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M. Dupont would be delighted: After 75 years, his lighters are getting some nifty new technology


I WAS RECENTLY invited to a 75th birthday party: an evening celebrating the French accessories brand S.T. Dupont—in particular, the Dupont lighter, which was first produced in 1941, during the German occupation of France. Among the artifacts on show were the first le briquet Dupont, a discrete little ingot of white metal, the lightness of which testified to its manufacture during a time of acute shortages.

Yet like many French luxury marques, Dupont has its roots in the glorious period of consumption that defined the Second Republic under Napoleon III. In 1865, Simon Tissot Dupont left his native Savoie to work for his uncle, a photographer in Paris. He became official court photographer to Napoleon III, but his job ended when the Prussians captured the French emperor in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and France once more became a republic. Dupont returned to Savoie but missed the excitement of Paris. A couple of years later, he returned, investing first in a coach builder, whose premises burned down, then a champagne house that fizzled out. Having tried photography, transport and sparkling wine, he eventually succeeded as a maker of leather goods, pens and luggage. In due course, he passed the business on to his sons, who, in addition to the Paris workshops, opened a site back in Savoie.

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STATE OF RESISTANCE California is preparing to lead a national revolt against Donald Trump, fighting him on climate change, trade and that ridiculous wall. Gird your loins and pass the sunscreen.