died October 16, 2005.  Burial will be in Willow Dale Cemetery, Bradford.

Zippo/Case Museum WWII artifacts heading to Pittsburgh

April 22, 2015 – One of the Zippo/Case Museum’s most historically significant pieces– a lighter that was hand engraved on a landing craft en route to the D-Day invasion – is currently on loan, along with several other WWII-era artifacts from the Zippo and Case archives, to the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh for a special exhibit opening Saturday, April 25.

The Zippo/Case Museum pieces will be featured in the upcoming “We Can Do It!WWII” exhibit, which explores how Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania affected the home front and battlefield during WWII.

“We’re honored to be able to share so many of our important historical pieces with the Heinz History Center,” said Pat Grandy, Zippo Corporate Media and Communications Manager. “Zippo and Case’s reputation for dependable products was cemented by our performance during WWII. We have so many letters, images and artifacts from WWII in the Zippo/Case Museum, it was hard to choose only a few, but we feel they make an important contribution to the exhibit.”

Under a special agreement, the Zippo/Case Museum loaned the Smithsonian-affiliated Heinz History Center several key pieces from the corporate archives. Along with the special lighter, known as the Walter Nadler lighter, the museum also sent images and advertisements from the time period, and a recreation of the V-42 Stiletto, which W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Co. developed from the museum’s original V-42 Stiletto and is producing in limited quantities.

The Walter Nadler lighter story is explored in detail, along with Zippo’s founding during the Great Depression and the company’s incredible success and growth during WWII, in the current issue of Western Pennsylvania History magazine. The article was written by Tim Ziaukas, Professor of Public Relations at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, who utilized never-before-shared interviews with Zippo owners Sarah Dorn and George Duke, the daughter and grandson of Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell.

“The story of Zippo Manufacturing Company is not only one of Pennsylvania’s great tales, it’s one of America’s,” Ziaukas said. “I’m happy to have been able to get a version of this important Bradford story on the record.”

The Spring 2015 articles will be available to read for free on the Heinz History Center’s website.

Zippo Heritage Comes Full Circle with the Collectible of the Year

February 4, 2015 – The Zippo Collectible of the Year program returns in 2015 with ‘Full Circle,’ a stunning design personally selected by Zippo owner George Duke. The iconic Zippo Windproof lighter has been a hugely popular collectible. This latest edition is sure to resonate with Zippo fans across the globe.

Zippo owner, George Duke, handpicked the Full Circle design, created by his son Grant, fourth-generation member of the Zippo family. The commemorative lighter celebrates Zippo’s history and is a must-have for collectors. Only 12,000 Full Circle lighters have been created and will be available at Zippo retailers in spring 2015.

The Full Circle lighter is the latest addition to The Collectible of the Year series, which started in 1992 and continued for a decade before returning in 2013 with the Windy lighter, one of the most popular issued by Zippo. The intricate design is deep carved on an Armor Spectrum lighter and is an infinite repetition of a never ending spiral that ebbs and flows in highs and lows of tactile engraving. The Armor case is 1.5 times thicker than a standard Zippo windproof lighter case, allowing for deeper and more intricate engraving.

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company Celebrates 125 Years

June 20, 2014 – This year, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, an American manufacturer of premium quality knives, proudly celebrates 125 years of award-winning hand-craftsmanship, small-town heritage and time-honored tradition. The company’s rich history began in 1889 when four Case Brothers began fashioning knives and selling them along a wagon trail in Upstate New York.

“Zippo acquired W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company in 1993 and we are very proud of what we have been able to achieve in the last 20 years by bringing these two iconic brands together,” said Greg Booth, CEO, Zippo/W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company.

To further this commitment, Case Cutlery’s parent company, Zippo Manufacturing Company, is investing nearly $10 million dollars toward renovating their Bradford, Pennsylvania factory. The renovations, which are currently underway and expected to finish by the end of 2015, include a complete remodeling of the Case factory that was originally constructed in 1975, including new equipment and floor configurations that will allow better efficiency, productivity and quality without affecting the hand-craftsmanship that has always gone into every Case knife.

“With Case, our current focus is on improving efficiency, which we hope to achieve with this new investment, and drive future innovation and new product development,” Booth added.

Case’s products range from the classic patterns like the Case Trapper, Stockman, Peanut and Tiny Toothpick that are meant for everyday use to collectibles, mint sets and commemorative items that adorn living room walls and "man caves" all across America.


Zippo Takes over Product Distribution in Europe


July 18, 2013 – Zippo Manufacturing Company will take full control of its product distribution in Europe according to an announcement made by Zippo and Polyconcept. Zippo will take over Polyconcept’s stake in Austria, Benelux, France, and Germany. As part of the agreement, Zippo GMBH and Zippo SA, will now be known as Zippo France and Zippo Germany.

Greg Booth, Zippo President and CEO said, “Over the past 20 years Polyconcept and Zippo have worked well together to distribute Zippo products in Europe. As the companies have evolved, we realised that this change will contribute to an enhanced service to our customers. We hold Polyconcept in the highest regards and are grateful for the opportunity to have worked together and for their contribution to Zippo’s success story in Europe.”

“Many important changes have taken place over the past few years; all of which have demonstrated Zippo’s commitment to growth, market leadership, and our vision of the future,” said Booth.

Zippo Makes Top Ten List of Most 'Patriotic' Brands


June 4, 2013 - Zippo was named one of the top ‘Americana’ brands in a survey of 4,500 consumers by New York-based branding researching firm Brand Keys. Zippo weighed in at number seven on the list, boasting a 93 percent score (out of 100) on a scale representing consumers' emotional engagement expectations.

Zippo has been an American icon since WWII when the company ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military. The company has produced countless American themed lighters, the single most popular image reproduced on the windproof lighter being the Statue of Liberty. Additionally, the people of Zippo contribute to its patriotic history – including its founder, George G. Blaisdell, the many employees, as well as the customers and collectors who have played a part in the company’s 80-year history.

“Everyone has a Zippo story. It's an attitude, a lifestyle -- it's an American icon, like a July 4th backyard barbeque,” said Greg Booth, Zippo President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’re honored to be on this list and I know Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell would say the same. Mr. Blaisdell was a very proud American and many times he said that he was privileged to pay his Federal taxes because he felt that the United States was such a great country.”

Zippo embodies American pride not only in its design and manufacturing, but also through partnerships with companies and brands that share its patriotic values. More than half of the brands on the Brand Keys list have been featured on a Zippo lighter, including Jeep which came in at number one. In fact, in 2011, West Coast Customs produced a custom Zippo Jeep. In addition, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, ranked 13 on the list, is currently Zippo’s number one licensed brand.


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