I won a vintage Rope Lighter, mfg in Michigan back in the day, at the popular auction site today, item #230148891669. I'll post some pics when it gets here. UPDATE: pics at post #20
Here is a link to a new Rope Lighter offered by a Japanese vendor:
It works by shooting sparks into a cotton rope. The sparks create an ember. Blow on the ember to create a flame. No lighter fluid used.
Definitely old school.
IMCO created the fueled lighter during WWI (IMCO still produces new lighters using flint, fluid and wick). When did the rope lighters come on the scene? I wonder how old they are.