This device at Smith’s Tavern is the patent model of a large wooden table cigar lighter. It is composed of a tall and short wooden box to which is attached to a metal tube on the former and a fuel reservoir with a rectangular tube with a cotton wick inside and a “T” handle near the top. The two metal appendages are connected by a one-sided hinge that when together are sealed.
Table lighters are the stationary form of cigarette and cigar lighters, primarily designed to be displayed in the home or in public establishments like hotels, restaurants, and bars. Most table lighters were made in fine metals like silver, brass, copper, or gold, and ignited with Naptha lighter fluid.
The patent model is actually of the Eldred Wireless No. 12 jump spark countertop cigar lighter, circa 1912. The device worked by creating a spark by electric arc from the base to the handle, which was a tube containing the wick from the fuel reservoir. There was internal wiring inside the boxes that created the electric arc. The final production model metal parts were all brass.
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