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In several movies there's a repeated scene. Someone wants to start a huge fire, or burn something, or make stuff explode. So they spread some kind of fuel around and then they light it up.

When was this done for the first time?

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Not perhaps a direct answer. But since the use of zippo lighters are the most common treat it deserves a detailed comment. They began production after the 1950s/60s. So likely the use in movies should be from that period and ofrward. As the brand site states:

The launch of the Slim model in 1956 was a major milestone. [...] items have been added and deleted from the Zippo line since the 1960s. Many were primarily geared to the promotional products division. [...] Perhaps one of the biggest influences on collecting is Zippo’s ties to Hollywood and Broadway. The Zippo lighter has been featured in more than 1,500 movies, stage plays and television shows over the years. Zippo lighters have “starred” in such diverse productions as “I Love Lucy” “The X-Men” and “Hairspray – the Musical.” Often the lighter is a key prop, used as a device to move the plot forward or to reflect the personality of a character or time period being depicted.

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