1950's Tom Thumb lights

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
I was able to acquire a pre-Fulton, patent pending 1aa Kwik-Lite recently. It arrived in working condition but could use some TLC.


Here it is vs a modern 1aaa light.


Here it is disassembled.
Plastics were one of the Usoma owned Kwik-Lite innovations in the early days like 1920's and one of the reasons born in 1939 Fulton bought them in the 1940's.
The copper bulb keeper used a plastic wrapping to stop conductivity inside nickel plated body and the lens is plastic too.


Hopefully these will shine like new soon.



And the current 1960's bulb has got to go!



I'll add more later, but this is another fine piece of flashlight history.

I did about an hour of rehab on this little jewel, first with Mothers mag wheel polish.


All oxydation on the nickel plating is gone



Tail cap has a mirror shine now



And the once dull mirror is shiney now

Then I tossed out that poj bulb and swapped in a Chicago Miniature





Stuey head beam but it's nice n straight now. At 2am the shape isn't so noticeable.

Then some cleaning of the spring and switch took place and no more flicker whatsoever exists now.


Burns nice n white.
 
Last edited:

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,725
Location
dayton oh
Re: Eveready Little Jim

just modded one of these for a neighbor kid.
soldered a 5mm hi cri led into an empty base.
these are fine dd on li-ion.
drop in a 14500.
impressive and 100% reversable.
Eveready took a stab at it using their 'big Jim' monicker to name it 'little Jim' circa 1955.

It's a typical Eveready product of the time using time tested parts n pieces.


Mini boat switch gives it a little flare.


This version has what Eveready called 'lens guard' type bezel.
It came with a #112 bulb that casts a banana shaped beam. But for now it has a new one.


If I had any qualms with this one it's the bulb fastener. It's a twisted slot in the fastener that causes the bulb to achor crooked. With the banana beam it was extremely odd to aim the light at a wall from 2' away and have a Gibralter type S shaped beam a foot above the lights spill.
But I tweaked it and got it near perfect.


This was the beam of a new bulb pre-tweak


Anti-roll body


Easy to repair slider switch


Scored a whole box of these 112's.


Versus a HIPCO and a microstream.
HIPCO's and Fultons were much nicer made. But the Eveready little Jim is a nifty little dude showing modern processes of things to come.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Another alternative is Teknas L112 for the 1aa lights, their L222 for 2 cell penlights and L233 an older 3x aaaa light.
Plug n play drop in with no solder required.
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,725
Location
dayton oh
Re: Eveready Little Jim

got a hipco 1aa headed my way.
a friend sent me a pic of it and he had polished and clearcoated it years ago.
its copper.
he asked where to get a bulb as his kids lost it.and mentioned he was a fool to put work into it for its pathetic performance.
told him if it was mine it would get an led and li-ion conversion.or i can do it for you.
so he gave it to me.
seen lots of this type of light in chrome or even brass but never copper.
looks like photobucket killed all the pics in the thread.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Copper?
Gotta see that.

Yeah photobucket... pffft, whutchya gonna do when their goon squad says "pay us $40/mth or else buster?"...

They are great 2am nature call lights. But I'm glad you are updating them. HIPCO are my favorite in that size, but if you ever stumble across a 1aa Rayovac Sportsman...
man that thing is much brighter than the Tom Thumbs. Your upgrade would probably rival a modern light.
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,725
Location
dayton oh
Re: Eveready Little Jim

i will post a good pic when i get it.
i suspect they were never made in large numbers.plenty of pictures out there of brass,nickle,chrome,and art deco types.
none in copper.
most lights of this type were simply tossed at the first problem.most are long gone.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Fulton did the first "Tom Thumb" named lights. But hipco lights are better made with a better switch.... for what it's worth as even those are so-so.

I suppose many suffered from the same thing as millions upon millions of other battery operated devices... leakage. That and the 1aa of the time was seen as a toy light as it was so dim and not real sturdy but... they served a purpose and served it well for those who didn't want to be spotted by their flashlight.

Now the switch at times has enough contact to drain the battery but not light the bulb. Especially if you slide it to off with any force. I have one that lights it all the way forward and all the way back.

After 18 months of collecting Tom Thumb sized lights I've never seen a copper one.
Good score.
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,725
Location
dayton oh
Re: Eveready Little Jim

i had one when i was 7.
it succumbed to too many drops into creeks and ponds while hunting crawdads.
it had a full reflector.
if i remember the switch seized up and i broke it trying to free it.
wd40 didnt do anything and i must have forced it.
Copper?
Gotta see that. but if you ever stumble across a 1aa Rayovac Sportsman...
man that thing is much brighter than the Tom Thumbs. Your upgrade would probably rival a modern light.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

i had one when i was 7.
it succumbed to too many drops into creeks and ponds while hunting crawdads.
it had a full reflector.
if i remember the switch seized up and i broke it trying to free it.
wd40 didnt do anything and i must have forced it.

Yeah, they aren't as robust as the modern lights, that's for certain.
I found one on eBay for a great price. It was amazingly bright compared to the Tom Thumbs. After polishing the reflector with Mothers Mag Wheel polish it was even brighter. Brighter than a Solitaire. lol
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,725
Location
dayton oh
Re: Eveready Little Jim

LOL!
a match is brighter than a solitaire!
unless its one i stuffed a 5mm and 10440 in.
Yeah, they aren't as robust as the modern lights, that's for certain.
I found one on eBay for a great price. It was amazingly bright compared to the Tom Thumbs. After polishing the reflector with Mothers Mag Wheel polish it was even brighter. Brighter than a Solitaire. lol
 

scout24

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,869
Location
Penn's Woods
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Bump... :grin2: A new arrival and my fave coffee mug. Some tweaking and cleaning has it running good at the moment. Cool little lights. Interesting to see how far we've come...

51024957093_08e68f33fa_z.jpg
 

Nitroz

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
3,258
Location
Monroe
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Bump... :grin2: A new arrival and my fave coffee mug. Some tweaking and cleaning has it running good at the moment. Cool little lights. Interesting to see how far we've come...

Oh boy! I did not need to see this thread. Now I want one of these thumb lights!
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

That is a nice example there. Good score!

Is your beam straight or crooked? On some the threads cause the bulb to sit kinda sideways so you get a beam that is not centered. Bulbs vary also. Some provide a football shaped beam, while some are fairly round. If you can source some, the Norelco bulb made in Holland were pretty good. But if you don't want to stay vintage bulb Radio Shack made some krypton #112's is the 90's. The big bay probably still has some.

Btw I've stayed stock with mine, warts and all. Oh, and take the battery out when done. Those switches have a really bad parasitic drain.
 
Last edited:

scout24

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,869
Location
Penn's Woods
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Yup, crooked bulb crooked beam. I'll play with the alignment at some point... Thanks for the bulb tips, I do have some inbound. Made in Holland by Norelco as you recommend according to the seller. Stock is where it's at with these here as well. They're just so cool. Serious with the switch??? I figured mechanical off was off just like my 2C and 2D vintage lights with slider switches... 🤔
 
Last edited:

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

It's not an electronic thing with the little sliders, it's just that in some cases the switch never really breaks contact as it should. I suppose a digital meter could say what's what.
 

scout24

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,869
Location
Penn's Woods
Re: Eveready Little Jim

Thanks for the tip, I'll break out my meter today.

I've got a chrome body plastic slider/plastic bezel Union Carbide marked Eveready AA "Commander"on the way to me as of last night. Not a Tom Thumb, but an AA/112 bulb mini that looks just like it's bigger brothers. Maybe I'll do a runtime test and see just how long I could avoid stepping on legos with one of these little gems. I love my modern stuff, but these are so cool...
 
Last edited:

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,416
Location
Dust in the Wind
Re: Eveready Little Jim

That's a neat little light too. Now by the time those were made Eveready had manufacturing lights made of really cheap parts and pieces, yet you'll likely note how much better built the Commander was versus those Tom Thumb lights.

Edit: corrected previous statement below:
When I get home I'll take a photo of both versions. See, there was a Little Jim, then two versions of the Commander. A 1960's and a 1970's version. The Little Jim is square at the tail end.
Begin correction;
In the 1960's was the Little Jim. The commander was introduced in 1976 as an economy light. In 1986 the commander renamed "economy". I have the "commander" and the "economy" in aa format.
End correction edit

Add photos:

97-AF896-E-7-DCC-4-A53-930-F-8-CB44-B40-C52-C.jpg

L to R;
- Economy pocket light
- Little Jim
- Comander pocket light
The plastic parts of the economy are near orange compared to the deeper red of the commander.

85927-BF1-3-BCA-49-DA-9-C54-55-FA6988124-E.jpg

From the other end
 
Last edited:
Top