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Thread: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* abvidledUK's Avatar
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    Default Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Anyone know ?

    PS: Here in the UK we all know it's actually called a Torch !!
    Batteries, batteries, I need more batteries ........

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* JonSidneyB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    It goes back to the first lights of its type was created in the USA.
    The carbon cell batteries could only generate light for short periods of time.
    It was only good for short flashes.

    We retain the right to name it since it was invented here.

    We tend to think of a torch as something that has flames.
    Last edited by JonSidneyB; 02-24-2006 at 11:57 AM.
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    Flashaholic* ABTOMAT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    In the UK, if the villagers are going after Frankenstein's monster with pitchforks and torches, are they carrying Mag-Lites?
    Do something alone and it's weird, do it with others and it's a club.

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    Flashaholic* Nyctophiliac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ABTOMAT
    In the UK, if the villagers are going after Frankenstein's monster with pitchforks and torches, are they carrying Mag-Lites?
    Villagers in the UK are much too apathetic to chase after anything at all!
    Nice thought though.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Flashlight: Amer.Eng. for "electric torch," is from 1919.
    Online Etymology Dictionary
    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here.. This is the war room!!

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    Flashaholic* Cliffnopus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyctophiliac
    Villagers in the UK are much too apathetic to chase after anything at all!
    Nice thought though.
    And if it's France, they just accept them and put them on the dole.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats!
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    *Flashaholic* Size15's's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    I thought they were called flashlights because they could be flashed off.

    Unlike today when flashlights can be flashed on the 'technology' breakthrough was to be able to flash the light by switching it off.


    Why do we call them "torches"?
    I guess we never got round to working out how to flash them...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    I saw a show on the History Channel that talked about flashlights. The first battery lights that were used tended be of, shall we say, poor quality. The lights did not always work properly and tended to go on and off because of poor contacts. This caused the lights to flash on occasion. Some poor sap started calling the light a flashlight because of the flickering. The name stuck.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* zespectre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Why is a flashlight called a flashlight? See here

    A combination of poor battery performance, primative bulbs, and momentary only switches. The light was "flashed" on briefly and then turned back off.
    "Notorious collector of things that glow, shine, or blink"
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  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Cliffnopus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    My God, a flashlight historian. I never knew there was such a thing.

    Cliff
    Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats!
    H.L.Mencken (1880-1956)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ABTOMAT
    In the UK, if the villagers are going after Frankenstein's monster with pitchforks and torches, are they carrying Mag-Lites?
    I can see the thread now.. "Best flashlight for hunting mad scientist's creations?"

  12. #12
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Well,in Japan,flashlight is called "Kaichuu-dentou" .It means "Inner-breast-pocket light" , although these were too big to be put in an inner breast pocket in the old days

    Inner brest pocket was a metaphor as "small enough",I guess.

    What is metaphorically expressed by "flash" in English?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Frankenstein is in the UK? I thought he was in Orlando....

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Bob_G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Don't know if Stuart Schneider's site is well know here, but it should be According to him, Jon is correct. Look around, you may be surprised by some of what you see.
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    God breathes through the scuttling cockroach
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    Flashaholic iamerror's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    So we have to origin of the term flashlight... but what actually defines a flashlight? Size, function, form? Are keychain lights like the Photon called a flashlight or called a keychain light? Is a 6D Maglite too big to be a flashlight? What about a Arc AAA? Where is the boundary?

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Is that person a regular CPF member? He would be a great addition to a great forum. Found his Email "stuart at wordcraft.net" just replace the at for @

    AlexGT

    Quote Originally Posted by zespectre
    Why is a flashlight called a flashlight? See here

    A combination of poor battery performance, primative bulbs, and momentary only switches. The light was "flashed" on briefly and then turned back off.

  17. #17
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    FLASHLIGHT (flash'lit) n. A container used for storing dead batteries.

  18. #18
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Interesting site, except for the disinformation that should not be propagated.......
    Volta had an electric pile (battery) going around 1800 ... who knows who else might have been playing with them. (Where do you think volts and piles (pila) come from?)
    And, Edison most certainly did not invent the incandescent lightbulb.....
    I quit reading after that .... though some neat pic's.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* JonSidneyB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    I have met him, Roth and I went to a flashlight collectors event that he hosted in Minnesota.

    We had a table there with lights on it.
    The Creator of the protected RCR123

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* abvidledUK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by abvidledUK
    Anyone know ?

    PS: Here in the UK we all know it's actually called a Torch !!
    To answer my own question:

    Found this on the Energizer FAQ site..... http://www.energizer.com/products/faq.asp?q=42#42


    How did the flashlight get its name?
    When the flashlight was first invented, battery power was still in its infancy and there wasn't a source strong enough to power the flashlight for a long period of time. Users pushed a button to literally “flash light” on the path in front of them, shining the light for just a moment. Hence, we have the name we use today—flashlight.
    Batteries, batteries, I need more batteries ........

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* JonSidneyB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    I thought I said that.
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  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Indeed you did!
    LUX'Ottica

  23. #23
    Flashaholic ackbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Because M12-LRV is too hard to say in conversation, son. :P

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Ineresting article

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* abvidledUK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonSidneyB
    I thought I said that.
    Confirmation from two respected sources.
    Batteries, batteries, I need more batteries ........

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by abvidledUK
    To answer my own question:

    Found this on the Energizer FAQ site..... http://www.energizer.com/products/faq.asp?q=42#42


    How did the flashlight get its name?
    When the flashlight was first invented, battery power was still in its infancy and there wasn't a source strong enough to power the flashlight for a long period of time. Users pushed a button to literally “flash light” on the path in front of them, shining the light for just a moment. Hence, we have the name we use today—flashlight.
    That answered the question for 'flashlight', so why did we call it a 'torch light' again....?
    I know Chinese called it a 'Electrical tube'.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic* abvidledUK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit
    That answered the question for 'flashlight', so why did we call it a 'torch light' again....?
    Presumably from the old meaning of torch, ie illumination provided by means of a lit, hand carried fire, rags, fat, oil etc soiled rag.

    Lit being an operative word, as it also lights the way.

    My guess anyway.

    Now then...Luxeon...presumably comes from Lux

    So what about Lumens having a derivative..Lumenon ?

    (No not Lumenol)
    Batteries, batteries, I need more batteries ........

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Rolleye11 Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    I think it's Hi-time we re-name it !

    Why should it still be referred to for what it once did so briefly - "flash-light". (ie: brief flashes of light)

    Advancements have now made it a - "light-flasher". (ie: light flashable long time and long distances)

    Why not - many other things were referred to differently after they were invented and then advanced.

    The "ice-box" initially kept our foods cold but now we use a "refrigerator" due to advancement and the invention of refrigerant gas .

    We don't get X-rays any more. What we get serves the same purpose but it's got a new fancy name because of advancements .

    So we went from "lightning-bugs in a glass jar" to "fire on a stick" to "flaming soaked wrags on a wooden torch" to "electrons heating tungsten to flash-light" and finally to "L.E.D.'s emitting tiny nuclear explosions of light photons" ..........so now we gotta have a fancy new name to call this advancement of humanity.

    It's not "just" a flashlight anymore - It's gone way beyond that. It's like something that came thru the "STARGATE" from a higher intelligence !

    We just gotta re-name it for the *21st Century* generation of youngsters .


    Who's got the first suggestion to start the list ?

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  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* JonSidneyB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    and what of all the other dated terms in the American English Language and the no longer Original English of the UK.
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  30. #30
    Flashaholic* SolarFlare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is a flashlight called a flashlight ?

    English is English not the language of the UK, you might annoy the celts, Wales, Scotland and Ireland have their own languages, I have no idea what they call a torch though

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