My Best Flashlight, Maglite

When I was a young boy we loved to play outdoors at night. To make things more fun and to extend our horizons beyond the flood lamp on the garage we would get flashlights, and play flashlight tag.

On a warm summer night, we wanted to be outdoors, as we didn’t have any air conditioning in those days. I would go to the basement workshop and get a flashlight. We found out quickly that the batteries wouldn’t last very long, as it always seemed that one of the batteries would leak and ruin the flashlight. As I grew up and became a US Marine and later an airline pilot, flashlights became an important part of my life, so I started my quest for a good reliable and bright flashlight.

Investigating the reasons that flashlights fail, I found the number one reason was moisture. If a flashlight is left idle as temperatures change it can form condensation on the inside of the case. This leads to battery failure and eventually corrosion. Two things must be in a flashlight that will resist corrosion. First, the metal must be a stable metal and thick enough to resist rapid temperature changes. Secondly, the battery chamber must be sealed off from the atmosphere surrounding it. To accomplish this, I have found that Maglite® flashlights have a thick aluminium body and the battery compartment is sealed with O-rings to keep moisture out. This made the flashlight water-resistant.

To hold up to years of wear and tear, a flashlight has to be rugged as well as dependable. Mag Industries, Inc. machines their flashlight out of heavy gauge aluminium. The parts are not stamped or crimped out of thin sheet metal. The aluminium used was anodized to increase corrosion resistance. The threads on the body and head are actually cut, the same as you would a bolt. This makes the flashlight one solid piece as you assemble the parts and also makes it shock resistant. Finally, the body was knurled to improve the grip on the flashlight. Police Officers and the US Military have used these Maglite® flashlights in extreme conditions all over the world. The flashlights are so rugged that they have been used as a weapon at times.

In addition to building a rugged flashlight that resists moisture buildup, Maglite® had to address the issue of brightness and battery life. Building a flashlight with solid reliable battery and switch contacts gave extended battery life. Shaping and polishing the reflector for maximum reflectivity gave us a brighter beam with convention batteries and incandescent bulbs. To improve the light beam Maglite® perfected the ability to adjust the beam by rotating the head of the flashlight. In this manner a wide beam can be used to cover a large area, or the beam can be focused to a smaller brighter beam by rotating the head.

As technology developed the LED bulb, Mag Instrument, Inc., included the LED bulb in their line of LED flashlights. The ability to adjust the beam by rotating the head was retained, but newly designed reflector was designed to take advantage of the higher output intensity. A sophisticated electronic module was also integrated into the flashlight to balance high brightness with battery life, thus prolonging the life of the batteries. For the same lumens of power with similar batteries, the LED will use less power than a conventional incandescent bulb.

Many Americans today are concerned about buying US-made products. Mr Anthony Maglica was born in the United States but was raised in Europe. In 1955 he returned to the United States to pursue his dream of building the finest flashlight in the world. Saving money from odd jobs, he put $125 as a down payment on his first lathe and started building flashlights in his garage in Los Angeles, California. Mr Maglica is dedicated to building his flashlights in the United States with US parts. Today Mag Industries, Inc. is a 450,000 square foot factory located in Ontario, California.

Flashlights have to fill many different needs in regard to power, brightness and versatility. Small flashlights can be carried in your pocket, while larger flashlights may be carried in your car or in a belt holster. To meet these needs, Maglite® makes flashlights from single-cell triple-A batteries to large 6 D cell flashlights. For economy, these lights can still be purchased in incandescent or highly efficient LED models. To fill the needs of a flashlight used every day, rechargeable flashlight systems are available.

As a testimony, I have used Maglite® flashlights in all extremes of weather to include altitudes of 8000 feet of cabin pressure in my aircraft. As a prisoner transportation officer, the Maglite® flashlight has been useful as a baton in controlling unruly prisoners. I have staked my life on Maglite® flashlights, and they have never let me down.

 

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