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I recently acquired a pair of these distinctively slender Franex 50s in their original boxes from a friend selling off his personal collection as he prepares to move overseas. I'm keeping one for myself, of course, and am offing its mate here to help out my friend. He was unable to give me much information about this Franex. The lighter itself is not marked with any patent info or other useful identification, just the name "FRANEX 50" on the front of its original box and on the base of the lighter (see photo #5). Made from brass with gold-toned plating, the Franex 50 is quite tall and ultra slender (4-3/4" H x 3/4" W x 1/2" D). The elegance of this long narrow design and warm gold tone gives me the impression it may French or manufactured in Japan for the French market. It was most like made in the 1960s or early 1970s. I assume this Franex is considered a pocket lighter, though it's too tall to comfortably slide into the front pocket of a pair of jeans. I was likely designed as and elegant fashion accessory intended to be slipped into a evening bag or inside jacket pocket. Emulating a classic 1930s lift arm design, raise its arm to open the gas valve then strike the vertically mounted spark wheel to ignite. To extinguish the flame, just close the arm with a simple flick of the thumb. The flint chamber is accessed by removing the screw at the end of the file wheel arm; the butane input valve is accessed from the base.

I've done no repairs or restoration on this piece. It is being sold "as is", in the same condition as received from my friend. My buddy used this as an in-box display piece (along with matching piece I'm keeping for myself). He never carried this piece on his person and it looks to have only been slightly used. Some of the un-plated brass has patinated (the butane output valve, base of the lift arm, and input value on the base). I have test filled this piece to ensure it is working and check it for gas leaks. It seems to hold a charge fine, no tell-tale signs of leaks. It lights easily, though it seems an impractical every day lighter. The flame adjustment thumb wheel is very sensitive; a half turn transforms this lovely lighter into a torch. I did notice the flame level fluctuate a bit while I was shooting photo #4. After adding gas, I opened the gas valve and adjusted the flame to the level you see by eye. During the minute or it took for me to shoot the photo, the flame spiked up another inches or so -- almost like a hiccup. I'm guessing this is no big deal as most folks would have no need to keep it lit for such an extend period of time, but am trying to be as forth coming as possible about this piece. This Franex 50 is a beautiful, distinctively elegant, highly collectible piece. Just be aware, vintage butane lighters can be a little temperamental. It will be shipped with a new Zippo flint and without gas. (If you plan to only display this lighter, please remove the flint so it does not deteriorate and become impacted over time.) I've provided high quality photos to offer the best preview of this hard-to-find lighter. Please take a look and feel free to ask any questions.

Shipping cost is for delivery in a USPS Small-Size Priority Mail box. FREE SHIPPING if you order more than one item (U.S. customers only) and free local pick-up from my shop on Antique Row in Baltimore. Non-US customers, please contact me for shipping options/costs not listed below. Thanks for looking and please check out other items in my shop.

Working Franex 50 Ultra Slender Butane Lift Arm Lighter in Original Box

Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1960s
  • Materials: copper, chrome, butane
  • Feedback: 538 reviews
  • Ships from Maryland, United States to select countries.
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