The Walter Nadler lighter was rediscovered in the Zippo archives in the 90s. It was an authentic WWII-period lighter with the black crackle finish that had been crudely hand-engraved with the name “Walter Nadler” on one side, and “June 6, 1944 0630. France,” on the other.
How the lighter made it from France to Bradford was a mystery. So Zippo launched a a nationwide search for Walter Nadler, which led to contact with his son, Walter “Bud” Nadler who verified the story of his father’s lighter and D-Day experience.
The Walter Nadler lighter story is explored in detail, along with Zippo’s founding during the Great Depression and the company’s incredible success and growth during WWII, in the current issue of Western Pennsylvania History magazine. The article was written by Tim Ziaukas, Professor of Public Relations at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, who utilized never-before-shared interviews with Zippo owners Sarah Dorn and George Duke, the daughter and grandson of Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell.
“The story of Zippo Manufacturing Company is not only one of Pennsylvania’s great tales, it’s one of America’s,” Ziaukas said. “I’m happy to have been able to get a version of this important Bradford story on the record.”
The Spring 2015 articles will be available to read for free on the Heinz History Center’s website, heinzhistorycenter.org.
Pictured (top),Linda Meabon (left), Zippo Ambassador, and Shirley Evers, Zippo Historian, remove a WWII-era lighter with an intriguing history from display at the Zippo/Case Museum. The lighter, along with other artifacts from the museum, are on loan to the Smithsonian-affiliated Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.; the Walter Nadler lighter was engraved en route to the D-Day invasion in 1944. The lighter is on loan to the Smithsonian-affiliated Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh and was also featured in an article in the Western Pennsylvania History magazine; Case Cutlery has developed a near perfect re-creation of its original museum V-42 Stiletto, a fighting knife manufactured exclusively by Case during WWII and made famous by its use by the First Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade.
Photos courtesy of Zippo/Case