Your Antique Flashlights in Review


CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
This one is a little off the beaten path as it were.

It's a post to show how the Asian made light has evolved.
A short back story.
As a kid all things American were considered superior. Most were well made items of high quality and durability. Asian made things were considered junk. This post will show some of why that was the thinking.

Now as time passed and manufacturing required faster, cheaper products churning out of American factories for a host of reasons I won't go into, quietly behind the scenes those Asian folks were getting good at copying us Yanks.

As you well know made in America is getting rarer by the day. Made in China is the norm.

In general we still invent everything. But they can make it at least as well for a lot less.

Recently at eBay I noticed a couple of vintage lights I thought perfect for this post. So I scooped them up.

First off the 2D Terra. The epitimy of why folks thought of Asian made as junk. But these days with CNC made everything the flaws are part of the charm.

Here it is versus a typical post 2000 light.
Note the crooked switch.
It's a 3 mode switch that when attempting to stop halfway is futile at best.

But I loved the paint job. They placed a thick coating over rippled junk metal to give it a smooth finish over a balled up alluminum foil now flattened appearance.

It aint even round.

At either end

And a seem? Are you kidding?
Inside the seem is well tucked together.

Hand made joint is cool today.
But in the past it was seen as inferior.

Threads don't match.
Good thing they were practically non existent. It's already difficult to replace the tail cap without cross threading.

Poorly machined bulb holder and non matching nail hook.

But all in all this thing puts out a pretty good amount of light with the supplied PR4.
Served a purpose in darkness.

Now the later 555 shows they were getting their act together.

This late 1960's, early 70's light showed flare of days gone by with a quality that met US made stuff that was beginning to achieve junk status by then.

Note the lens cushion.
Instead of the felt/ cardboard ring around the reflector they used a cushion-y material between the bezel and lens.
Also note the innovative tailcap innerds.

Substantial parts n pieces there.

Hideaway nail hook.

Good machinery and fastening inside.

Durable fixed bulb assembly

And the threads...
Quick battery swap is a breeze due to buttery smooth, accurate threads on the light at each end as well as items to be fastened.
Meanwhile American lights, even those by Burgess and other top quality makers had taken on a 'cheap' feel and lacked character.

Also note this was a focus changer.
This light, although made around the time Johnson or Nixon were president had a flare from American lights of the 1920's, 30's and 40's.

So by then Asian made good were quietly entering the US market. They costed less (due to the Asian made reputation as much as anything) yet were at least as good.

Fast forward to today...

And this is a typical $10 flashlight made in China.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Here's a fine example of American know how.
The 2C Olin.

No frills, nothing fancy.

All Olin. No mention of Bond.

Typical basic parts n pieces of 1950's lights.
With byfar the best boat switch I've had the pleasure of using.
It slides forward and backward with a precision of much more modern switches. Has definite 'clicks' at off, flash and on positions. Yet still uses the non slider strip on the inside.
Note, a boat switch was named because... well it looks like a boat. First used in the Eveready Automatic in 1939 and went to the 1960's. When moved it allowed internal items to either touch or separate to complete or interupt a circuit. They were typically clumsy and required finesse to operate quickly. They are also a reason many an old light stays on when batterys are inserted. (A bane in my life until I get my mind wrapped around its operation)

The Olin used a plastic bezel that when waved back and forth with it on acted as a traffic wand of sorts as light passed out of it's sides.
It was a selling point.

Borrowed from ''
Hope you don't mind David...

Reflector is 'crimped' to the bezel.
I do not know it a previous owner did this or Olin.

Were it not for the plastic bezel this would be an awesome light to hot wire with its all metal insides and glass reflector. But certainly a pair of low amp Lifepo 18500's and a 6 volt bulb like a 4 cell krypton Mag Star should add some wow factor.

I chose to use a modern PR 4 to preserve the HIPCO made bulb it came with.

At one point Franco became Yale, that became Bond that merged with Olin. This one is all Olin. It is a chrome plated tin bodied light with a chrome plated brass tail cap with copper spring and internal switch parts.
The reflector is chrome plated tin with a glass lens and all brass bulb fastener parts.

Empty it has a heft about it without feeling heavy.
Loaded it has a perfect balance with no head forward bias at all.

The PR4 makes a nice hotspot in this light. Unseen in the photo is a nice, ring free spill with a feathery edge due to light showing through the bezel.

Simply put, this is a wonderful flashlight.
It goes for about $20 these days and in many cases is named 'Bond', not Olin. Some Wincester tagged are out there too.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
^^ Thanks.
I'd heard 75 years as well. That would mean 1941 as the cut off.

So here goes a 1938 promo light by Burgess. It is by definition a super simple approach to an electric candle.

Basically a battery holder that in case of emergency could light up darkness.

After reading how CF Burgess had been instrumental in vast improvements of the dry cell battery, and was also instrumental in creating the standards for casings we now call C and D batteries, he set out on his own and started Burgess Battery Company. At some point he created lights for his batteries.

Well that piqued my interest to acquire a Burgess battery and a Burgess made flashlight. That was easy as they were still being made in the 1980's. Then one evening while trying to source a 2 cell Range Finder I stumbled onto this promo light.
A nice lady in North Dakota whose father used to sell Burgrss batteries was hoping to find a nice home for this one. It had never had batteries inserted and the bulb was put in another light a long, long time ago.

This side tells the why this was a give-away.

This side was pure advertizing.
The Burgess battery was considered among the best at the time. But during the Great Deppresion all kinds of folks did all kinds of give-aways to boost slumping sales. CF Burgess Labs was nearly defunct by 1938 and had to try something. They say timing is everything. This one paid off.

The switch...

A metal strip slid up or down to make or break contact with the bulb as the batteries also moved.

Outside view of the simple genious.

Note the raised stopping point.
This switch had never been used as shown by the lack of scratches where it touches the body.

Lensless silvered tin reflector.

No parts to fail.
Accurate stamping with a threaded portion to fasten a bulb...likely a #14 or something like that.

A rolled tin body with very nice joint.

Nice accurate thread alignment.
Makes me wonder if it was threaded post joint pinch.
Note the hole for hanging on a nail.

All in all this was a very inexpensive to produce little "sub" light that showcased the craftsmanship of the Burgess products of the time. I'm not able to determine if Charles Burgess was involved in the actual design of this one. I'm also currently not able to determine how many of these were made. But the nice lady in North Dakota said they were plentiful back then.

These go for about $40 in good to fair condition.
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Newly Enlightened
Jun 7, 2016
i really like the style these had back about 50 years or so. the antiques still work and look good.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Feb 28, 2001
London, UK (Parallel Universe)

That Burgess light is so cute! And I love the concept.
Wish manufacturers would do something like that now ...

I imagine you're going to put on a piece of transparent self-adhesive plastic to prevent the "switch" scratching the body?


CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
If it ever gets batteries, and a bulb I'll certainly protect the body from scratch by the switch.
Clear tape is a good idea sir.

But for now it's a piece in my museum of rare, one of a kind items like a comb my dad made at his station at work as a machinist, some stuff my wifes grandpa picked up in his world travels while in the military and stuff like that.


CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Todays light is a classic. Not antique, not vintage.
It's from sometime around the late 1960's to early 70's.
The Dog Supply House search and rescue mentioned here previously on page 1.

At 19-1/4" long with a 3-1/2" reflector it's a biggy.

It was 6D light with an extension for 7th.

Not for the squeemish going in.

Now reportedly the batteries will last 15-30 hours.
The PR-18 on the other hand is not so durable. The Mag Krypton I installed is rated 9-11 hours.
The USA made GE PR18 it arrived with did fine with 6 cells. It lasted about 12.2 seconds with the 7th. Luckily I had a cache of 7D bulbs in stock.

The light is a steel number with copper plated ends.

Note a bit of copper missing.

This was probably not a very expensive light to produce, but it is well made. Threads are nice n crisp for ease of reassembly, and things fit together nicely.

It's a pretty basic boat switched setup.
Copper (coated) spring, plastic bulb fastener with lots of copper on the inside. Lens has a protrusion for contact of the non sliding metal strip that completes the circuit when the boat switch is slid forward.

Copper plated switch is labeled
This is the sort with a fixed metal strip where the inside of the switch makes or breaks the circuit.

Inside view of this type.
1 touches...

1 on the inside.
Note these 2 pix are from another light.

In this case the body conducts electricity.
Can't speak for others but I don't want to use big amp rechargeables in this one as things stand.
Shocking experiences from a flashlight are not on my bucket list.

The head is simple.
Well fitting parts assemble to hold the weighty metal smooth reflector in place and the thick plain glass lens adds a nostalgic feel while providing scratch resistance while searching out people in the woods behind a blood hound.

Geez-Louise that thing is shiney.

But what about the beam?

Not bad.
Nothing too impressive it seems...

Until your neighbor says "oh no, he got another new light."
It's a nostalgic thrower for certain. But it also puts out a nice wide spill for checking uneven terrain for clues.

I lucked up and found this one at a great price on the West coast of America. It costed more to ship than to buy.

The Minimag showed up the same day so I thought, why not?

It's in great shape and works flawlessly.
I have not found much written about Dog Supply House except that they made big flashlights in the late 60's and early 70's.

Their typical light looks like Duo Tint lights or Fulton Kwik-Lites of the 1950' and 60's. So I wonder who made what?

Top to bottom:
Duo Tint 3D
Dog Supply House 3D
Fulton Kwik-Lite 3D
That Royal extension will fit all 3. Tail caps, bulb assemblies and contact points are all the same principle and parts....

I have this...

On the way.
Highly reccomended by veteran flashlight collectors.
Maybe it'll provide more details about the Dog Supply House lights.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Today I received a 2nd one of these 2D Burgess lights from what seems to be the late 1940's/ early 1950's. It came with an art deco Tom Thumb. But this post is about the Burgess.

Both arrived in working condition.
Matter of fact both were in great condition. Nice outside, fabulous inside.

The Burgess is a simple, straight forward light that used a "boat" switch that doubles as a signaler.

In the off position a push of the recessed red button causes momentary contact of an internal plate with another plate that touches the lens.

Pushing the button does similar to this one...

But it touches this strip that touches the lens.

To turn the light on you push in the red button and slide the switch forward. The red button triples as an unintended turn on preventer.

A non conductive collar around the reflector keeps the circuit break switch working proper.

I mentioned this is the 2nd of these. I learned the hard way on the 1st one how things work. It's now a parts light.

The body is a 12-side-agon chrome plated brass.

The lens is a nice thick glass

The tin reflector is silver plated

And this was is still real nice.
Note the minty condition of the anti conductive ring around the reflector.

The spring in the tail cap touches said tail cap at one end and batteries at the other end.

The sum of the parts.

The GE PR2 is stamped USA.

The body allows the use of alkaline batteries. Using the supplied PR2 bulb I'd speculate it puts out 20-30 candles worth of light with a nice spot in the center and a good wide spill.

Note the shadow from the extra 'arm' that extends off the filament and protrudes to the tip of the lens.

This particular light burns nice n bright without touching a single thing. Everything was so clean, it'll get a once over at some point but as of this writing it's not required. It was dropped a couple of times or used as a hammer one as evidenced by a couple of minor dings. But it's a fine example of a post WW2 flashlight.

Butt shot next to the 1aa Tom Thumb

Next up:
This generic Bright Star made 'house light' circa 1970's.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
So onto the generic light.
I was told it's a Bright Star. That is correct. But digging deeper I learned some stuff.
In this case Pittsburg Pa was home to a company called H&H Manufacturing who was contracted by Bright Star to build them. They are since defunct. (Imagine that, a steel company in Pittsburg is gone). But in about 1980 they were still making lights for Bright Star.

Note the riveted plaque on this one sold as a Bright Star

No plaque was ever applied to the generic one in this topic.

So by 1979/80 a flashback look was still in vogue. Kel-Lites n Bianchis were cop lights. Mag was just getting going in California. Meanwhile folks were still buying cheap 'wack-a-palm' lights by the million from Eveready, Rayovac and other big name makers.

Although this was probably a buck 99 flashlight it was still well built using current at the time parts and pieces.

Plastics where practical and metal where necessary.

The reflector is a shiney mirrored potato chip thin alluminum.

Pretty shiney.

The PR4 was held in by a molded plastic keeper that probably lasted a good while back then due to a wall thickness. It aint easy to pull out and fits tight like a precision made screw in type.

The lens it arrived with is a really thin piece of soft plastic. Being typical cheap plastic of the time coupled with me likely setting non anti-roll shaped number bezel down a lot, I opted to swap lenses.
Vintage glass allowed the filament of the bulb to cast a weird beam. So I put in water glass. Even worse.
It seems that cheapo plastic reflector actually diffused some ugly. But it'll looked sanded soon. What to do? Having some leftover polycarbonates from the March Magness purchase from flashlight lens .com I settled on a hard coat ultraclear poly.

Fits pretty good. And diffuses enough ugly to be suit me. I think it's like 93% transparent.

Nothing fancy at the tail end. Just a simple spring that rests inside the tailcap.

The switch is similar to the one described in the Burgess mentioned above. But it has Bright Star style.

Inside the light things are fixed with plastic insulated rivets. The mentioned Burgess used leather.

The outside has positive points using dimples. Dimples and a slider that finds the dimples very well.

The beam is a medium hot spot with a bunch of spill. No shadow from the bulb like the previous mentioned Burgess though. I'll blame/thank the polycarbonate lens.

Besides the switch my favorite touch of this one is the precision threads. No slop or flop and makes reassembly a breeze.
For a late 70's, early 80's budget flashlight this one is a snowflake in a coal mine. Well made enough to be noticed vs any lights of the time.

This post and the one speaking of the 2D chrome Burgess were purposed to show that in about 1979 the more things changed the more they stayed the same.
Burgess and Bright Star were a cut above. And any product made by either at any point of their respective histories were well made.

2 days before incan day edit:
Welp so much for this house light being a tru valu...

Those had plaques too.

Makes me wonder if the eBay seller had found some at a Bright Star/H&H klepto sale where some were plucked off the assembly line pre-plaque apply....
One of the reasons I like generics. Imagination is fun.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Ok, here are 2 Francos from about 1915-ish that will appeal to those not squeemish about getting a fickle flicker or non working light going (and keeping it going).
I showed them recently in the restore thread, but wanted to show in inner workings in greater detail.
I found both to have interesting ways of conducting electricity along a rubber body.
I also found them to have interesting lenses.

Lastly I found them very difficult to get going, run proper and have one of them stay running proper.

Left is a 2D miner light
Right is a 'baby' (2C) miner light.

Both have rubber bodys with nickle plate over brass treatments. Both have silver plated metal reflectors. Both have 'fisheye' glass lenses. Both use fixed brass metal strips with a circuit breaking/fixing switch. Both use screw in E10 size bulbs. Both were vastly different in their approach of projecting light than the other.
Here's where things begin to separate.

The baby is a pure spill approach with a magnifier lens, and a fairly deep light orange peel reflector.

Note the slight texture.

It had a Mazda bulb when it arrived.

The pure light spreader lens.

I put in a magnifying tip'd 222 for a wee bit of spot. Idea being to gain a few feet of useable light as this one is a 10' x 10' 2am room lighter. But adding the 222 allows the throw to be useable for about 12-15' in a dimly lit room.

The 2D on the other hand used a 2 stage reflector to achieve a nice broad spot with a ton of spill.

A nice, smooth shiney reflector.
Note the supplied bulb had a light spilling magnifying globe vs clear glass type.
I used a #14 to achieve a brighter spot. With the magnifier there was a nicer blend but throw suffered.

The supplied bulb
It is now in my 'bulb museum'

The mellow convex lens has a bifocal shape.

Gives a definite hot spot.
The 2D lights a room as least as well as the baby but adds distance to the useable light. 2am darkness is lit some 40+ feet with this one. (That's the length of my house and it lit things end to end)

Almost forgot, the 2D also has a flasher switch.

A button that when pushed in causes an internal protruding metal part to contact the the hidden metal strip between the lens and switch. When slid forward the 'slider' causes that button to stay pressed against said parts.
Simple genious.

Neither of these are useful for todays lit up city streets. But in the days of New Yorks gas lamp street lights they probably gave a sense of cofidence to ladies walking home alone after 9pm or lit shadows well for police men.

These things also varied vastly in how they conducted electricity end to end.

The baby used the typical inner body array of spring, metal strips, and rivets (or eyelets) to transfer electricity from battery, to tail cap, across the rubber and to the bulb.

Your typical brass strips fastened to the rubber from tail cap to lens with a bridge in the middle.
The bridge is where this one was the most interesting, yet troublesome.

Looks simple enough, right?
Slide metal forward, metal now touches metal and viola.... but it aint that simple.
Hidden underneath of that slider is a brass 'sled' of sorts that has to touch a rivet properly when slid forward.
This is where things got tricky. Both in terms of the genious of this light, and in getting this aggrevating so n so going and staying going.

The rear rivet in the pic is a parasitic drain stopper of sorts. When the sled is towards the tail end it rests on that one, which uses the rubber as a ground.
The front one conducts electricity through the metal strips. When the sled is pushed forward it rests on that one and seemingly the switch assists in electrical conduction.
Cleaning both rivets and the eyelets fastening the switch to the body made it go. But cleaning the sled kept it going.
Enough about that.
I just wanted to show how a seemingly dead flashlight can go again with all things considered. Pretty amazing the detail involved with such a simple looking configuration.
Thank goodness nobody copied this switch. Ugh!

The 2D on the other hand was an approach where nothing inside the tube would damage the fragile cardboard casing of a battery pack, and any acid leak would stay isolated from electrical parts.

This one freaked me out at first.
Luckily flashlight guru Steve Gitterman answered my email quickly.
I had a theory but Steve confirmed my thought.

There is metal strips between an inner and outer wall on this one. Nice idea, but bad when things go wrong.

This was the only visible metal and it is above battery location.

Unseen in the photo, but spotted when light was shone in the gap is a metal strip that rests against the tail section.
My ohm check caused a chirp between the switch and the tail section about the time Steve told me what-was-what.

Cleaning rivets got electricity past the switch.
Now from the switch to the lens is a hidden strip between the switch and inner strip, that is fastened to the rivet which fastens the strip inside the tube that goes to the lens. Hope that sentence made sense.

This one did not have a spring in the tail cap. Perhaps cell packs protruded into the tail cap? All I know is modern Rayovac carbon zincs do not. So I added a spring to bridge the gap between cells and the tail cap.

Ok that was 2 ideas by Franco a long time ago. They probably seemed like a good idea back then? But geez-Louise do we know better these days. Yet they were devised when fresh ideas were popping up on a regular basis in the days of this budding new invention called a flashlight. These were ones that went from blossoms to blooms in terms of getting electricity from point A to B using rubber tubes instead of cardboard while keeping them affordable. These were for the average person in terms of durabilty, usefulness and cost.

The other option back then were fancy silver plated brass tubes. They were for 'the Prince of Whales', lawyers or the more sophisticated user.

That is for another time.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
It's another time. So time to talk about a fancy light from back in the day.

The nickle plated Franco miner light.

This has the proverbial 'high pyramid' switch.
There was also one like it with a lower profile, but otherwise similar switch and operation.

This one is pretty basic.
A tin cone with silver applied to the light bulb side and a light orange peel added. Tailcap is a simple spring, lens is a quarter moon magnifier. And the bezel holds the lens and reflector assembly to the changeable head.
The E10 (Edison threads, 10mm wide) size bulb it arrived with was an old hong kong GE #14. I'm guessing it was not original. I put in a Chicago Miniature #14.

This light was apparently an early Lego product in that there was a lamp assembly available that matches the width of the body as well as one even wider than the one this arrived with.

Like I said, it is a pretty basic setup.
This one uses 2 C batteries. The body allows modern alkaline size due to it being set up for C cell packs. A cell pack was a certain number of cells in series with a cardboard wrapping around them.

A bit of history:
Cell packs made for a slightly oversized combination vs single cells of today. So these lights have a battery rattle.
Lights made for 'mono cells' were narrower. The single cell at the time was about the same size as a current carbon zinc cell. So any old light with the words 'mono cell' were early 1 at a time battery chambers that are generally too narrow to house modern alkalines. But luckily Rayovac still makes the yellow cased carbon zincs. The yellow case btw is a 100th anniversary thing begun in 2014. So when this light was made Rayovacs were not yet. End history part.

A sorta sketch of how it works.
A spring touches battery and tailcap. Battery series touches bulb. A simple ring surrounds the reflector to break that circuit. A simple strip of copper is fastened to the pyramid switch via eyelets. (I use the words rivets, but they are eylets that act as rivets). Switch slides a 'tongue' at the business end of the copper strip, which re-connects the circuit.
We take that sorta thing for granted. But in circa 1911 that was a novel idea.

This picture shows the circuit interupting ring, the tongue on the slider and the riveted eyelets that fasten the switch to the conductor strip.

When all things are not proper, like the reflector touches the bezel because the interuptor ring is out of position, the light stays on all the time. If the conductor strip or rear of the reflector cone are tarnished the light will not turn on.
(Note this one had both issues. So once I got it to light it would not turn off.)

This was an early edition of this one.
Pat Applied for. But I do not know what the patent was for. Pyramid switch? Maybe. Nickle plated body? I dunno. The slider had already been done and a fisheye lens was nothing new. Perhaps it was the lamp assembly swap system.

The beam is a pure flooder. Unlike other old fisheye lenses this one has no ring at the outside edge thanks to a bezel whose edge folds over the lens.
It is a room lighter like others which throws about as far as the spill is wide.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Man I love it when an old light arrives working. Or if not a simple bulb swap gets it going.

The two I'll speak of in this were just that. One worked when I slid in fresh cells while the other only needed a new bulb. Yesssss.

Both lights were "pre" lights.
First was "pre"- Fulton buy out of Kwik-Lite. A 1x AA little number that arrived with a busted bulb. Circa 1940's.

The other a "pre" Rayovac. A nickel plated 2D miner light. Circa 1920 or 21.

Both have a novel switching system, which is why I picked them to post here. Plus I thought it would be cool to tell a bit of Kwik-Lite and Rayovac history.
But for now I must get ready for work. Later I'll speak of the Kwik-Lite as it has been evaluated and restored. The Ray-O-Lite just arrived so I'm still getting to know that one. I'm pretty excited about that one. Had it not been for some tarnish and switch wear I might have thought it was a duplicate as the inside was so sparkling...

More later.
It's later.

At one point in history the venerable double A battery was devised to use in vest pocket flashlights instead of the less than ideal wet cell technology. At some point vest pocket flashlights fell out of favor with the public but... the little double A had been proven to be a pretty good source of fuel to light a tungsten bulb. The 1 aa flashlight idea had begun using a pistol shaped number by Franco. A bullet shaped light was also made. Numerous ideas took place with one called 'lipstick' lights. At some point a miniature flashlight was seen as distinctly practical. But switches were less than ideal.

As fate would have it plastics were being developed for war and other purposes. The Usoma company was one such innovator. They also made flashlights called "Kwik-Lites" beginning in the late 1920's. A budding company named Fulton began in the late 1930's. They were doing flashlights and other items and were exploring these new fangled plastics. They bought Usoma to have access to their plastics know how in or about 1941.

Well Fulton stayed with Kwik-Lite products until the late 1940's, then the name Kwik-Lite was dropped along with metal lights made by Fulton. For a while a Kwik-Lite had the location of Fulton Industries stamped on Kwik-Lite products. It is fuzzy exactly when that began versus Fulton owned Kwik-Lite products without the Fulton location.

The little 1aa is a patent applied for number. I have yet to scour patents to see what the patent was for but suspect it was for the switch which was a slider with a positive 'click' point to remain in the on position. All other 1aa sliders I own regardless of age do not have that feature.

The light is a nickel plated brass with nickel plating inside the barrel as well. The (inner) switch parts and tail cap spring are both copper. The bulb assembly has a soft plastic wrap around it to isolate that from the body.

The lens is plastic and the reflector is a chrome'd alloy of some type.

Oh, the bulb assembly is copper.

I believe this light to be a post WW2 made product.

It shined up real nice.

I'll talk about the Ray-O-Lite in a day or two after getting more familiar with it's unique method of conducting electricity to the bulb via an inner spring socket that moves with the slider switch.
Eh, I wanna shine it up a bit as well.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Continuing the previous, I had some time to spend with that Ray-O-Lite and my gosh was I fortunate with that one. Looking at the eBay pics it looked to be in good, solid condition. It worked without any hassle too. But when I began to evaluate it was when I realized just how well this number had been taken care of. Like I said, at first I thought it was a fake.

No tarnish on the brass spring.

Silver plating rivals modern mirrors.

No scratches on the lens.

And inside was immaculate!

Outside was dull with some silver plating worn off but knowing Mothers mag wheel polish works safely on plating I gave it a good once over.

Oh yeah. So far so good.

Right on!

Love it when the tail cap sparkles.



But why I picked this light for this thread was the switching system.
In the above photo you can see the typical slider of that time. A bent strip of brass that slides up n down to make the piston contact or not with to the reflector, not the usual strip touches reflector deal.

The strip touches where the 'patent applied for' is written. That in turn moves an internal 'piston' to contact the reflector.

The piston recessed.

A bykfixer electronic 'napkin' drawing.

This one had me baffled for a while.
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CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
Speaking of baffled...


This Franco toy pistol light from 1912-15 arrived


A part is missing, but I have no idea what it was


Pull trigger back pushes contacts forward


Pushes spring forward to contact bulb


Original bulb filament intact.

Basically these were early products by Franco and are very, very scarce. They were made circa 1912 to about 1915.
About 1915 Conrad Hubert bought Franco and named it Yale. He used the design of the Franco pistol to make an Ever Ready pistol. Those were made about 1915 to about 1921. They too are scarce but not like Francos. This light is highly sought after by collectors. I lucked up and got it for under $40 delivered yet.. being that a piece of proprietary metal is missing really lowers the value, but not the desire to own one.

It uses an e10 bulb so at some point I'll install a #222 in this 2x AA light and make it a thrower. Original bulb was an 'opalecent' type which is really really difficult to find so I'll stash the original bulb in the bulb collection.

I haven't done much research on these lights thinking I'd never find one so why bother...
When I find out more details such as how folks obtained them back when, who the typical user of this rich man's toy was and if possible some numbers...


A Birmingham AL newspaper ad circa 1915
Apparently they used flashlights as prizes for youngsters selling newspapers kinda like these days where the kid in school #28 who sells the most peanut butter flavored gummy bears wins a shiney new bike or that sort of thing.
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Flashlight Enthusiast
Mar 17, 2001
dayton oh
iirc pr bulbs came out in 1935.
Whilst I could be wrong... it has features that remind me of the Ray-O-Vac styled lights from that period, to confirm any suspicions you could always punch that patent code into google and see what appears :thumbsup:

Here's one of my pieces a Ray-O-Vac 2C "Baby" Bullet circa 1930 featuring...

  • Glass lens
  • Silver plated reflector (what's left of it)
  • Cardboard insulation pieces
  • Powered by 2 x C cells
  • Brass internal components
  • On/off/Momentary switch
  • Switch mounted via 4 rivets
  • Rayovac cloud logo featured on tail
  • Plated brass body/bezel
  • PR flange bulb



Newly Enlightened
Nov 24, 2012
Since mine had been used (only slightly), I thought it would be worth giving it a test! Wish I'd thought of the clear tape idea, but the body already had a scratch, so no biggie. Used with generic zinc-chloride D-cells and a 2.5V E10 bulb. There's no real beam pattern to speak of, as you'd expect (of course my reflector is in pretty rough shape, so no surprise).




CPF Supporter
Aug 9, 2015
My own little Idaho
If you'd like it to throw better consider a #222 or 224 bulb. Focus tip globe that acts like a magnifier. Used in doctor pen lights to shine the beam into ear canals and such.


Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
Really loving this thread! So much input Mr. Fixer! :popcorn:

If you don't already have it Bill Utley's Flashlights book has a wealth of information on Eveready as well as write ups on some of the early flashlight manufacturers.
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Newly Enlightened
Nov 24, 2012
Thanks - good suggestion, but I just wanted to take photos of it working in what I hoped was the most authentic configuration. It's in my display of rare lights now!