Ronson (company)

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1954 Ronson logo

Ronson Consumer Products Corporation was formerly based in Somerset, New Jersey, USA. It was a producer of lighters and lighter accessories once known for its stylish and dependable cigarette lighter line, and the advertising slogan, "You're a winner - with a Ronson!"

Ronson Limited, located in Northampton, England, owns the Ronson Brand in most territories throughout the world.

History[edit]

The Art Metal Works[edit]

1903 Art Metal Works Advertisement

The Ronson lighter company started as The Art Metal Works in 1897, and was incorporated on July 20, 1898 by Max Hecht, Louis V. Aronson and Leopold Herzig, in Newark, New Jersey.[1][2][3]

Louis V. Aronson was a huge creative driving force for the company, and with a few business adjustments including the addition of Alexander Harris sometime around 1910-1911[4][5] as Business Manager, the company soon became World Famous![6]

All accounts state that Louis Aronson was a gifted man, who at 16 years old set-up a money making shop in his parents home - before receiving a U.S. patent for a commercially valuable metal-plating process he developed when he was 24 years old, and he sold half the rights while retaining the Right to Use. "His experiments, which he has been conducting since his early youth, resulted in 1893 in the discovery of a process for electrically producing tinplate. Much money was expended upon improving the process... and has been of great practical value to the whole industry.[7] Retaining its rights, he sold half the patent rights, and later used part of the proceeds to open the Art Metal Works in Newark, N.J.[8] Soon the company was producing a variety of high-quality Lamps, Book ends, Art Statues and other decorative items, prized today for their detail in the collector marketplace.[9][10][11][12]

Lamps, ink wells, hood ornaments & safety matches[edit]

1912 Art Metal Works Hood Ornaments Advertisement page

In the 1910s The Art Metal Works were producing very good quality Hood Ornaments and gained a reputation as a dependable supplier of same.[13][14][15]

Aronson had established himself as a safety-match development pioneer with his inventions of the "Non-Toxic Match" and the "All-Weather Match" in the 1890s. Another invention of Mr. Aronson was the wind-match, for which he applied for a patent December 29, 1896. He found a chemical combination which insured combustion in the highest wind, a boon to the tourist as well as to the explorer and the hunter. The patent was granted October 26, 1897,[16] and a testimony to its merits is shown by the following letter written by the former scientific chemist to the Royal Society of Great Britain in response to an inquiry of some capitalists as to the chemical and commercial importance of the match:

In regard to the match patent by Louis V. Aronson, which patent is dated October 26, 1897, the number of which is 592,227, I beg to state that during the progress of this invention and application for patent, I carefully examined, as chemist, the various steps described therein, and have carefully considered it both commercially and chemically. My conclusions are that the process of manufacture is a simple one, the product a superior one, and the patent a broad and complete one, and can, therefore, recommend it fully and well to you. If properly placed on the market, I feel convinced that it will make a great success, as the article certainly fills a long-felt want and has not any of the objectionable features of the wind-matches heretofore placed on the market.

— (Signed) Martin E. Walstein.

In the investigations conducted for the purpose of improving this Windmatch, Aronson discovered the method for making a white phosphorus-free match. This had been a long time goal for chemical investigators in the industrial world, white phosphorus' necessity in match-making being the cause of the industrial disease called "phossy jaw."

The Belgian government had offered a prize of 50,000 francs, or $10,000, in a competition open to the whole world. This offer had stirred up scientists and chemists to redouble their efforts to produce such a match, and many came very near to eliminating this poisonous phosphorus from the match. The prize was, however, awarded to Mr. Aronson, he being adjudged the only one to produce an absolutely non-phosphorus match, and to have complied entirely with the conditions of the contest. "This triumph for American production is hoped will in time secure a generous reward to the discoverer, since negotiations are in progress with some of the largest manufacturers in the world for the rights for its production and sale."[17][18][19]

Ronson Lighters[edit]

Banjo, De-Light & Homelighters[edit]

1931 Ronson De-Light Lighter Advertisement pages in Color

When, in time, technological advances were developed to allow for the manufacture of a safe flint material in 1906, Louis Aronson's ambition for an automatic pocket lighter soon became a reality. In 1913, Louis Aronson applied for a patent for a Liter (lighter), which was approved. In 1926 he released a new "automatic operation" Banjo lighter, which offered to both ignition and extinguish in a single push.[20] It was a great success, demand shortly exceeding supply, spurring Aronson to Patent it and design other products around the invention, which were marketed under the Ronson brand name.[21] Under his leadership, the Art Metal Works began designing prototypes, and patented several generations of Igniting-Apparatus until finally arriving at the Banjo Lighter. Ronson received an exclusive patent, in 1926, for a new automatic style of lighter that worked with one hand, and in 1927 Ronson began marketed it as the Ronson De-Light Lighter with the slogan "A flip - and it's lit! Release - and it's out!" Ronson's new lighters were an overnight success worldwide and soon the company offered a variety of lighters for all tastes.[22][23][24][25][26] As with the Art Metal Works output, many well-built and stylish early Ronson lighters demand high prices in the collectibles marketplace.[27][28][29]

Touch Tip & Striker Lighters[edit]

In the early 1930s Art Metal Works, Inc., began to manufacture a new line of Touch-Tip table lighters which became hugely popular and many stylish Art Deco designs were produced.[30]

Butane Lighters[edit]

Ronson Consumer Products Corporation[edit]

After the war, Ronson turned to producing lighters, then branched out into domestic goods such as electric shavers and cooking appliances. The company expanded to include England and Australia.

In the early 1980s, high costs and the advent of cheap disposable lighters forced closure of its production facility at Leatherhead in England. Now, a European branch at Long Buckby in Northamptonshire in the UK sells a range of lighters.

Ronson appliances in Australia, after being sold by the parent company, are now owned by Breville Group and the brand is a mid priced value brand with wide distribution in the Australian market[31]

Today[edit]

In February 2010, Zippo acquired certain assets of Ronson (lighters and lighter fluid products) in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. As a Zippo brand, Ronson is based at Zippo headquarters in Bradford, Pennsylvania.[32] The acquisition did not include the Ronson Aviation subsidiary.

Today Ronson remains a strong brand in the U.S. and Canada. Ronson pocket lighters are available in both disposable and refillable versions. Several models of multi-purpose lighters and a touch-utility lighter are also marketed. Ronsonol lighter fluid and Multi-fill butane fuel have a sizable market share in North American markets.[33]

Ronson Limited sells Ronson branded gift and everyday lighters, gas and fuel, and smoker's requisites internationally with the exception of North America.

Ronson Limited and Ronson International Limited headquarters are located in England.

Notable Models[edit]

Cadet Lighter[edit]

This silver colored and durable square lighter was brought out to the public in 1959. This lighter was made in three variants not including the Cadet Mini, and they was made exclusively in England. One of these three versions of the Cadet even featured a wind shield. The Cadet Mini was also released in 1959, also manufactured exclusively in England. This shorter variant of the Cadet Lighter also came in four different patterns.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=VtcgAQAAMAAJ&dq=%22max%20hecht%22%20art%20metal&pg=PA1333
  2. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=1StRAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22max%20hecht%22%20art%20metal&pg=RA5-PA35
  3. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=mCxRAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22max%20hecht%22%20art%20metal&pg=RA5-PA34
  4. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=9Mc7AQAAMAAJ&dq=%22Alexander%20Harris%22%20Art%20Metal%20Works&pg=PA38
  5. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=zOrmAAAAMAAJ&dq=%22Alexander%20Harris%22%20aronson&pg=PA184
  6. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=1StRAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22max%20hecht%22%20art%20metal&pg=RA6-PA35
  7. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=iY0MAAAAYAAJ&vq=aronson&pg=PA247
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=l1goAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22art%20metal%20works%22%20harris&pg=PA117
  9. ^ Kathy Kaplan (1994-09-11). "Because Few Are Being Made, Collectors Are Getting Fired Up About This Hot Collectible - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  10. ^ Keane, Maribeth (2009-04-15). "Where There’s Smoke There’s a Vintage Cigarette Lighter". Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  11. ^ Tobacciana (1922-02-21). "Cigar and Cigarette Lighters - Collector Information". Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  12. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=R4DgTMfsb00C&lpg=PA16&dq=Louis%20V.%20Aronson&pg=PA16#v=onepage&q=Louis%20V.%20Aronson&f=false
  13. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=U3rJxPYT32MC&lpg=PA404&dq=Louis%20V.%20Aronson&pg=PA404
  14. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=_DQ-CGCkTfQC&lpg=PA34&dq=Louis%20V.%20Aronson&pg=PA34
  15. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=liUhz-3f7PYC&lpg=PA34&dq=Louis%20V.%20Aronson&pg=PA34
  16. ^ United States Patent US0592227
  17. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=iY0MAAAAYAAJ&vq=aronson&pg=PA248
  18. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=L7JBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=O7gMAAAAIBAJ&dq=art-metal-works%20newark&pg=3311%2C4270701
  19. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ELwVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FQ8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5061%2C1095773
  20. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=U3RBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wLcMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6464%2C933042
  21. ^ United States Patent 1673727
  22. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JyUyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9qoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1639%2C1761648
  23. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uUsbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KUsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2967%2C1636685
  24. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6zgsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gsoEAAAAIBAJ&dq=ronson%20de-light&pg=2004%2C4551348
  25. ^ http://www.ronsonbook.com/
  26. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gWIbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YUwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3661%2C4239124
  27. ^ "Vintage Ronson Lighters Home Page". Vintage-ronson.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  28. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pages/OTLS-Cigarette-Lighter-Collectors-Club/292708054173933
  29. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=KKlRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6mgDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4685%2C4859899
  30. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=HxsnAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZgMGAAAAIBAJ&pg=4947%2C6390750
  31. ^ "Brands – Breville Group Limited". Brevillegroup.com.au. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  32. ^ :: Zippo Announces Plans for Ronson Acquisition
  33. ^ "Blank Page". Ronsoncorp.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  34. ^ Frank Dutton - http://www.toledo-bend.com/fd/. "Ronson Cigarette Lighters A - C". Toledo-bend.com. Retrieved 2014-04-30.