EMPLOYEE TEST MODEL ZIPPOS
This is a gallery of one-of-a kind test model Zippo lighters engraved by Zippo employee artists perfecting and personalizing their art on Zippo cases. The earliest decorated Zippos used applied metalliques with paint or were single color line-drawn. World War II led to a temporary slowing in the evolution of the art form since from 1940 through 1945 Zippo production was dedicated mainly to supporting the US military with black crackle Zippos, not the easiest canvas for an artist to work with. After the end of the war in 1945 the demands on employee artists at Zippo's production plant in Bradford PA grew. In 1946, evolution led to line-drawn Zippos with multiple colors and more use of attached badges. In 1949 the first hand-painted Town and Country models were produced, leather-covered Zippos were introduced in 1950, and with the passage of time silk screening and other methods of production brought changes. Zippo's employees needed to practice their art before production and those Zippos are referred to as test models. They are not prototypes intended for production. Many of the test models were line-drawn using multiple colors, some with messages for co-workers, family and friends. The resulting designs, sometimes very familiar to Zippo collectors, and the quaint employee-related personal messages make these one-of-a kind Zippos quite special.