Flashlights are one collectible you can actually use. Most take standard batteries and use standard bulbs still commonly available.
All of mine are in as-found condition. This is not for any other reason than lack of time. I’ve seen some of these brass ones all stripped of paint and polished to a high gloss. They look great, but I suppose if there are purists in the flashlight collecting hobby they might object.
The name "flashlight" was given to these little personal lights because in the early days batteries were so short-lived that users of these lights left them off most of the time, only "flashing" them on once in a while.
My favorites include the Eveready "Electric Candle" above which comes on automatically when lifted. Also the streamline moderne models below with their rocket ship styling. For some reason the Ray-O-Vac copper & red model is one I use on a regular basis. It’s one of the few that actually worked when I found it, and it still does, giving a particularly nice, focused beam.
And here are the details. Standing from left to right in the top picture, Eveready (c.1920, USA) with domed lens, about 7 inches long; Lightmaster(c.1930s, USA) looks like brass; Homart (c.1930s, USA); Eveready “Electric Candle No. 1654” (c.1930, USA) has glow-in-the-dark radium dots on lower strip; Winchester in black & copper is about 8 inches tall (c.1940, USA); Eveready in black & chrome is a flat lens update of the domed lens model at far left (c.1940s, USA). Lying down: Unmarked (c.1940s, USA) , Ray-O-Vac chrome penlite (c.1950s, USA) is 5-1/2 inches long; Unmarked (c.1960, USA), chrome and plastic.
Middle photo, standing from left to right: Eveready aluminum & plastic (c.1970, USA) is 7-3/4 inches; Ray-O-Vac is copper-color metal with red plastic bezel and trim (c.1968, USA); AFC with push switch on end is all-plastic (c.1975, Hong Kong); All-plastic Eveready push-botton (c.1970, USA); In front, lying down: A pair of Gulton rechargeable “Life Lite” flashlights. On the left the 5-inch long “Super 200" and on the right the “Galaxy.” These pull apart and plug directly into wall socket for charging.
Lower picture, from left to right: usalite “Red-Head Jr. Motorists Safety Flashlight” measures 6-3/4 inches; Reliance (c.1960, “Empire Made”—this most likely indicates a British-designed item made in Hong Kong), a cheapie but with an adjustable beam; Unbranded (c.1955, USA); the brushed aluminum Homart is a beautiful streamline moderne flashlight with flood/spot beam switch, 8 inches long (c.1950, USA); The nearly identical Lightmaster Deluxe. In front, lying down left to right: Aluminum keychain flashlight/whistle, unbranded (c.1960s, USA); Eveready penlite (c.1970, USA); Tom Thumb (Fulton Co. c.1970, USA) 3-1/8 inches; Winchester (c.1960, USA) chrome with translucent plastic bezel; Eveready penlite with box (c.1970, USA); This one says “Hughes Aircraft Co., Ground Systems Group” and also says “Surtass” (c.1980, USA)—a genuine aerospace engineer’s penlite right out of a pocket protector.
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