GUTHRIE - A Guthrie man has collected over 30,000 lighters for his lighter museum.

Lighters have been Ted Ballard's passion for a long time. "I started when I was about 6 years old," Ballard said.

At the time, Ballard didn't realize that he was laying the groundwork for what would become the National Lighter Museum.

"It's almost unbelievable what's out there," Ballard said. "That's what makes lighter collecting so much fun and so educational."

Salesmen and companies took advantage of the lighter for its advertising abilities before the invention of the television commercial. Ballard explains that every major oil company, every president, every movie star gave away lighters to his friends for Christmas or for hard work.

The National Lighter Museum houses 25,000 to 30,000 lighters and lighter accessories.

Ted said each piece in the collection has its own story.  

 "Oh absolutely, yeah! I remember every lighter, where I got it, who gave it to me," Ballard said.

The lighter museum only opens for private showings. Ballard is focusing his energy into selling the museum. There is one catch; he will not sell the collection by individual pieces. Ted is going to continue adding to his collection until the museum is sold.