From Zippo's Site;
|Zippo and World War II |
No other event in history increased the popularity of Zippo lighters more than World War II. From 1943 through the end of WWII, Zippo’s entire production was allocated to the armed forces. The company archives are filled with letters detailing the services a Zippo lighter was called to perform: heating rations in a helmet, lighting campfires, sparking fuses for explosives, hammering nails and even signaling to fellow soldiers with the famous Zippo click. On several occasions, a Zippo lighter in a shirt or pants pocket even saved a life by deflecting bullets.
|No wonder legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote, “Getting hold of a Zippo (lighter) is like getting hold of a hunk of gold…There is truly nothing the average soldier would rather have.”|
Because of a shortage of raw materials, WWII-era Zippo lighters were made of steel rather than brass, and dipped in a black protective coating to prevent rusting. Today collectors refer to these rare models as black crackle lighters.
In the early 1990s, a Zippo employee found a genuine black crackle World War II-era lighter bearing a simple hand-carved inscription, “Walter Nadler” on the front and “June 6, 1944, 0630 France” on the back. As part of our D-Day 50th Anniversary initiative, Zippo launched an international media search throughout the U.S. and France, seeking to find any details on Walter Nadler. Information from several sources led to Walter D. Nadler of Rahway, NJ, who landed on Normandy June 6, 1944, with the fighting 4th Division of the U.S. Army. Unfortunately, Nadler had passed away in 1990. The now famous Walter Nadler lighter is on display at the Zippo/Case Visitors Center in Bradford, PA.