When i was 3 or 4 i got my first flashlight. A 9 led crappy 3 tripple a flashlight. It all snowballed outa control from there. First broke quick, so i got more and more cheap ones. Carryed them everywhere by 5th grade i had a whoke graveyard of these cheap things one after another they broke and i combined 3 to make 1 good one. Got sick of it in 5th grade so i spent 20 bucks on a mini mag led pro, 2aa 272 lumen. Lasted me about 5 years with lots of abuse, bright but not enough to scratch the brightness itch i had. Anyhow during that 5 years After the buying the maglight i started buying old maglights used cheap, and incandecent antuiqe flashlights, learned quick there not bright enough so tryed converting them to led. Wwll middle school me understood simple dc electricity from wiring stuff on trucks and whatnot. Anyhow first real light i built was a 4 c cell maglight with a xhp70 led if im not mistaken, choked up by cheap ali express drivers, held to the stock switch with a copper coupler, lots of epoxy and a ground down aluminum heat sink. 2 18650s ran it that i salvaged out of a ryobi 18v battery that went thru a rain storm. Sanded pvc pipe spacer with a bolt to take up the space. A quarter to widen the head of the bolt for the spring. Then i built a watercooled flashlight out of a xhp70.2 solidered to a copper pipe, 12vfish tank pump, camera reflector, scrap wood, a moterspeed controler, buck voltage regulator, x2 4 18650 battery holders. And alot of wires salvaged from some computer psu's. After the minimag wore out i bought a olight m2r, took some machine shop classes in 4th year of highschool and decided to actually build flashlights right, using my dads hand me down lathe which was my great grandfathers back in the day re do some of the lights i built, and convert some vintage lights aswell. Any how enough rambling im hooked and i cant stop. 4th generation to use that lathe so it has a little wear and tear but runs great despite being from the 20s or 30s.
As mentioned by others, back in the day Maglites were the best. Massive and could be used as a club, & at the time relatively bright. Fast forward to today with LED's getting brighter, more efficient and batteries with more and more capacity - it's amazing how many lumens even small lights can output and with long run times. I'm intrigued by the continuing march to brighter lights in compact EDC form factors. Amazing that in your hand you can exceed the brightness of a car headlight!