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Thread: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

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    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Just wondering what company introduced the Led lighting technology first, and what was the name of the first led flashlight.

    Thnx!
    Alex

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    Flashaholic* RonM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    That is an excellent question. Wish I had an answer. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Someone here is bound to know. Most likely Craig.

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    *Flashaholic* Icebreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    What RonM said.

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I heard that the first company to manufacture a LED flashlight (other than the many red lights available) was HP to showcase their (then) high brightness yellow 5mms. It was a squeeze cell type.

    The first company to manufacture stepups (single and multiple cells)/regulators and microcontrollers in a LED flashlight was HDS Systems of Tucson AZ. Henry's original design was a multi-LED flashlight powered by 2AA cells. He quickly followed it up with a headlamp powered by a single lithium cell. He also was the first guy I know to make a mag LED (complete with stepup of course) conversion kit. This was all happening way back in 97' and 98'.

    First to sell Luxeon powered LED flashlights was Arc over a year ago.

    Peter Gransee

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    Flashaholic* Wolfen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Hey Peter, You may be the first to do the Luxeon thing, but do you have a patent to "prove" it? Sorry couldn't resist. We are behind you 100 percent. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    PS: I want a LS3 by 15 March 2003.

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Thanks. Ah patents... I shouldn't get started on that soapbox.

    Actually, no one can patent the concept of using a luxeon in a flashlight since we have been selling them for at least one year. Statue of limitations.

    This means everyone is now free to design their best luxeon powered flashlight.

    Of course, someone with money to burn could patent the housing design, switch or unique software mode of the MC, etc of their LS-powered light. But at least no single company has a monopoly on any lights with a luxeon.

    Peter

  7. #7

    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Originally posted by AlexGT:
    Just wondering what company introduced the Led lighting technology first, and what was the name of the first led flashlight.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">The first LED flashlight I saw was distributed (made?) by C Crane Co. This was in 1998. Can't remember the name. Prior to that there was the Photon Micro Light, not what I would call a "flashlight," but I suppose it would fit someone's definition. This came onto the market around 1995.

    nk

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    Flashaholic* Sean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    The first one I know of is the Nighthawk Microlight. It has a velcro strap and goes on your finger. I bought it about 8 years ago. It uses a yellow 5mm LED. The instructions say "the same technology used by Desert Storm helicopter pilots". The original batteries still work. [img]graemlins/icon14.gif[/img]


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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I bought a red LED key ring light that I believe was made by Techna (made knives) about 15 years ago. It was bullet shaped and had a big lens in one end and the battery tube was titanium. Cool light! Momentary push button from the rear.

    - Don

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I converted the Radio Shack 2AA flashlight with the thumbwheel, and making an LED light about 1974 using a 5mm LED that I took from a PCB at a Surplus Store

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    INRETECH beats me by about 5 years. I used 2AAs form RadioShack and a red LED/resistor. It was in a small jewelry box with a paperclip/brass brads kind of switch. Convinced the poor neighbor woman in was a bomb. Later I convinced her not to look in her garage as we had hidden the missing stealth fighter in there. I'm not sure if it's me or her, but I think it's her. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] I'm not *that* convincing.

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I purchased my first Hologram from Edmund, and found that if you go in a dark room - you could view it with the LED

    The flashlight looked just like one of those disposable cig-lighters and even had the same thumbwheel action to turn it on and off

    My first LED that I ever bought was from United Radio in 1973, the MV-50 for $0.86 - it was just a small round piece of plastic with two very fragile rect leads coming out of it

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I'm pretty sure Don is correct, (first COMMERCIALLY available LED light), and it was more than 20 years ago when Tekna came out with it. I purchased one around 1980. It was a neat little light. Mine had a red LED. As Don mentioned, it had the then revolutionary use of titanium, (for the body), and was hyped more for that than the use of an LED. I thought ti was very neat but couldn't understand why EVERYTHING else, (except for the metal push button on the back), was made of regular plastic. Alas, because of that, it fell apart after a couple years on my keychain.

    Tekna was a very innovative little company during those years. When manufacturers in those days just made the same old "blah" flashlights, they always were coming out with really unique lights. In fact I just traded away a couple of their single 123 cell keychain lights, ("Splash-Lite" and "Mono-Lith"), that were the very first to use lithium cells. I still have one of their 4 AA cell, super thick, ABS plastic, orange dive lights. It is still one the most rugged and durable flashlights I've ever seen and still works great. They even offered an unheard of, (for that time), Xenon gas bulb upgrade for it. They really lead the way for some of the neat lights we have today.

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Gene,

    I didn't want to date myself and my memory sucks anyway but I felt it was more than 15 years ago as well :-) I too was disappointed in the use of plastic and my light also died but I kept the Ti cylindar and ended up using it on something. Tekna was ahead of the times but couldn't cut the changes over time, I guess. They had a double edged dive knife with cool locking scabard that was also ahead of its time. As I recall, the light was between $15 and $20 which was a bit steep at those day's prices but the technology was from the future.

    - Don

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    The earliest LED 'flashlight' that I ever bought was a 'portable safe light' for darkroom use. It was a little pendant with a couple of yellow LEDs, a switch, and space for a couple of AA batteries. Not very bright, but who would want it to be; you'd fog your paper. This was in 1985 or so.

    -Jon

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Don,
    I too kept that ti body after the light died! Good point on the knife as I remember that dive knife well. Tekna was as well known for their innovative knives as their lights. In fact I still have one of their old "Extra Edge" keychain knives on my keychain as I type this. Their most popular and most controversial knife however was the "Hidden Edge". The HANDLE retracted exposing the blade. Our wise lawmakers made them take it off the market because it was too much like a switchblade. Aren't we lucky that we have such caring, intelligent politicians that watch out for all us simple folk? :&gt

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    ! ! !

    Thanks, Gene, I'd totally forgotten that ol' "Hidden Edge" Tekna I used to have.

    Even before I had one of those titanium Tekna LED lights, Rockwell (one of our suppliers) was giving out odd little cheapo LED lights for advertising.

    They were about 1/4 inch thick and maybe 1 1/2 by 2 inches with a small, dim red LED. The company name address, and phone number was printed on the side, and there was a ball chain to attach it to keys or whatever. This was late '70's early '80's?

    If I recall, some other vendors had similar that they used for advertising.

    [img]http://home.earthlink.net/~zip98498/tomsig01.g

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I seem to recall an earlier "light" sold by Edmund Scientific. If I'm remembering right, it was sold about 20~25 years ago. Small round clear plastic case housing a either a NiCad beer can or a electrolytic capacitor. Single yellow LED. Neat thing about this was that there was a solar cell embedded in the side. You'd leave it sitting in the sun and it would charge the cell. You'd squeeze it to turn it on. Worked well until the storage cell died.

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Actually it had two tiny NiCads in it, and one squeezed the case to get light. I came with a short ballchain, and a clear plastic suction cup with a metal hook so you could hang it on a window to charge. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] The PC board was blue, and quite thick.

    Eddie Bauer and REI both carried 'em, too.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Wow!

    I never thought the led Lighting concept was That old. Anyone have pics of the mentioned lights?

    Thnx!
    Alex

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* whiskypapa3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Here is a picture of the Teckna led light (circa1988). Used it until the Photon I came out. Only problem I had was the twist switch wouldn't stay in the off position. It would come on in my pocket, got lots of strange looks walking around in a store in the evening...


  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Whiskeypapa3,

    Thanks for the photo; brings back memories [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Oldest LED lights I still have are pictured below. The larger one has a red LED and is likely somewhere around 10 years old. The smaller one has an orange LED and is probably 7 years old? Anyway, these preceeded the Photons and all of the superbright key chain lights, to the best of my recolection.



    Very simple circuit; LED leads straddle button cell(s) and squeezing the light makes the contact.

    - Don

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Yes, thanks whisky for the pic! My early model had a "clickie" type push switch in back that had a small hole drilled in it for a split ring or lanyard. These later "twist" switches must have a been a cost cutting exercise as were the plastic parts in both. The plastic parts were this light's BIG downfall and I'm sure, what led to it's demise. A neat piece of LED history though!

    Don,
    Were those pre-Photons "give-a-ways" or actual production models?

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Gene,

    These "Squeeze" beams were both available through distribution channels and we carried both models in a chandlery I was managing at the time. If I recall correctly, the red LED unit was close to $10 and the orange, cheaper unit was around $6. The orange LED unit showed up a couple years after the Red had run it's course. We sold a bunch of these and I used them as stocking stuffers a couple years until the novelty wore off. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    - Don

  25. #25

    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    McGizmo,
    The light on the left side of your photo is available at Pepboys autoparts stores in the south Florida area. I purchased a two of them about 3 months ago and am still using the same batteries that they came with. Would you believe they only charged $1.99 each!! I've been pricing replacement batteries and can't find them that cheap! Go figure. These are actually nice little lights, we got the red leds, didn't see any other color choices in the two stores that we were in. Been toying with the idea of swapping the leds myself, but other things keep intruding on my spare time. I did have one that kept lighting up in my shirt pocket and like WhiskyPapa3, I got some strange looks and interesting comments.

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Lighthouse,

    I'm surprised these are still around! We had many customers who considered them disposable as they couldn't or didn't bother, trying to find replacement batteries. I too had trouble with the "non-lock out" squeeze feature [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    - Don

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Many many years ago, before I realized I was a flashaholic, I made my mom buy herself one of those squeese lights--the one on the left. It had red casing and a red LED--Energizer or Eveready if I recall. I win the value award--it cost all of $1

    Great little light, I completely disassembled and reassembled it several times. Don't know what happened to it exactly--but I think all the reassemblies and the years of pocket carry (Probably only 1 year) wore it down until the case just didnt' stay togerher anymore.

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    I had the Teckna led light also

    It was a nice light, but the switch mechanism was really cheap and wore out

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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Heheheheh ...

    My mom just asked me if I wanted one of my old lights back rather than just throwing it away, since with her CMG, Arc, and Opalec lights she doesn't really need it anymore.

    I said Sure!

    The one she handed me was the one mentioned earlier in this thread and the darn thing still works fine!

    Here's a pic of an early LED flashlight: The FOREVER LIGHT by Solarts (mid-80's).



    I'm really surprised the two NiCd cells inside are still willing to give it a go. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] (It has been kept charged, though.)


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Who made the FIRST Led flashlight?

    Peter

    First to sell Luxeon powered LED flashlights was Arc over a year ago.&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

    Durn, I had NO idea this was so ... fresh, I've only been here for 6 months or so, good gosh, what a change; we've got commercialy produced lights popping up everywhere.


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