KEL-LITE INDUSTRIES

4xdog

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Feb 20, 2013
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For Christmas 1978 (or 1979 -- memory fades...) I wanted to give my brother one of those heavy-duty flashlights we saw the police carrying. I was in college, he was in high school. machined aluminum, black anodized flashlight just wasn't something you could run down to Walmart to buy in southeastern Ohio in those days. There really weren't tactical flashlights in those days. In fact, there weren't Walmarts there those days either.

I found one at a police supply store on the near south side of Columbus. A narrow-head, 3-D Kel-Lite, s/n DA909723. Dave loved it and kept it close at hand for decades. When he passed away unexpectedly and far too young three years ago it came back to me. It's a bit worn, but not near worn out. I use it every few days it seems. Not the brightest light I have and a big honker for its output. But it just feels right. It'll be around long after others will be forgotten.

Good products and good design just lasts. These old Kel-Lites are a classic. Thanks to all for the info in this thread.

Don
 

Jarvert2007

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Feb 21, 2014
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I came across this forum today looking for a new plastic lens for my Kel-Lite 7 C cell baton light. It has some scratches and a little discoloration. I have had mine since about 1975. I worked security for Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester (NY) putting my way through school. At that time, we were not allowed to carry batons, so the Kel-Lite was a "legal" alternative for us.

As advertised, it was very durable and this light has gone through 1/4 plywood, window glass and even the back window glass of an automobile. It was a tool, as well as a flashlight.

One last note on this light . . . I have the "judo" cap on the end of it. That is the cap that offers a small extension in length, with special edging cut into it by what I image was a lathe.

I still keep this light next to the driver's seat in my car. I never know when I may need to see something in the darkness.
 

Jarvert2007

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Feb 21, 2014
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I bought my Kel-Lite 7 "C" cell flashlight in 1975. I was working security for Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester as a way of paying for college. We weren't allowed to carry batons, so the Baton-Lite was a great alternative. It had great light output and enough heft, that it went through 1/4 inch ply wood, window glass and car window glass in emergency situations.

Something that I added to mine was the "Judo" end cap. This cap, apparently spun on a lathe had edges cut into it.

I still use my Kel-Lite. I am about to feed it another 7 c cells. The winter cold has not been kind to the ones that were in it.

I discovered this forum, when I went to search for a replacement plastic lens (this one has scratches and some minor discoloring). Also, I was looking for the best bulb on the market for it.
 

Gratefulcaver

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Aug 9, 2014
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10
"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."

I think I just found one of these at our local Flea Market ...
 

PHeller

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Jul 18, 2009
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I have a Streamlight Excalibur with the rubber bullseye switch (1970's?) I think I'd try to and modify it, but it appears to have a different switch system than the Maglite's allen key. How do you remove it?
 

1011Tristar

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Mar 3, 2007
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Buffalo, NY & Franklin, MA (Boston 'burb)
Jarvert2007 - Hi... I bought my 3 cell Kel-Lite, and then my 6-cell (both C) when working as a student officer at RITs Protective Services in 1977 & 1978...small world!

I still have my 6 cell - it's in pretty good shape, but does show some signs of use. The tail cap shows that it was made in Barstow. About seven or eight years ago I found a Kel-Lite Batonlite on Craigslist. The gentleman selling it used to work in or own a police supply store, and this light was left over. It was never used...it just has some marks from knocking around the store. It's a C cell model, is 18" long, has a stainless steel (from what I was told) bezel, and a slightly rounded tail cap. The odd thing is that other than the serial number, there are no markings on the light. The Kel-Lite name isn't there, no place of manufacture,... and nothing on the tail cap, either. Somewhere I even have the paperwork that came with the light. Does anyone have an idea what it's worth?
 
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Pleasantp

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Oct 27, 2015
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Hi there, you have quite a collection of Stud-lites. I'm coming to you for information. I have two 7D cell and two 5C cell lights, with small lenses. One 7D is brand new and still in the box. The other is used, but in excellent condition. It's a rare blue anodized finish. The two 5C lights are used but in excellent condition. I'm thinking of selling, but have no idea of what they are worth. Can you help me with the value of these? These are from the early 1970s.

Thanks
Kim
[email protected]




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
 

Sneakyblonde

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Feb 2, 2019
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Hi all,
I am new here.
I know this is an older thread, but like me, someone might stumble on it and find this information helpful.
I ordered Kel-ite replacement parts from the Kel-ite website.
I wasn't sure of the exact part, so I included my phone number.
This morning I got a call from Mr. Don Keller himself!
I have my original Kel-ite parts on the way!
If you have repair questions or need parts, the Kel-ite site is the place to go.
Mr. Keller was very helpful. He spends his spare time buying old Kel-ite flashlights and selling used parts.
He mentioned he was a former L.A. cop and told me part of his fascinating history.
I hope this helps all of you find parts for your much beloved and and slightly abused Kel-ite flashlights.
I have used my 5 cell "C" daily, since I bought it in the early 1970'S, until recently when the spring went missing. I am thrilled to have an original replacement part on the way.
 

bykfixer

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Aug 9, 2015
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15,001
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My own little Idaho
Awesome!!
I regret not commenting on this post until today.

Good to know you got parts and that Don is still doing well.
 
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