Uncle Ray, who smoked cigarettes, would light them with the shiny polished metal device that he called a lighter. Smaller than a pack of cigarettes, and with a similar shape, it had a hinge on one of its narrow sides. When he wanted to use it, he would flip the top open with a smart flick of his thumb. In the same motion he would rub his thumb along a small wheel, which twirled against a piece of flint. This would produce a spark that ignited a wick that was soaked with lighter fluid. After lighting his cigarette, he deftly closed the lighter and returned it to his pocket with the same hand that seemed to reverse the motion that produced it. Uncle Ray made the whole event of producing a flame and returning the lighter to his pocket, seem like an act of magic. Unless one was aware of the existence of the small case of metal, it appeared that flame sprang from his fingertips.
Seeing the almost magical way that Uncle Ray lit his cigarettes I asked my dad why he preferred matches. He told me that while serving in the US Navy in the Pacific theater during WWII, all the crew on his boat were issued gleaming new Zippo lighters. He stated that like most of his mates he could not wait to use it. After he obtained sufficient fuel all he had to do was wait until the smoking lamp was lit. This was a signal that it was clear to go out on deck and light up. It was against regulations and unsafe to have an open flame or anything that could cause a spark below decks. It was also not safe in a war zone to carry lights even as small as a cigarette or pipe after dark on deck. Dad told me that the first time he used his new lighter he promptly blew out the flame and like a spent match he tossed the used lighter overboard. I am not sure if this story was true, but might have been the excuse he used to not use a lighter. He did not like the smell of any oil or gas type fuels burning and referred to engine powered boats as stinkpots. Through out his life he continued to use matches to light not only his pipe or cigars, but he used them to ignite any type of flame, burner or fire.