While many cars today are phasing out the cigarette lighter (if they do have them they no longer include the lighter, just the socket), I was curious which car or car manufacturer was the first to include a cigarette lighter.

The wiki doesn't contain very much information and the inventor's German wiki never says that he invented the cigarette lighter. I found an interesting conversation on reddit but unfortunately it doesn't answer my question.

Anyone have any ideas?

  • 2
    Do you want to know the first car that had one fitted (at some point) or the first car that was manufactured with one as a standard option? Nov 1, 2016 at 15:02
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    @KillingTime Good question. I would prefer the first car that was manufactured with one as a standard option. It seems like it would be hard to ascertain, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the first car that had one fitted. I would assume the inventor would've had one fitted but I haven't found reliable information on the inventor.
    – otteheng
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:26
  • I could find multiple references to the first US cars being equipped with cigarette lighters appearing around 1925, but no specific brands or types. European car manufacturers were later than this.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 3, 2016 at 10:33
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    There is a reference to Lincoln cars having cigarette lighters, seemingly as a standard option based on the context, in 1922 when Lincoln was bought by Ford. Nov 17, 2016 at 20:51
  • 2
    Is this question about the presence of a cigarette lighter per se, or the standardized electrical socket? May 30, 2018 at 0:33

2 Answers 2


Absent further clarification in the question, we might first have to differentiate between: 1. the first car with an electric lighter ("installed/wired in"?), 2. with such a lighter as standard equipment, 3. with a lighter executed as a "receptacle", 4. with a lighter receptacle standardised?

The cases 1 and 2 might result completely different results than 3 and 4. The earliest electric lighters were usually on a cord, bringing the heater element in direct contact with the to be lit material while still being connected to power. Cases 3 and 4 made power and heating element detachable so that the actual lighter was then realised as a plug that became standardised in the 50s and is now the "receptacle" that is said to be on the way of being phased out.

One stationary example with a non-detachable cord from the 20s:

enter image description here
via ebay-auction

According to the article Zigarettenanzünder: Geschichte und Funktionsweise,

Erst in den 1920er Jahren setzte sich die Bezeichnung „Zigarettenanzünder“ durch – mit zunehmender Modernität der Zigarette. Etwa zu dieser Zeit wurden auch die ersten Fahrzeuge mit dieser Funktion ausgestattet – zunächst in den USA.

Translation: It was only in the 1920s that the term "cigarette lighter" prevailed - with the cigarette becoming more modern. Around this time, the first vehicles were equipped with this feature - initially in the US.

Given the above, it would seem very likely that the first car 'to come with a cigarette lighter' was the Lincoln L model in 1920 (as mentioned by called2voyage in the comment above):

The Lincoln L model was introduced in 1920 and was powered by a 357.8 cubic-inch V8 engine producing 90 horsepower, riding on a 130 inch wheelbase and weighing in at 2490 pounds. It was priced at $4,300. The large body built by Murray features unique features such as a 'fat man' steering wheel that folds out of the way for ease of entry and a cigar lighter that extends from a reel to reach throughout the interior.

The phrase "extends from reel to reach throughout the interior" would make that car fall into the category of1 and 2, not of the recepetacle/plug type.

There is also a reference in Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile to 'cigar lighter' in the 1922 Lincoln L sedan.

enter image description here

According to a link provided by LangLangC,

Zuvor waren laut der Zeitschrift „Oldtimer Markt“ aber bereits Nachrüstlösungen verfügbar. Bereits seit 1907 bot AEG etwa ein Gerät mit einem Platinglühdraht an, der sich auf Knopfdruck erhitzte.

Translation: …retrofit solutions were already available, according to the magazine "Oldtimer Markt". Already since 1907, AEG offered a device with a platinum glow wire, which heated itself at the push of a button.

This, though, was an 'optional extra' rather than a feature. This article also says a 1924 Cadillac had the first cigar lighter, but it seems the writer missed the Lincoln L (for which there are two sources).

So this leaves a bit room for confusion over terms. ––– According to Jason Torchinsky: "A Tribute To The Cigarette Lighter Plug, The Original Car Hack"

Early ones had a heating element connected by an extendible cord, but these were ungainly and awkward — getting the cord reeled back in couldn't have always been easy. Getting rid of that cord was key, and the earliest patent I found that seems to have achieved this design was filed on October 2, 1919 — the birthday of both my sister and Mahatma Ghandi.

  • Hm, indirect reasoning +Zigarettenanzünder given as introed in 1925 (without ref, read the talk page!). May 29, 2018 at 23:36
  • Compare 90 Jahre Zigarettenanzünder im Auto (2014) May 29, 2018 at 23:47
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    A 5.8 liter engine producing all of 90 horsepower. Wow.
    – Jon Custer
    May 30, 2018 at 0:07
  • @LangLangC I made this a community wiki so feel free to add (or just post in comments and I'll add). May 30, 2018 at 9:22
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    I found the replacement part looking for 22, but the seller has a DB that says that it is compatible with 21 also, but not 20. – Still confused about the "reel" part in the answer and still no luck looking for other details on other makers. As most seem to be interested in exterior and engines, Google has my cookie now associated into the freak department: looking at interior and smoking devices ;) Jun 2, 2018 at 13:38

My maternal grandfather (Charlie Parker) was head of the electrical department at Studebakers. My mother claimed the push in pop out lighter was his design. He was a clever guy. The company may hold the patent but he didn’t get the credit. If it’s true the first car with one may be a Studebaker.

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    – Community Bot
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  • When did he work there? Feb 16, 2022 at 19:18

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