By SANDRA RHODES
Odds are 4 to 1 that this year’s Derby Gala Zippo lighter auction item is going to be a big hit.
The reason behind this is that the auction item will not be just one lighter, but four lighters, fit together like a puzzle, and sold as a set. This yearly auction items is donated to the cause by Zippo Manufacturing Co.
Bids are now being accepted for the item and will continue until the live auction at the Derby Gala, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Pennhills Club. Proceeds from the annual Derby Gala benefit the Endowment Fund of the Bradford Area Public Library. This is the fifth piece the Bradford-based company has offered for auction to support the growth of the Endowment Fund.
“I cannot express how thrilled we are that Zippo has donated this set, which not only brings the best of Zippo to the forefront, but also brings attention to the library, which offers so much for our community,” said Karen Pecht, co-chairwoman of the Gala.
To say that the Zippo team is excited with this new creation is an understatement. This set is a melding of the past and the present with a hint of the future.
The past is represented by the puzzle pieces – 1935 replica models. The present is represented by the techniques employed to create this masterpiece. The future is what Zippo will do with these techniques.
“The artwork applied is captured on four lighters set up in square, which unique to Zippo and to the market,” said Rita Walters, Zippo Design Center Director. She added there is filigree around the edges of the lighters, which have been done before, but not around the edges of the lighters.
Projects like this one that invigorates both the designers and engineers at Zippo.
“This is a kind of project we call ‘no boundaries,’” Walters said. “We let our designers to think outside the box and do something not done before. They consistently delight all of us and the market by coming up with their ideas, creativities and passion and that is why we are successful as we are today.”
The 1935 Replica lighter, with its square shape and hinge on the outside, was used so the pieces fit together easily. The image of a horse race is spread across all four lighters and exhibits the depth of an oil painting. Words associated with horse racing are laser engraved on the back.
“The picture was blown up across all four lighters, which is very out of the box for us,” Walters said, adding that Zippo’s “canvas” is usually just one lighter – here, they enlarged the canvas to four lighters.
Currently, Zippo, which has been in business for 80 years, has never offered any type of powder coat over any high polish models, making this collection a first of its kind. The front of the lighter is a color image detailed by the artistic ability of Zippo’s visionary graphic artist, while the reverse is laser engraved with pristine clarity. The translucent ‘toffee’ powder coat has been removed with a laser process to reveal the sides and top of the lighter to amplify the signature derby roses.
A unique picture frame package with a transparent film protection will display the front, reverse, and sides of the entire Zippo lighter puzzle collection. The box will be adorned with an engraved brass plate displaying the Derby logo and filigree.
Included will be an autographed picture of George Duke, chairman of the board of directors and owner of Zippo Manufacturing Co.
“Our engineers perfect the imprinting processes that allow our designers to catapult into the future with their ideas,” Walters said. “So working hand-in-hand, designers and engineering specialists (at Zippo) delight all markets with contemporary futuristic and vintage design.”
The techniques shown here will ultimately “spin into the future” with products down the road.
“Their creative efforts have taken the company to where it is today, in my mind they are an outstanding design tem, so grateful to have this team on board,” Walters said.
Officials at Zippo are honored to offer this one of a kind gift for the benefit of the BAPL, because it is their belief that everyone should support their public library, and they are hopeful it will bring the support needed to help secure the future of the Bradford Area Public Library.
Another math problem – price of a ticket to the Derby Gala is $50; the price of using the Bradford Area Public Library – free; taking home this one-of-a-kind piece from Zippo? Priceless.
But you don’t have to be present to bid on the set.
Online bids can be made by e-mailing Ron Orris, director of the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bids will be accepted until 12:01 a.m. May 5. Then, during the bidding at the Gala, bids will be taken over the phone. Those interested can contact Orris for more information.
“This is truly a priceless work of art that celebrates not only Zippo, but the Gala and the library,” Pecht said. “We are very hopeful there will be plenty of interest in this beautiful piece of art.”