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Thread: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

  1. #1

    Default Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    First of all I would like to thank bykfixer who helped me with getting this light. I got this from the founder of Kel-Lite, Don Keller. This is a piece of history, and Don is the game changer of the industry of flashlight in the 20th century.

    Great little 2C light. It is solid built, small and good looking.

    The light was designed from 1969-1972 by Don Keller and this copy is the first generation, it should be produced in 1971-1974 according to the information from Kellite.com. The light was produced in Barstow, CA.




























    The light is shorter than the 2C Maglite ML25iT




    The head is actually smaller than the Maglite standard C or D cell.
    Maglite 2C V.S. Kellite 2C




    Surefire 6Z V.S. Kellite 2C



    Maglite 2AA V.S. Kel-Lite 2C










    Last edited by konifans; 08-25-2017 at 12:35 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Man, that thing looks great against the classics.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  3. #3
    harro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Wow, beautiful. How does the switch operate on the Kellite? Does the whole switch slide back anf forth on the body of the light, or does the center of the switch move, while the sides remain stationary? Just thinking along the lines of scratching on the main body of the light.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by harro View Post
    Wow, beautiful. How does the switch operate on the Kellite? Does the whole switch slide back anf forth on the body of the light, or does the center of the switch move, while the sides remain stationary? Just thinking along the lines of scratching on the main body of the light.
    This is the 1st generation so it is the whole switch moving, and it does scratch the barrel but nothing serious. The switch is plastic.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    The 3 generations of Kel-Lite switches:


    The Don Keller designed slider (generation 1)
    Buttery smooth off or on. Attached contact strip slides back n forth with the switch making contact with reflector or not. Idea begun way back in the Franco and Ray-o-lite days of mid 1910's.


    The Norm Nelson designed slider (generation 2)
    Note, mid-way signaler ability. Fixed contact strip always touches reflector. Contact takes place or not inside the switch assembly. Distinct off, signaler, on points. Idea began in the 1920's.
    Also note most had a red button but some had a black button.


    The push button. Generation 3 Kel-Lites were made by Streamlight.
    Not that much different than Maglite switches.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-25-2017 at 08:57 PM.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  6. #6
    harro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    I like that second gen switch, looks pretty purposeful. On your pic bykf you can just barely see that little bit of scratching. Haha, if jelousy is a curse, then i'm cursed with looking at both lots of pics. Very nice.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    In case fans is worried about scrathing by the switch plate... here's how my beater has held up over the years


    Kinda beat up frontal area


    Missing anodize in the rear


    Switch marks.

    So the plastic switch plate really doesn't mar the coating all that much... provided grit doesn't get between the cover and the light.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-26-2017 at 02:01 PM.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  8. #8

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    My 4C Kel-lite was purchased in 1976 for a trip to Europe, and is 1st generation. I got it in a sporting goods store that sold good-quality gear, and I was impressed with how well-made it was.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Man, that 4C is a goody too.

    I did a fun mod that's a simple, reversable mod...
    3 Rayovac e-cell alkalines and a 3 cell maglite krypton bulb. Yup, no insta-poof with the krypton.

    I did a 2x 18500 LifePo4 with a 4 cell xenon to the CPL-2.

    Being Kel-Lite used the same parts for lights up to 7 cells I knew no melting issues are a concern.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  10. #10
    harro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)


    Switch marks.

    So the plastic switch plate really doesn't mar the coating all that much... provided grit doesn't get between the cover and the light.[/QUOTE]

    That's pretty much nothing, and certainly nothing that a small sharpie wouldn't fix, if it became a worry. Thx for the great pics.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Got one more Kel-Lite 2C!
    Note the Knurling on the barrel is a little bit different.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Yessssssssss!!!

    Now question:
    Is the knurling on the one on the left "more gentle"?... it seems I read somewhere that the knurling was made more 'holster' friendly along the way...
    I wondered if a bit more area was knurled to make up for the potential lack of grip or... were the early ones less grippy than users preferred so perhaps they added more area in later editions?...

    Just curious. Both are gorgeous btw.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-09-2017 at 04:31 PM.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  13. #13

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Yessssssssss!!!

    Now question:
    Is the knurling on the one on the left "more gentle"?... it seems I read somewhere that the knurling was made more 'holster' friendly along the way...
    I wondered if a bit more area was knurled to make up for the potential lack of grip or... were the early ones less grippy than users preferred so perhaps they added more area in later editions?...

    Just curious. Both are gorgeous btw.
    Actually, the right one has more gentle knurling.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by konifans View Post
    Actually, the right one has more gentle knurling.
    Then I would speculate the one on the left was machined before the one on the right based on feed back from police asking for less aggressive knurling... but I say "machined before" as a serial number may show otherwise.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  15. #15
    Flashaholic LiftdT4R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Very nice!! I can't believe I missed this thread. I was lucky enough to pick one up with a lanyard ring end cap a while back. Nice little light and I use it all the time!







    I have a blog where I posted most of my old Kel-Lites too if you're interested: http://otherflashlights.blogspot.com/

    I mostly collect Maglites but I've wound up with a bunch of other lights over the years too. Nice to see interest in these lights and other folks that keep helping to keep them around and in use!
    ~~~~~~~~
    Always looking to buy Vari-Beams and Vintage/Rare Mags especially a 7D. Please let me know if you have any, top dollar paid.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Then I would speculate the one on the left was machined before the one on the right based on feed back from police asking for less aggressive knurling... but I say "machined before" as a serial number may show otherwise.
    You are right. The serial number of the right one is 6594541 and the left one is 2343751.
    I just found that the barrel of the right one is a bit longer than the left one, and they have different reflectors and different bulb holder. I will post some photos here.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by LiftdT4R View Post
    I have a blog where I posted most of my old Kel-Lites too if you're interested: http://otherflashlights.blogspot.com/

    I mostly collect Maglites but I've wound up with a bunch of other lights over the years too. Nice to see interest in these lights and other folks that keep helping to keep them around and in use!
    Nice collection!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Here's a fun little mod for the 2C that is completely reversable.



    2- LifePo4 18500's, a 4 cell krypton and a (19mm) 3/4" piece of pvc gas pipe cut to length.

    The PR based Maglite xenon is even brighter but kryptons are still easier to find and provides a nicer overall beam.


    Left is the 4 cell, right is the stock bulb mine came with.
    It provides a very respectable output.
    A 5 cell bulb would be closer to matched voltage sent to the bulb, while the batteries over drive a 4 cell bulb. But so far I've yet to poof a 4 cell krypton or xenon using these batteries in a few different 2C lights.

    The batteries are available in box stores in the US called "solar lamp" batteries. I don't know how available they are where you are konifans. But anything higher output than LifePo4's would insta-poof a 4 cell bulb.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-11-2017 at 11:01 AM.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

  19. #19

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post

    The batteries are available in box stores in the US called "solar lamp" batteries. I don't know how available they are where you are konifans. But anything higher output than LifePo4's would insta-poof a 4 cell bulb.
    I have some Soshine AA size Lifepo4, it should work with AA to C cell adapter. Will try to get some good quality 18500.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Comparison of two Kel-Lite CPL-2
    The left one is from Don Keller's collection and the right one is from an ebayer who purchased in 1970S.









    The left one is a bit shorter.




    Different bulb holders and reflector gaskets. I believe the right one is original.














    Different reflectors.




    Note the thickness of the rims.



    The beams.





    Edit: both are having Mag 2-cell bulb, the left one has fresh battery so it looks brighter.
    Last edited by konifans; 09-14-2017 at 07:34 PM.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic LiftdT4R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Kellite 2C (Kel-Lite CPL-2)

    Very interesting. I believe the lights that Don's selling are new production using some NOS parts. I never did get around to asking him the last time I chatted with him but based on the machining differences I think they're new production.

    I do know that Norm nelson ended up with all of the intellectual rights and tooling to produce the lights. When he passed he left all of this to his protege Andy Studer. I had a chance to talk with Andy once and he had no desire to produce the lights so he sold everything to a business that put in a bid on it. That corporation happened to be owned by Don. The only thing Don doesn't currently own is the Kel-Lite name. That is owned by the former investors in the now defunct Nordic Technologies which attempted to produce some lights including a pilot's model in the late 80s after purchasing the rights to the name from Streamlight.

    That trademark hasn't been used and I'm no expert but it is due to expire pretty soon where I'm fairly sure Don can claim it because he's been using it.
    ~~~~~~~~
    Always looking to buy Vari-Beams and Vintage/Rare Mags especially a 7D. Please let me know if you have any, top dollar paid.

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