Don Kellers last hurrah- the Brinkmann Legend

bykfixer

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Once upon a time a sheriff made a flashlight. A very sturdy one for a change.
P8o9L7w.jpg


It became known as the Kel-Lite. It replaced the baton on many a police officers duty belt.
By 1972 or 3 the Sheriff no longer worked for the company. That is another story.

He worked at Mag for a while. That too is another story.

He eventually headed up Brinkmann for a little while. Streamlight now owned Kel-Lite, which at first bragged about the Kel-Lite acquisition and had a "Streamlight west" division for a time.
Under Don Keller, Brinkmann was making flashlights . Good ones too.

The Legend series was basically a bunch of Mag sturdy lights with Keller ideas. Keller ideas going back in time while moving forward at the same time. They were in Kansas.

A later on Legend LX6 (it was a Rebel not a Legend) rivaled a SureFire 6P with a Streamlight style bi-pin bulb and an adjustable beam in the first generation. (That is another story for another time). That one one post Don Keller and was not US made.

oTauPfm.jpg

The word Brinkman does not appear on the light.

1rAUEkn.jpg

The rear of the package tells the story.


Pretty standard size reflector (read vintage stuff fits), plastic lens (again vintage stuff fits), metal skull cracker head (read heat disipation) with a lightweight bezel. Note the extra bulb in the tail cap.

End user serviceable switch assembly. Switch is contained therein and fastened via a C clip instead of hex screw. Nice!
It has a typical bulb fastener similar to a Mag. Spring loaded for the PR bulb.
2 o-rings inside the head adds to the one sandwiched between the lens and reflector. Nice thick one at the other end.


Using it:
I noted the spring on the tail cap is real sturdy. Smooth at the tip, but stiff. Batteries are nearly to the end of the body. Typical for sturdy C/D sized lights.

The switch is typical Brinkmann. Thumb/finger press requires the tip to be used. This one has a small button so it makes using a finger tip seem normal. It protrudes enough from the barrel to be easily felt, but recessed enough to not suffer from accidental turm on.

Momentary is super user friendly.

Focus from spill to spot acts like typical camless types. Read more rotation required. But also read easier to fine tune.
Does the mule thing well.
The 2D krypton bulb in this one whoops the pants off Mag 3D xenons or 4D for that matter. I have a 4C using a 3C bulb and this thing is brighter.
Mega nice hotspot with a ton of spill in the adjustable beam.

At $20 shipped this thing is a bargain.
If you happen across a 2D Legend scoop it up, fast.

I regret that Brinkmann doesn't make flashlights anymore. They made some goodies in their hayday.
But that too is another story.

This one was circa 1991/2/3.


Edit: I cleaned up broken links and corrected some verbage.

12/28/22 edit corrected Legend LX6 was actually a Rebel, not a Legend.
1/25/23, nope it's a Legend according to old reviews. Thanks for leaving this post editable Mr Ed
 
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scout24

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Very nice looking beam! Takes a standard PR bulb, too? Must be a nicer reflector design than some of the competition.
 

twin63

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My mom used to keep a Brinkmann beside her bed. I always felt like it was a good light for the money. I wasn't aware of the history behind Brinkmann lights. Thanks for sharing.
 

bykfixer

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Very nice looking beam! Takes a standard PR bulb, too? Must be a nicer reflector design than some of the competition.
It has that typical shadow of a filament except for a very fine area. But with it requiring more rotation to dial in that allows easier to find perfect spot.

And the reflector is way more shiney than a Mag.

My mom used to keep a Brinkmann beside her bed. I always felt like it was a good light for the money. I wasn't aware of the history behind Brinkmann lights. Thanks for sharing.

It seems Don Keller worked for ASP, Brinkmann and Maglite over the years.

I'm finding very little info about Brinkmann in general thus far. I speculate that after Ton Maglica lost a peturnity suit he needed cash so he went after both Brinkmann and Streamlight who were out-mag-ing Mag.
Yet ironically Maglite products in the beginning were based off Don Kellers products at Kel-Lite.

Fact check edit: Mag sued Brinkmann and Streamlight for using the patented idea of writing on the bezel (of all things) which is why to this day only Maglite has that. (Post Don Keller) Brinkmann did a 2aa that way that can actually lego to a mini mag and Streamlight did a big sized light (the excalibre) with it on there.
The Don Keller Legend 2aa made by Brinkmann had a clicky tail cap with a lock out feature and no writing on the bezel.
 
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xxo

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I think i read somewhere that Mag made some of the aluminum parts for the Kel-Lites before they started making Maglites?
 

bykfixer

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^^ coulda been practice/capital for Mr Mag?

Fact check edit:
Yes Tony did over flow work for Kel-Lite while he was doing other machinist work. Later he and Don Keller got together as Maglite was beginning and later on they teamed up again after Don left Brinkmann.
 
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bykfixer

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Legend 2aa comparison.
Think mini mag with a rubber sleeve, anti-roll shock absorber collar on the head, a nice wide clicky on the end with twist to click lockout feature.
It's actually a pretty good flashlight.

Not finding much about these either. But with a new bulb it is just as bright as a mini mag, with an oh so easy to get used to forward clicky (with momentary) tail switch.
The momentary requires nearly enough travel to turn it on. Kinda baffled me since it has lockout. Much less user friendly than the 2D described above. But for on/off it's nothing stiff like some other Brinkmann/Legend models.


We've all seen the mini mag set up.
Tail spring against the battery forces internally sliding switch to compress, which breaks the circuit. Twisting head towards loosen relieves pressure allowing pressure on the assembly to be relived, thereby separating parts and allow electrical flow.


The Legend does as well but...

With the Brinkmann you'd need to pinch 3 points at once to remove the switch. Mag pops out with a small flathead screwdriver.


The mini mag is a simple, straight forward spring to end allows flow. Also allows a spare bulb to be stashed.
The Brinkmann on the other hand...

It one up's the Streamlight approach with build quality.

In terms of use I really, really, really like that Brinkmann approach.
I kinda figure Tony Maglica does too. (He probably carries a Legend 2aa lol)

The Pro Max is similar to the Ldgend except it was a kit form that came with a pocket clip, lanyard point and a red filter.


It is set up just like the Legend.
But true to Brinkmann form it has a soft momentary and firm to activate tail cap switch.

I'd have to say that if my local box store had the incan mini mag for $8 and the Legend for $15... I'd have a lot more Legends than mini mags.
But Brinkmann lights were less expensive too.

Ima Don Keller fanboy after acquiring this one.

Note pix removed due to broken links.
 
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RedLED

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Fixer,

I see you have a legend, I still have one around here somewhere. I liked the lock out tail cap, ahead of its time.

Also, all of these old D cell lights no matter the brand still make nice lights in their stock configuration if they were taken care of.
 

RedLED

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Fixer,

I see you have a legend, I still have one around here somewhere. I liked the lock out tail cap, ahead of its time.

Also, all of these old D cell lights no matter the brand still make nice lights in their stock configuration if they were taken care of. Plus, you can fix them up and restore them, or just drop in a LED conversion.

I have a 32 year old Mag 4 D cell I bought new at a truck stop, in 1984, and just put an LED in it and keep, at The PA Res. Still in service, and any of the old brands can still be made to work I'm not a big Mag fan, but if it works - it works.
 
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swampgator

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Also, all of these old D cell lights no matter the brand still make nice lights in their stock configuration if they were taken care of. Plus, you can fix them up and restore them, or just drop in a LED conversion.

I have a 32 year old Mag 4 D cell I bought new at a truck stop, in 1984, and just put an LED in it and keep, at The PA Res. Still in service, and any of the old brands can still be made to work I'm not a big Mag fan, but if it works - it works.
I picked up a 3D Mag the other day in a repurpose store. I could tell it was corroded due to battery leakage. Fifty cents brought it home.

Got the tail cap off and spring had dissolved..

Head comes off freely but I'm thinking I just got a spare head, lens and bezel for parts. Reflector is trashed.

I don't understand why people don't take care of their lights better.
 

bykfixer

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Good score Gator.

I suppose the masses think of flashlights as they do candles... only use in lights out scenario. But unlike a candle the flashlight is more like teeth.. regular check ups are a good idea.

The Legend LX 6 (lithium xenon 6 volt) was a goodie.
I lucked up and found one here at CPF, but have been unsuccesful thus far at finding a second one... after months of looking.
Now using a pair of 123 cells and a bi-pin bulb were not patent infringements. Nor was (at least imo) the focus beam where twisting the head changes the beam shape. Heck that idea was used early on in flashlights.

Matter of fact at one point a fixed beam was a new idea.The cam'd reflector was the all Mag idea.
In the old days lights with focus beams used a fixed to the barrel bulb assembly and either the rotating on threads made the reflector move back n forth or some used a slider switch to move the bulb back n forth. Rayovac did one that did both.

whVfSSy.jpg

Taking on a certain retro look.


An oversized reflector gets it done. get it done. It does, in a way that rivaled much larger lights... even better yhan many LED lights at the time (circa 2006)
They used a very light texture on this polished alluminum reflector to achieve a very smooth beam in spot, spill and in between. No hole, no spider legs or swirls.
Mine has a TL2 bulb in it so I cannot say for certain how the Brinkmann bulb.
The Legend LX used similar parts n pieces as the Legend 2aa. But a C clip like the Legend holds the ceramic core bulb assembly in place. Very end user servicable.


Long forgotten but once highly sought after Legend LX was a 6 volt baby cop light available at box stores... If SureFire ever were it was on a limited basis. (I read here that Dr. John Matthews was against the idea of G2's in WalMarts where PK was for it. PK was aggressive at sales ideas and John was conservative about it)


Speaking of MaxFire...
I have MaxFires on the way, so cannot make direct comments yet except to say that folks back then were saying it had a better beam than the Legend LX. When they arrive I'll continue...

Note: broken links removed and verbage made to fit.
 
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pk

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Good score Gator.
(Note: these refferences to John and PK are stories from long ago I read here at CPF)
...
Out of subject.
BUT, I feel I must clarify this:
John and pk stories may have been somewhat transmitted wrong to public in one way or another.
John has been always support of me and he never doubt about my intention or pursuing. Only people who was jealous about our ties talked to outside/inside and yet John always supportive of me.
Even something he should've not accepted... such as my drinking and womanizing issue as well... hahaha.
He was/is still a great boss who I respect so much and I consider him as my own Father. Just like he and his wife treated me as a member of family. I am one lucky SOB in many ways.
Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT have any business ties with SF now, but I just want everyone to know that my own feeling about me and John relationship.
Perhaps, we may have a little difference in how we do on things, but that's just a normal in my opinion when two different brains meet.
One thing for sure, John is a great man, engineer, scientist, and teacher that I can NOT exclude in my life story.

Again, sorry for talking out of this thread subject.
Apology
 

bykfixer

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^^ Thank you!!

If I was out of line (or incorrect) I sincerely appologize sir.

I hope you were not thinking I was saying things were bad between you two.

Quite the opposite. I was hopefully implying you were the daring one while he was the voice of reason. At least that's the way things I read seemed to be.

Like Soichiro Honda who was the race car designer and his partner Takeo Fujisawa who knew they had to sell cars for the business to survive.
Mr. Honda and Mr. Fujisawa were a great team.
I get the impression you and John Matthews were too.
 
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RWT1405

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Out of subject.
BUT, I feel I must clarify this:
John and pk stories may have been somewhat transmitted wrong to public in one way or another.
John has been always support of me and he never doubt about my intention or pursuing. Only people who was jealous about our ties talked to outside/inside and yet John always supportive of me.
Even something he should've not accepted... such as my drinking and womanizing issue as well... hahaha.
He was/is still a great boss who I respect so much and I consider him as my own Father. Just like he and his wife treated me as a member of family. I am one lucky SOB in many ways.
Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT have any business ties with SF now, but I just want everyone to know that my own feeling about me and John relationship.
Perhaps, we may have a little difference in how we do on things, but that's just a normal in my opinion when two different brains meet.
One thing for sure, John is a great man, engineer, scientist, and teacher that I can NOT exclude in my life story.

Again, sorry for talking out of this thread subject.
Apology


Thank you PK for responding and letting us in on a "little slice" of flashlight history!

And thank you bykfixer for another great thread!
 

bykfixer

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Thank you PK for responding and letting us in on a "little slice" of flashlight history!

And thank you bykfixer for another great thread!

Agreed. We're lucky to have his input. He's given us the lowdown of his new PR-1 as well.

One more Brinkmann to talk about and that is the MaxFire LX.

A rubber sleeved plastic number that uses a pair of 123's and a bi-pin bulb. That is about the only similarity between it and the Legend LX.

Plastic everything except two things you'd expect to be plastic...
Reflector is a lightweight metal and the lens is a thin glass.

This one has a lockout feature... at the front end. Yup, the head is where the lockout feature took place.
Genious!

The tailcap switch is easily removable and serviceable if you can find parts.
The button is a medium press versus the firm of the Legend.

The beam is fixed, and bright, completely round and artifact free.
Lots of spill to go with the nice pencil spot.

MaxFires can be had new at Amazon for about $20 shipped.

Don't know if ole Don Keller had input in the MaxFire, but whoever did built a pretty cool flashlight.
Now to see if I can source some bulbs....
(Don Keller was not involved in the MaxFire)

Thanks for the compliment RW.

Note broken links to pix removed and words shuffled around.
 
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RWT1405

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I had about 5 or 6 of those MaxFires, and I took those god awful P60L's I had and put them in the MaxFires and gave them to friends without a decent flashlight, it was the only good use for the P60L's I had.

I think I have 1 or 2 left.
 

RWT1405

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I also have a couple of the newer LED version, not bad lights at all.

I use them for back ups and such.
 

bykfixer

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^^ Hmmm, hadn't considered a Malkoff'd MaxFire.
Thanx for the idea.

P60L.

Two guys in a lab:
Fellow 1 "Eureka! Look at how bright"
Fellow 2 "And thermal regulated"

Both raise glasses in toast. "Clink"
Both take swig.
In walks secretary...

Secretary "Ugh, the tint is awful" then leaves.
Fellow 1 "Great run time"
Fellow 2 "what do girls know about flashlights?"

Both raise glasses. "Clink" take swig.
Fellow 2 "it is pretty ugly"
Fellow 1 spews beverage everywhere in laughter,
"Yeah you're right".

Fellow 1 "look at how bright it is"
Fellow 2 "and thermal regulated"

Raise glasses
"Clink"

Boss comes walking in lab while the 2 drunken lab lab guys have disco music blasting and are using twisty tail caps to have P60L's flash it's cold blue/gray tint on/off the the beat...

Boss "Whutthuhell?!?!?"

Lab guys shout "better run time" "thermal regulated" as they offer the boss a cold beer.
Boss "and look at how bright it is".

Nah, seriously the P60L was a giant leap forward in LED technology still being used in various cases in 016.
 
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