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USS Thresher SS(N) 593 Howard Brand Lighter

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After making the rounds of the listed yard sales yesterday in my local area I noticed an older gentleman putting up a small sign on a telephone phone at the end of a street for a garage sale so I drove up the street only to realize that I had been there before a previous year and found little to buy. Nevertheless I stopped and walked up the driveway to find a few small tables of items and no obvious military. As I stood there speaking with the homeowner I noticed a lighter on one of the tables that was face down and picked it up expecting it to be a modern zippo or other brand lighter worth little or nothing. To my surprise I noticed an enamel plate mounted to the front with the name "USS Thresher" over a shark. Turning it over I saw that it said USS Thresher SS(N) 593 engraved to the reverse and that is a Howard brand lighter made in Japan.


Everyone here in NH is familiar with the story of the Thresher as it was a Portsmouth built ship lost at sea during it's trials with all hands. Included in that crew was a man from the town where I found this lighter and it's likely it was given to someone as a gift by him. A search on line turned up a similar appearing lighter with the same raised panel from a Museum in FL where it was donated by a crew member who was on another ship the day she went down. Also found were reproduction versions made with a similar logo etched into the metal but this one appears to be original. it's hard to believe that this lighter exists and that I found it at a yard sale but that's why we all hunt for that elusive find day in and day out. I am not selling this nor am I donating it so please don't even ask but I would be interested in if anyone can confirm if this is original and correct for one that would have been available when the ship was being built.











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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Recently I found this Launching Postal Cover for the USS Thresher SS(N)-593 and am adding it to the Lighter in my collection. Thought I would add it to this post as well.



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Nice finds.There are authentic Thresher items out there,certainly not abundant,but they're there.


I happened upon a few items and posted them here some time back:





Some others added items they had too.


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I was a kid when it went down but I remember my dad, who was a navy man, glued to the tv watching it on the news. It was a very sad event.


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  • 4 weeks later...

As a former submariner something like this would be the highlight of my collection. We often discussed the loss of the Thresher and the lessons that were learned as a result. The SUBSAFE program was a direct result and something that we lived with every single day. I look at it as a token of their legacy that future submarines were subject to higher levels of scrutiny when it came to design, safety, and maintenance. They are lost but definitely not forgotten... at least in the submarine community.


As a side note, we tolled the bell for the Thresher at my last SubVets meeting. Rest your oars... we have the watch.

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  • 5 years later...

this is probably a long dead post but in case anyone is still around here's my story.


Found an old lighter sticking out of the ground while walking my dog a few years ago, it looked like a zippo so kept it in a drawer and forgot about it til we moved recently and while going through a box while watching TV I found it and put it on my desk to fill with fluid and use. I noticed marking on the back said uss thresher ss(n)593, the name Howard on the bottom and what looked like enamaled badge with a shark that said VIA TACITA underneath. literally moments later I heard on the TV the same name that was on the lighter, it was a documentary about the sub sinking and the big deal it was. so I started looking up this lighter online frantically because at the time I had a crazy idea that it was recovered from the submarine or something (I would imagine the pressure would have turned it into something resembling a ball of crumpled up aluminum foil) I found some museum that had the exact one on display. I emailed the director of st. Mary's submarine museum but hasn't returned my message. I found this site as well as a sketchy auction site that wouldn't give u any info about it unless you paid for membership. didn't really find much else about it and definitely wasn't able to find any like it actively for sale. 

if anyone has any info about these 4 lighter it would be greatly appreciated. 





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I was a teenager when the Thresher sank. I remember it was a gut wrenching thing. Everyone was hoping somehow there would be a happy ending but it was not to be. Just very sad. Then, of course, JFK was killed later that same year.  Interesting item though.

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