Alfred Dunhill Ltd. was established in 1893 by the 21 year old Alfred Dunhill after he inherited his father's saddlery business, located at London's Euston Road. Dunhill developed a line of automobile accessories called "Dunhill's Motorities". These products included lamps, car horns, leather overcoats, picnic sets, and goggles, which provided the company with the strap line of "Everything But The Motor". Within a couple of years, the business moved towards the luxury market with the opening of two Dunhill Motorities stores in Mayfair. In 1904, Dunhill introduced their ‘Windshield Pipe’, to help drivers combat the effect of wind and travel on their ability to smoke. This marked both the end of the ‘motorities’ focus and their entry into the world of smoking ephemera, and in 1907 they opened their first tobacco shop on Duke Street. The proximity to several esteemed Private Members Clubs around the Mayfair, St James’ area ensured that the venture was a success.
Dunhill is a pioneering name in lighters. Right from the very first model in 1923, confidently named Unique, Dunhill has been a lighter name synonymous with innovation, quality and reliability. The prototype Unique was mounted on a Colman's mustard tin. Two strong Dunhill characteristics in those days were one-hand operation and first-time lighting, both certainly unique at the time. All models in the 1920s had single wheel action. Highlight of the early years was another Dunhill break-through: a double wheel to reduce the effort needed to make a spark. In mid 30s came the Tallboy, the first lighter to have the mechanism concealed. Improved flint action meant less adjustment towards the end of the flint life.
Variation on the Unique theme, the Slim and Sylph, the Rollalite, London Rollalite and a revised Broadway all appeared in the 1950s and all incorporated the new, easy-on-the-thumb roller. In the mid-50s, Dunhill produced one of the first butane gas lighters. This design has remained relatively unchanged since and was regularly used by James Bond in both print and on the screen. The first butane table lighter (Tallboy) was marketed in 1965.
Extensive development of the Rollagas has taken place and a generous choice of engine turnings and lacquered finishes made available. New models for the 1970s include the D70, Dress and the Ultimate"S" lighter, the Wheatsheaf table model and Rulerlite and Longboy desk models.
What's your Vintage Dunhill lighters worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.
|9kt Solid Gold Dunhill Lighter London||11/2021||$2643|
|Rare 1936 Dunhill Handy Solid 14kt||12/2021||$2200|
|Dunhill Lighter Sterling Silver Art Deco||11/2021||$1500|
|Dunhill Rollalite Wick Petrol Lighter||12/2021||$900|
|1960s Dunhill 14K Gold Jacket Rollagas||11/2021||$800|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||01/2022||-.--|