Alfred Dunhill ‘Aquarium’ lighter, 1950s
Price Code: £££
An ‘Aquarium’ table lighter in ‘Half-Giant’ or table size, with silver-plated hardware, with green, blue and lilac panels, with three white and red fish on one side and one purple/pink fish on the opposite side. The colours are bright and the panels are crisp and clear with lots of detail in the rocks, and reeds on all sides. English, circa 1950. This lighter is fully operational with cotton wick, wadding and flint fitted.
Length: 4 inches (10 cm).
A bespoke Dunhill presentation case can be made for this lighter, please contact us for additional information and prices.
The ‘Aquarium’ lighters were all designed and hand-made between 1950 and 1959, by Ben Shillingford (1904-2000) whose unique skills in designing, carving and hand-painting the Perspex panels could never be equalled. Upon his retirement, the skills necessary to continue to manufacture the ‘Aquarium’ lighter could not be found, and production ceased.
No two ‘Aquarium’ lighters are the same – each is, in its way, a unique work of art. The vast majority, logically, depict aquatic scenes, of either sea-water or fresh-water fish (but never both). A very small number of lighters depict non-aquatic scenes – hunting, horse-racing and aviary subjects in particular.
The ‘Aquarium’ lighter was made in two sizes, the ‘Half-Giant’ and the smaller (and somewhat rarer) ‘Service’ size. They were available in three metal finishes, namely gold-plated, silver-plated and chromium-plated, and all were, of course, fuelled with petrol rather than butane, which came into common usage in the 1960s.
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