NOTES FROM THE SHED: Zippo Mystery Investigation

The Shed’s team took some time out for proper Shed concerns the other day and decided it was time to test the famous Zippo guarantee –

“Any Zippo windproof lighter that is returned to Zippo will be fixed free of charge. Zippo have yet to charge for the repair of a Zippo windproof lighter, regardless of its age.”

We found an address for the UK agent:

Zippo European Repair Clinic
c/o Zippo UK Ltd
The Barley Mow Centre
10 Barley Mow Passage
Chiswick, London
W4 4PH
Tel: 020 8964 0666

And parcelled it up and sent it. First, had to dismantle it and dry out all filling. Some post offices might say No anyway, apparently, and you’d have to use a courier service. Anyway, got a certificate of posting and off it went, with the following letter:

“Dear Zippo. Enclosed lighter has failed to perform properly for some time now. We have tried all sorts with wick and packing and airing the petrol chamber and all but it still takes six or seven strikes to light and we cannot work out why. There is some slack in the hinge which we would like to fix if possible, but the lid seems to fit tight enough when it is all assembled. We are taking advantage of your lifetime service guarantee because we would be very interested to know what you find.”

Heard nothing, but eight weeks later, the lighter dropped back through the letterbox. Letter returned, without comment. Hinge fixed. Lights every time. Lovely. Except the innards had simply been swapped for another mechanism, so we still do not know why some Zippos just won’t light.

In the course of investigations, The Shed filed the nice diagram below, from Engineering & Technology mag  …

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