Rare 1960's Dupont Hermès special edition silver plated Ligne 1 gas lighter with engraved ‘wave' decoration.
Each Dupont has a serial number unique to that particular lighter. This example is marked on the base, ’S.T Dupont - Hermès - Paris' - with serial no. 5231BN and Dupont maker's mark. In good condition, serviced and in full working order.
The colour of the Dupont gas refill required to refuel the lighter is painted red, green, blue or yellow (or left gold). Revealed on removal of the lighter’s refuelling cap in the base of the lighter.
Dimensions: 5.8 cm/2¼ inches tall X 3.4 cm/1⅜ inches wide X 1.4 cm/½ inch thick.
S.T. Dupont, founded by Simon Tissot Dupont, began life as a Parisian leatherwork shop on Rue Dieu in 1872.
Quickly becoming a cultured choice for Europe’s well-heeled, Dupont luggage was packed into steamships and train cabins alongside the great Maisons of Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat and Au Départ. Customers included Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, who had earlier appointed young Louis Vuitton as her personal layetier in the 1850s.
Simon’s sons, Lucien & André-Tissot, took over in 1919 and set about innovating their father’s product range. In 1929, Lucien was invited to New York by Louis Cartier to present his travel cases in their 5th Avenue shop.
On the ship going to New York, he learned about the Wall Street crash, and on his subsequent return to Paris he decided to move even further upmarket and cater to clients unaffected by the economic downturn.
In 1935, the brothers were searching for a craftsman to work on gold plating. However, a typing error appeared in the advertisement and the word “Plaqueur” got transformed into “Laqueur”. They hired Georges Novossiltzeff, a master Lacquerer who had learnt his craft in the workshop of Jean Dunand, and became the first luxury Maison to master the Asian lacquer technique on metal.
In 1941, they produced the first luxury petrol lighter. The Maharajah of Patiala immediately ordered one hundred Chinese lacquer minaudière clutch bags for his consorts, with each containing a solid gold lighter, and the workshop spent three years completing the fabulous order.
The first off-the-shelf range of Dupont lighters was also produced in 1941 but were made from aluminium, due to restrictions on brass for the purposes of weapon manufacture during World War II.
Every single Dupont lighter required six hundred operations, three hundred tests, seventy pieces and over one hundred hours of work. The manufacturing process lasts for around four to five months in general, with every article unique because the worker who assembles the lighter engraves his initials under the striker wheel.
The gas version of the Ligne 1 was made available in 1952 and featured an adjustable flame. Production of this model lasted until 2013 when it was discontinued. The Ligne 1 was available in two sizes, a large (58mm tall) and small (47mm tall) model.