Vintage Cigarette Lighters

& Ashtrays, too!

This site does not support or encourage tobacco use. This site is a reference for collectors or others researching antique cigarette lighters and ashtrays.
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Imco / Jmco Lighters

IMCO is the second oldest operational lighter manufacturer in the world, second only to Ronson in the USA.

In 1907 Vienna, Julius Meister founded the Austrian button and hardware factory Julius Meister & Co. “IMCO” was created from these initials. The factory initially mainly produced buttons for the military.

After WW I, there was no longer a demand for these and so, from 1918 onwards, IMCO switched to the production of cigarette lighters. In the early days, these were made of empty cartridge cases. The shape of the cartridges could still be seen in the forms of the early IMCO lighters. The first IMCO lighter was developed between 1918 and 1919 and in 1922 the first patent was registered, No. 89538.

Imco used a very unusual mechanism (for the time). Mostly made from brass, their lighters became known as trench style lighters as many service men carried them. Imco manufactured various styles with beautiful deco designs.

Since then, around 70 different lighters have been developed and sold worldwide. The Austrian lighter industry entered the 20th century as market leader, for the flint lighter (“Auermet”) was also created by the Austrian Auer von Welsbach. Among the enormous number of firms operating today, there are sadly now only two providing Austrian quality in the sector.