Flashlights have become so commonplace and are used in so many situations; it is easy to take them for granted. Initially, the “electric hand-torch” was developed using a relatively simple design, intended to run on the then common zinc–carbon batteries. The term “Flashlight” was coined because Conrad Hubert’s original design required intervals of rest after short periods of use due to its inability to provide a continuous current of electricity. Although Mr. Hubert’s design was comparatively simple, the invention was due, in part to the then recent inventions of the electric battery and the electric bulb, respectively.
Flashlights quickly became essential pieces of equipment, and indeed regarded as survival gear, providing a reliable source of light without posing a fire hazard. The design, patented by Hubert in 1903, was quickly recognized as a life-saving device, even in its simplest form. Over the last century, Conrad Hubert’s original design has been improved and reinvented to accommodate specific needs. Far from the initial inconvenience of discontinuous use and the limited scope and power of the beam of light projected, modern interpretations of the flashlight serve many more purposes and have many variations.
The Modern incantations of the original flashlight offer more than just illumination. The most significant changes in recent history have provided bulbs specifically designed for particular uses, emphasizing certain aspects, specializing types of light emitted from particular bulbs. The most popular advances in flashlight bulb technology choices include:
- Incandescent: They’re the most powerful, highest performing, most chosen for long distance bulb. Incandescent bulbs don’t emit significant radio frequency interference, a matter with alternate light sources
- LED: Usually a reduced amount of power than incandescent lamp, but can give tremendously long (100’s of hrs) run-times at lowered illumination.
- Combination LED/Incandescent: exclusive brand specific hybrid, patented with LED/Xenon combination lights with the longer running times and durability LEDs with the brightness enhanced by an incandescent. Combining both worlds.
- Super High Flux LED: with C4 Photonic Crystal technology has nearly three times the brightness capacity creating a concentrated beam that penetrates darkness. Essentially a long-running and indestructible version of the LED with a more intense capacity for brightness
- HID: light source is emitted from a minute glowing ball composed of ionized gasses. Allowing triple the light from batteries and the light output is whiter – closest to natural sunlight.
- Ultra-violet: an effective new detection tool. Strong, reliable, effective ultraviolet lights can detect counterfeit materials and are offered by specialized companies.
Flashlight bulb choice depends on intended use. Typically, there is no one light that works well in all situations. Consider your applications and asses the uses, following basic answers to application and uses.