IMCO is the second oldest operational lighter manufacturer in the world, second only to Ronson in the USA. In 1907 Vienna, Julius Meister founded the Austrian button and hardware factory Julius Meister & Co. “IMCO” was created from these initials. The factory initially mainly produced buttons for the military. After WW I, there was no longer a demand for these and so, from 1918 onwards, IMCO switched to the production of cigarette lighters. In the early days, these were made of empty cartridge cases. The shape of the cartridges could still be seen in the forms of the early IMCO lighters. The first IMCO lighter was developed between 1918 and 1919 and in 1922 the first patent was registered, No. 89538. Since then, around 70 different lighters have been developed and sold worldwide. The Austrian lighter industry entered the 20th century as market leader, for the flint lighter (“Auermet”) was also created by the Austrian Auer von Welsbach. Among the enormous number of firms operating today, there are sadly now only two providing Austrian quality in the sector.
The most famous IMCO lighter is the petrol lighter TRIPLEX Super. This product was developed as early as 1936, underwent technical improvements in the 50s and is still being produced today in the same design. The mid-50s saw the extension of the petrol lighter range with the models Junior and Streamline. The legendary and classic design combined with 100% reliability has made these three lighters an international success. In the 60s, the advent of friction and piezoelectric lighters with gas led IMCO to move production from Vienna to Tribuswinkel near Baden. IMCO made a particular name for itself in the production of tilted flame lighters for pipe smokers. In recent years, another successful range has been developed with high quality and unusual designer lighters and stick lighters.
IMCO has produced and sold - worldwide - over half a billion lighters to date. The IMCO brand stands for superb quality in the middle-of-the-range market. All lighters meet all ISO 9994 standards and are classified as "semi-luxury". This means that, according to European regulations, no child-proofing is required. IMCO has been owned by the Haas Family since 1988. Today, IMCO is solely responsible for selling and marketing lighters and gas lighters developed and produced by IMCO together with its affiliated company, MKE in Heidenreichstein. The IFA lighter (“IMCO Feuerzeuge [Lighters] Austria”) was one of the first products in IMCO's lighter range. It was produced and exported in huge numbers in the 1920s. The beginnings, namely production using brass cartridge cases, are still clearly visible. Nevertheless, patented wind protection and integrated cover meant that even this early model was extremely reliable and this laid the foundations for the company's later success.