KEL-LITE INDUSTRIES

Cosmo7809

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Last weekend my neighbor was holding a garage sale. As I was getting into the car a long mag-lite looking item caught my eye. When I walked up to the table there was a beatup 5 D cell KEL-LITE for 2$. Ofcourse without question I bought it(working or not, know what it was) I know the neighbor was a NYC transit police officer so I knew the light has a lot of history. When I bought batteries the light fired up as if it was brand new the day it was bought, intact with the space bulb in the tail cap. Upon googleing(sp?) the light it now ranges from 50-75$ sometimes even more. I would say it was a good catch. Anyone know more about the light? Heres some pics

DSC01630.jpg

DSC01634.jpg

DSC01635.jpg

DSC01629.jpg

DSC01636.jpg


airsofter
 

Mike 208

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The Kel-Lite was the "original" metal police flashlight, coming out in the late 60's/early 70's. Production stopped circa 1979. You have what appears to be a late production model, with a medium head (Kel-Lites had 3 head sizes [small, large and medium], giving the user the choice of either a spot, flood or "in-between" beam). You also have the 3-position switch (off, intermittent and constant); the first models had a simple plastic slide switch, and the last models had a push button "forward" click switch (like a MagLite). I have several models (both "C" and "D" models) around the house. IMHO, you have a good piece of flashlight history.
 

ABTOMAT

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Kel-Lite was founded 1968-69, Don Keller left in 1972 and the company moved from Covina to Barstow, eventually went under and was bought out by Streamlight around 1983.

The metal combination switches started about 1976 and the medium head followed. Yours is probably towards to the end of the production run due to the knurled tailcap. Those were late on the scene. Also could be a replacement part--they were sold as spares.

The market prices of these things have been going up over the last couple years due to a couple very determined collectors, now it's fairly crazy. Ones that are for sale out of the spotlight (no pun intended) rarely attact much action and are usually $10 flashlights.

About a third of these are Kel-Lites, although the photo's now almost two years out of date.

lights9plus.jpg
 
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Aluminous

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There didn't seem to be a consolidated history of Kel-Lite anywhere, so I decided to try to piece one together.

1968 -- Kel-Lite Industries Inc. company is founded in Covina, California by Donald A. Keller, a former Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Basically invents heavy-duty aluminum flashlights.

~1972 -- Kel-Lite moves to Barstow, California.

1972 -- Donald Keller leaves Kel-Lite (goes on to work at various other companies designing flashlights, including Brinkmann, Mag-Lite, and ASP). Norman C. Nelson takes over as president of Kel-Lite.

1983 -- Kel-Lite is acquired by Streamlight.

1994 April -- Kel-Lite Industries Inc. is re-formed in Fort Worth, Texas (under KLS Enviro Resources Inc.) to acquire the business, assets, and manufacturing machinery of G. T. Price Products Inc., a defunct/insolvent flashlight manufacturer in Los Angeles, California.

1996 Feb -- Kel-Lite is acquired by Nordic Industries Inc.

~2003 -- Nordic Industries goes out of business.


Photos:
http://kel-lite911.com/default.aspx
http://www.flashlightmuseum.com/flashlights_list.cfm?method=browse&brand=Kel-Lite
 

ABTOMAT

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At some early point, Kel-Lite was located in San Dimas. Or at least had manufacturing there.

In addition to flashlights, Kel-Lite also made police batons, a yawara stick, the first revolver speedloader (Kel-Lite FirePower,) and a line of indoor plastic training ammunition (True-Blue.) Later on, they joined forces with Safariland for distribution purposes.

After Streamlight bought them the location was known as "Streamlight West." They sold slightly updated versions of Kel-Lite's final pushbutton design for a few years. First called the "Kel-Lite II" and then the "Excalibur." Streamlight also used a collection what I assume were leftover '70s era Kel-Lite parts to make a weird little 2C light with a twist bezel.

Another semi-realted fun flashlight fact: Both Kel-Lite and Mag-Lite had brands of flashlight they sold through industrial channels. Kel-Lites was "Stud-Lite" and Mag-Lite's was "Vari-Beam." The SL was off-the-shelf but the VB was done in electric blue and silver anodizing. It was supposed to be easy to find in a cluttered shop or vehicle. I assume both brands were dropped for the same reason--not many people were buying an unfamiliar name attached to a known company.
 

Aluminous

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Both Kel-Lite and Mag-Lite had brands of flashlight they sold through industrial channels. Kel-Lites was "Stud-Lite" and Mag-Lite's was "Vari-Beam." The SL was off-the-shelf but the VB was done in electric blue and silver anodizing.

Cool... are those what the two blue flashlights in your photo are?
 

lctorana

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Melbourne, Australia
Aluminous said:
...1994 April -- Kel-Lite Industries Inc. is re-formed in Fort Worth, Texas...
1996 Feb -- Kel-Lite is acquired by Nordic Industries Inc.
~2003 -- Nordic Industries goes out of business.
So when was the last Kel-Lite made?
 

novice

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Hi,
I have been 'lurking' here for the past year or so. I have learned a lot, but don't feel qualified to weigh in very often.
I bought a 4-C Kel-lite in 1976 to take with me on a somewhat extended overseas trip. It has what I think is the 'medium' head, and sliding black plastic switch. I kind of lost track of it until recently, when I decided that I wanted to make it more functional, even though it is just going to be a long-runtime backup car light, next to the spare tire. First I put in a 1-watt 'flange socket' led 'bulb' (although I wish there was something a little bit brighter). Then after reading a thread about aspheric lenses, and noticing how completely scratched my original plastic lens was, I measured the diameter, and found a workable aspheric lens from Surplusshed. I put an O-ring on top of the lens rim, and a really big O-ring to fill in the gap because the bezel doesn't close down completely. The entire thing looks funky as heck, but it works, and I like giving older things a new life. Any suggestions on how I might make this thing brighter? Thanks!
 

xcel730

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:faint:

Sick collection

Kel-Lite was founded 1968-69, Don Keller left in 1972 and the company moved from Covina to Barstow, eventually went under and was bought out by Streamlight around 1983.

The metal combination switches started about 1976 and the medium head followed. Yours is probably towards to the end of the production run due to the knurled tailcap. Those were late on the scene. Also could be a replacement part--they were sold as spares.

The market prices of these things have been going up over the last couple years due to a couple very determined collectors, now it's fairly crazy. Ones that are for sale out of the spotlight (no pun intended) rarely attact much action and are usually $10 flashlights.

About a third of these are Kel-Lites, although the photo's now almost two years out of date.

lights9c.jpg
 

SG688

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Oct 6, 2005
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128
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Illinois
I've not seen the optional D-ring end cap mentioned.


kelliteendcapdringca197.jpg




The stud for the D-ring is simply threaded and screwed into the cap.

kelliteendcapdringinter.jpg



Tangentially, Kel-Lite benefitted from the early Mag-Num Star focusing system. You don't adjust the position of the reflector, you adjust the bulb - by adding thin "spacers" as needed. Each bulb was provided with one 0.005" and four 0.010" spacers.

Trial and error. You had to be dedicated.

The pricetag on the back of the box is $7.99 - and that would have been around 1980 +/-.


magnumstarms4ca1980boxw.jpg
http://www.imageocean.net/
 
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SG688

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I dug deeper in my parts bin. This Streamlight Nova lamp also came with the focusing spacers.

streamlightnovalamp5cel.jpg
 
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ABTOMAT

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The Nova lamps are the ones I'm familiar with. I hadn't seen an early Mag lamp like that before.

The Tru-Grit light (early Kel-Lite knockoff) featured a screw-in tailcap ring similar to that. You could thread it into the inside for storage purposes. No spare lamp pocket. I'm unsure of the dates involved so I'm not sure who had it first. Kel-Lite had them by at least 1972, I believe.
 

SG688

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I bought my D-ring cap in 1977-78 --probably from a police supply store. No way to know if it was new or 'old stock' then.

You've inspired me so I'm scanning my inserts and catalogs. Interested? I also have 1979 Safariland and 1976 Bianchi catalogs.

Circa 1974 instructions from the box.

kellitemanual1970595795.jpg



Circa 1982.

kellitemanual1980p15957.jpg


kellitemanual1980p2colo.jpg
 
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Kel-Lite 911

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Hi, I would be very interested in any Kel-lite or Bianchi, LA Screw Prod.sales and production information you would be willing to share....Thanks Russell Kel-lite911.com
 

Aluminous

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Texas
I bought my D-ring cap in 1977-78 --probably from a police supply store. No way to know if it was new or 'old stock' then.

You've inspired me so I'm scanning my inserts and catalogs. Interested? I also have 1979 Safariland and 1976 Bianchi catalogs.

Circa 1974 instructions from the box.
http://www.imageocean.net/images/sr2n0ma0ggvlr1nw4lm.jpg

Circa 1982.
http://www.imageocean.net/images/jw66313uqs34muz296up.jpg

I'd just like to say "bravo" for having saved these (for 30 years, in good condition) and posting them. :twothumbs
 
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