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Thread: The 2BF Bedside Torch

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default The 2BF Bedside Torch

    The "BF" cell was a short "B" cell, 13/16" diameter x 1 7/16" high.
    Sold by Eveready Australia as the 927 until the mid-1970s.
    Packaged in a 2-cell battery as the No.8 by Eveready UK until about the year 2000. Varta made a version of the No.8 in Germany and there was also a French make; these all stopped around 2000.


    Behold, the glory of the 2BF!

    Left-Right:
    My late father's old fisheye, circa late 1930s
    My childhood Hong Kong Eveready "Bijou" with PR globe (actually, one similar. Mine had a flared nylon bezel and a matching plastic tailcap. This is the later, "Bijou" model with metal tailcap.)
    One-piece Hong Kong "VK E110"
    Modern Fisheye (no-name Hong Kong brand)
    Franken-Fisheye, assembled from parts of four different donors!


    Here they all look dim and yellow, that's because they are competing with the camera flash. In real life, I had to take this photo with my eyes shut.

    Size Comparison:

    Showing a Surefire 6P for size reference. And on the far left is a cardboard Eveready 2xC fisheye torch, circa 1914.

    Now to describe the batteries, and put them in context:

    From left - right:
    C cell
    Sub-C cell (flat-top)
    pair of BF cells (Eveready 927)
    16340 (aka "RCR123", unprotected)
    CR123A
    2/3 A cell (flat-top)

    And again:

    From left-right:
    Varta and English Eveready No.8 batteries (2xBF unit cell)
    pair of BF cells (Eveready 927)
    B cell (taken from a dead Eveready 703)
    Protected 18500 lithium
    A cell (tabbed NiCad)
    AA cell

    A D cell is behind the B cell for height comparison.

    Eveready came out with "Heavy Duty" cells in the 1960s (the 915, 935 and 950 acquired 1015, 1035 and 1050 "Red" counterparts), and in the early 1980s came out with "Super Heavy Duty" (Zinc Chloride, the 1215, 1235 and 1250 "Black" cells). And then, of course, there were Nicads and alkalines, for a price.

    But, oddly enough, there were none of these ever made available in the BF size. If you wanted a pair of BF cells to power your Bijou, the Eveready 927 was all there was. Resolutely "Standard Duty" (or "General Purpose") level performance was all there was on offer. In my childhood, Eveready Standard Duty cells had Silver wrappers, and nowadays are Blue. The ones in the photos had white wrappers - this is before my time.

    But that was in Australia. In the UK, France and Germany, the No.8 did indeed sell in heavy-duty form.
    I came back from a trip to Europe/UK in 1998 with my hand carry bag FULL of 703s, PP9s and No8 batteries, and I swear that bag got scanned three times before I was let through. Innocent times.

    But what do you do to power your beloved Bijou or classic 2BF fisheye today?

    Here's a hint:

    The protected 18650 is a match made in heaven for this torch. Its smaller diameter gives easy room for the switch to move freely, and stretching the spring will cover the length discrepancy.

    All you need to do is substitute a No. 13 globe (3.8V 0.3A; Eveready still calls it the 1162) for the 2.5V #1161 original, and you are in business. You even get a worthwhile increase in lumens.

    And at 2200mAh, you get seven hours' runtime.

    Now for mods. Stick to the old Fisheye, the PR-based versions, like the Bijou, have a plastic bulb retainer, and often a plastic reflector, too. But ye olde Fisheye is all metal-and-glass and can, if not pristine, take whatever you dish out to it.

    1) You can use 2 x CR123A cells with a 5.2V 0.85V halogen globe.
    2) You can use 2 x 16340 (or 2x18350!) cells to overdrive the famous Reflectalite GH44 (6V 10W, 201 lumens), and beat a RoP-low at its own game.

    Two words of managing your expectations:

    1) The beam quality of these old fisheye torches is usually AWFUL by CPF expectations. You see, a fisheye lens is NOT an aspheric. If you look closely at or feel one, you'll notice it's concave at the back. It's not meant to focus the beam, it's intended to do the opposite - to scatter the beam as a diffuser. The lens is usually REALLY close to the bulb, and you just can't get it far enough away to focus without taking the head right off.

    2) These torches are for indoor use only. They are not waterproof, they are not rugged, are not shockproof, and cannot be dropped.
    They are made for your bedstand.
    And in that use, they are to this day unsurpassed. They are the perfect size to fit in the palm of your hand, the slide switch can be operated by one hand without compromise, and are the perfect brightness for seeing around the house.

    And one last note - Dad's old 1930s-era fisheye now sees nightly use by my Mother, with one of AW's finest on board, and its reassuring familiarity and gorgeous yellow light is a living link with the past.
    Last edited by lctorana; 01-02-2009 at 05:05 AM. Reason: spelling & grammar cleanup

  2. #2
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Always enjoy your posts on vintage lights Bruce.
    Norm

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Cydonia's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    A BF cell? Never even knew such a beast existed...
    I thank you for the pictures showing the side by side line up.
    All good things come to an end... endless change... all our silly lights of today will be forgotten and sneered at one day. I am always aware of these truths. A curious melancholy feeling has just passed over me...

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    to lctorana --


    What a wonderful thread you've created here !

    So nice to see some photos of not only classic flashlights,
    but even some classic Batteries !




    Hey, no WONDER i've never heard of the "BF" cell . . . .


    It's FOREIGN !





    And that was a really touching story about your Dad's flashlight.

    Very moving.


    Thank you for sharing this with us.


    Hey, how about a nice, quality photo of JUST yer' Dad's light ?

    It shouldn't hafta' share the spotlight with anything else.



    Best of Luck (and health) to you and your loved ones, my friend.
    _

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    I've never seen that type of battery before.
    learn something new everyday.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgess
    Hey, no WONDER i've never heard of the "BF" cell . . . .


    It's FOREIGN !
    This brings up an interesting point. Does anyone have an American Eveready (or RayOVac or Mallor or Burgess) battery catalog from 1970 or earlier?

    If so, could you look up the numbers 703 and 927?

    (Because the B and BF cell size might be a British Commonwealth thing. Mind you, I did obtain one of my 2BF torches from Argentina of all places, so I'm not sure about that...)

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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by lctorana View Post
    (Because the B and BF cell size might be a British Commonwealth thing. Mind you, I did obtain one of my 2BF torches from Argentina of all places, so I'm not sure about that...)
    I'm not sure. During my childhood (England, 70's), the letter codes for cells like 'D', 'C' and 'AA' were quite uncommon. They were only seen on Radio Shack branded batteries sold by Tandy and seemed like some strange foreign Americanism. The regular designations were numbers like 'U2' (standard duty D size), 'HP2' (heavy duty D size), 'U11' and 'HP11' for C size, 'HP7' for AA size and 'HP16' for AAA size. I have no memory at all of BF size cells. There were no standard toys or torches that used other than today's D, C, AA or AAA sizes of cylindrical cells. When zinc carbon chemistry was prevalent the AA size took second place to C and D due to lack of power, and the AAA size was difficult to find and seemingly used only in penlights. Every torch you could buy used either AA, C or D size cells.

    Other non-cylindrical sizes existed, such as the 3LR12 4.5 volt prismatic battery used in bicycle lamps (I do not remember what it's designation was back then), and a larger 4.5 volt battery with screw terminals, similar to a 6 volt lantern battery but smaller. That was my favorite battery for experimenting with with due to its affordability and screw terminal posts.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    The No.8 in my post above is most definitely English.

    And as for that battery you remember, do you mean the flat-pack 4.5V battery with the 3 "E" cells (I think 126 was its English designation) or do you mean the 1.5V brick (4F in parallel) so beloved for starting model aircraft engines? I'll post pictures of both later.
    Last edited by lctorana; 12-17-2008 at 08:10 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    During my childhood (England, 70's)... Every torch you could buy used either AA, C or D size cells.
    That's interesting.

    Most of my 2BF torches are Made in England (the rest were made in Hong Kong under licence)

    This would seem to indicate they were Made in England for export but not the domestic market, perhaps due to the "Export or Die" policy to deal with the sheet metal shortage.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    "cardboard Eveready 2xC fisheye torch, circa 1915-ish"

    Now that is quite a good piece to have in a collection! NICE

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. LED View Post
    "cardboard Eveready 2xC fisheye torch, circa 1915-ish"

    Now that is quite a good piece to have in a collection! NICE
    what's the IPX rating?

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    I'd rate it a solid -1 I don't think giving it a 0 would be sufficient.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    An earlier post on the subject, with a link to a catalogue showing the things brand-new.

    And, please remember my earlier question:
    Does anyone have an American Eveready (or RayOVac or Mallory or Burgess) battery catalog from 1970 or earlier?

    If so, could you look up the Eveready numbers 703 and 927?

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by lctorana View Post
    The No.8 in my post above is most definitely English.

    And as for that battery you remember, do you mean the flat-pack 4.5V battery with the 3 "E" cells (I think 126 was its English designation) or do you mean the 1.5V brick (4F in parallel) so beloved for starting model aircraft engines? I'll post pictures of both later.
    Now you mention it, I do believe it was called a 126 battery. It was flat and rectangular and had flat metal springs on top as contacts. Apparently you can still buy alkaline versions of them today for use in head lamps.

    Quote Originally Posted by lctorana View Post
    That's interesting.

    Most of my 2BF torches are Made in England (the rest were made in Hong Kong under licence)

    This would seem to indicate they were Made in England for export but not the domestic market, perhaps due to the "Export or Die" policy to deal with the sheet metal shortage.
    I see various references to the No. 8 or 2R10 battery being made or sold in England, but I don't remember them myself. It's quite possible they existed but I never came across them because they were only used in special applications. For instance I seem to remember there was a hot glow gas lighter that took a really big cylindrical cell, but only old appliances needed it by the 70's due to spark ignitors on more modern appliances.

    I had lots of torches as a child, but they all took HP11 or HP2 batteries.

    I do remember a radio shop selling the HT batteries for valve radios, and thinking how odd it was to see a 90 V battery.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    OK, to clear up some battery confusion, here are two delicious pictures from my 1970 Eveready (Australia) battery catalogue:


    Front Row, left-right:
    No 6 (called a "flag" cell in UK) 55Ah at 1.5V
    No 731 (this is the 8F "Big Jim" battery - called the "991" in UK)
    No 793 valve radio -9 volt tapped "C" battery
    No X-71 (a single F cell in a square cardboard box with brass screw terminals)
    Back Row, left-right:
    No 1462 6V electric fence battery. Contained 32 F cells in an 4S8P configuration, for at least 60Ah capacity. An alkaline version would have had well over 200Ah in this size.
    Last but not least, a fabricated OEM adaptor to replace the 714 (126 in UK) with 3 D cells. Note the screw terminals. The original Australian 714 contained 3 E cells, but size E was discontinued in the late 1960s.

    Now a picture to make you all drool:

    From left-right:
    The rare-as-hens-teeth transitional model "Big Jim". Has the modern, square taillight, square handle-mounted pushbuttons, but still a chromed handle and headlight fairing. The modern shape but older construction.
    No 950. General Purpose (i.e. Standard-Duty) D cell. U2 in UK. This was the dawn of the "silver" era - up until now, the GP cells had white wrappers, like the 703, and in later years, right up until the current day, have blue metal jackets.
    No 915. General Purpose AA cell. U12 in UK.
    No 935. General Purpose C cell. U11 in UK.
    No 927. General Purpose BF cell. U8 in UK. 2 just like this were in my very first torch. I destroyed it, of course. I was a boy.
    No 509. Heavy-Duty 6V 4F lantern battery. 996 in UK. Dolphin et al.
    No 703. General Purpose 4.5V 3B cycle lamp battery. The spring terminals are still folded down under the tear-off central dark blue paper strip in the picture.
    And don't forget the classic "Captain" lurking in the background.
    1970. HG Holdens, XY Falcons and LC Toranas were on the road, and music was at its peak. If I had a time machine, I wouldn't come back.

    You ask about the gaslighter battery. Never was lucky enough to play with this, as we used a handheld flint igniter in my youth instead. But the battery was the U14 (yes Virginia, we used the UK designation for that one), which was 2" diameter, 4 3/8" tall and had a threaded socket on top. Intriguing how sparks were made from just 1.5 volts.
    Last edited by lctorana; 12-18-2008 at 06:11 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Wonderful Collection!
    Brings back memories.

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Yes, thank you for these additional battery photos.


    I can still remember looking at the Wide Selection

    of Eveready batteries, on the shelf of a local Electronics store.


    Or in the Lafayette and Allied catalogs. (drool)


    Wondering: " Wow, what devices are those used for ? ? ? "



    Note: I'm 55 years old, and don't remember Eveready Carbon-Zinc cells,

    sizes " D ", " C ", " AA ", or " AAA "

    EVER being White in color ! (in the USA, anyway)



    So strange seeing them in yer' photo !

    _

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    This request got lost, so I'll repost it:

    Does anyone have an American Eveready, RayOVac, Mallory or Burgess battery catalog from 1970 or earlier?

    If so, could you look up the numbers 703 and 927?

    (Because the B and BF cell size might be a British Commonwealth thing. Mind you, I did obtain one of my 2BF torches from Argentina of all places, so I'm not sure about that...)

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    I remember using one of those "Big Jim" lights as a kid.

    I wonder if my parents still have it somewhere...

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 2BF Bedside Torch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    Now you mention it, I do believe it was called a 126 battery. It was flat and rectangular and had flat metal springs on top as contacts. Apparently you can still buy alkaline versions of them today for use in head lamps.
    OK, we are at cross-purposes. You are talking about the 216 (3 B cells), not the 126 (3 E cells). We called the 216 the 703 in Australia. Both pictured above.

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