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Thread: It had to happen sooner or later....

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default It had to happen sooner or later....

    ...my first vintage flashlight!

    I`m an avid collector of all kinds of new and old light bulbs, christmas lights and vintage electrical bits and pieces (plugs, outlets, switches, all that) but until recently my interest in torches was purely with the new kinds. I have no idea why vintage torches never caught my eye before, guess I just saw them (much as I still do now) as tools to be used, rather than museum pieces.

    But, I feel the tides of change a-turning. Last week, this little gem caught my eye on ebay, it was very cheap and I couldn`t resist...





    Produced by the Pifco company in the UK, in the 1950s and made of pressed steel and (presumably) brass, this is the Red-Dome. Adjustable up/down spot light on the front and a dome on top- either red with a blinker bulb for attracting attention (eg roadside repairs) or a clear with steady-burning bulb for an area flood (eg camping). A 4-position slide switch on the back operates it and although a little flickery now, what do you expect from a 50+ year old light? Takes a "996" type lantern battery (those big square ones with the 2 springs on top) and has a PR-base bulb in the spotlight, and screw-in bulb on top. Considering its age, the beam`s pretty good. Narrow, dimmer than the 3-D-cell Maglite I have here, but the beam is about on par (narrowest spot setting) which just goes to show how outdated the Mag reflector is now [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img] .


    Well, I see this as just the beginning. I already won a second auction for another Pifco light and although I don`t plan to start seriously collecting all kinds of vintage flashlights (I barely have enough space here as it is!), the odd one will join the "South Wales Museum of Electrical Lighting" (this room!) now and then, that`s for sure.

    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Wow! That thing is beautiful and just plain cool!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    That's an awesome find! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] That brass is really attractive on an older light like that.

    Slightly different from you, I found out over the weekend that when my grandfather passed away years ago, my parents kept some of his old "stuff" in a few boxes in the attic. My dad said that last time he looked in there, he was pretty sure there was a couple flashlights or so in it.

    So, I guess I'll be playing in my parents' attic some time this week. I'm quite intrigued. He had a couple very cool old knives and a bayonet from an old Enfield among his possessions.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    I had a closer look at it yesterday evening and the body in fact isn`t brass, I just thought it was originally. The rest of the parts attract a magnet (=steel) but not the body. Some of the brass colour is wearing off at the threads on the bottom, originally I thought it may have been anti-rusting zinc or tinplating applied to the steel bits that had worn off, but on closer inspection (when I first took the bottom off, all I wanted to do was get the battery in and see if it still worked- it did [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] ) it seems it`s the true body colour. May be aluminum or zinc. Either way it`s still a really attractive light. Just got to be careful not to polish it too hard and rub the brassplating off.

    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* sunspot's Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Are you going to put a LS in it? Hehehe!

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Ack! [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

    Not likely. I`m not even changing the rather dim stock bulb. As a collector, I feel it`s my duty to try and preserve/restore vintage and antique electrical things in their original, or near-as-dammit-original, condition. I will admit that the pictures/details posted elsewhere on the CPF showing vintage torches with a big fat LED poking out the end, made me feel rather queasy [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

    ....but still, I may try my spare LEDcorp bulb in the front sometime, just to see what it looks like! (it won`t stay there for long)

    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Hello Chris!
    You could do what I do with my vintage lights. I want to be able to use my lights, or at least show others that they work, so I remove the original bulb, put it in a ziplock bag with a short note showing which flashlight or lantern it came out of, and put in a modern equivalent bulb. This way I can use my "toys" without the least chance of possibly blowing a rare bulb; I can always put the original bulb back if I want to sell the light. All my old lights (62 of them at last count)work and I have zinc-carbon batteries in all of them. They cost tons less than alkalines and I am not out to impress anybody with their brightness or longevity. Most of my old lights use miniature screw-based lamps anyway, and so far, I have not had much luck finding anything but old-style "vacuum" bulbs to fit them. As a matter of fact, most of the flashlights from before the 1950s are not too impressive compared to today's xenon/halogen/lithium/titanium bad boys so it's no big deal. I just tell people that ANY portable electric light was a vast improvement over a candle way back when and a major breakthrough in convenience and safety. That's my 2 cents. Differing opinions from responsible parties are welcome.
    Regards,
    Kirk

  8. #8
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    It's probably anodized aluminum.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Good idea Kirk, that does make a lot of sense indeed.

    But I don`t expect I`ll be using any of my vintage torches (all two of them!) too often - I`m not exactly short of modern ones here [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img] They`ll probably sit devoid of batteries, and get lit for the odd photo or just if I want to see them glow occasionally. Since most if not all of my friends are the other end of a computer in some far-off part of the world, and no-one I work with could care much about my torch addiction, it`s unlikely I`ll ever need to show them off [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    And besides, it`s such chaos up here at present that I`d almost certainly break/lose some of the bulbs if I stored them anywhere other than in the torch they came from. This is the reason my entire light bulb collection is currently boxed up and stored in the attic [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Chris M.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Oh- Welcome to Candlepower Forums by the way. I didn`t notice before, that was only your 2nd post here. What`s your general area of interest in torches? Vintage ones of course, but do the new ones grab your attention too?

    [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  11. #11
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: It had to happen sooner or later....

    Hey Chris!
    Anything that uses batteries to make light is fair game. I have the vintage light collection as well as a couple of Maglites, a Princeton Tec40, a Vector 2,000,000 candlepower spotlight, quite a few LED flashlights and keychain lights, and some car cigarette-lighter spotlights. My "vintage" collection has lights from around 1910 to the 1960s. I am always on the lookout for anything that catches my eye--old or new.
    Regards,
    Kirk

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