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A Complete Guide to the World of Flashlights: Since 1898

A Complete Guide to the World of Flashlights: Since 1898

Aug 20, 2021, 00:00:00

Nowadays, flashlights have become rather common in daily life. With ever-improving technology and craftsmanship, they were able to display dazzling designs and multiple applications in rich variety.

According to usage scenarios, flashlights can be roughly divided into EDC(Everyday Carry), Hunting, Camping, Search & Rescue, and so on. In a word, people now have plentiful choices.

Living in such a time when portable light sources can be easily accessed, it is quite hard to imagine what was the world to be like before they were invented.

Now, let me walk you through the history of flashlights.

When Was Flashlight Invented & How?

When was flashlight invented & how?

As we are not nocturnal creatures, nor were our ancestors. How to deal with the situation when darkness takes over?


It’s beyond doubt that our ancestors had acquired the skill of making fire thousands of years ago.

After that, we got candles, oil lamps, and kerosene lanterns for illumination. These tools were already portable, which satisfied people’s needs greatly.

However, they could also be dangerous due to flame was the source of light.

People needed a safer alternative, and that’s why the flashlight was being invented in the first place.

To investigate the history of flashlights, we could not possibly ignore the invention of batteries and bulbs.

In the year of 1866, a French electrical engineer named Georges Leclanché invented the world’s first battery. It’s to be noticed that this so-called “single fluid electric generating battery” was a wet cell, not the type of battery(dry cell) that is commonly used for portable electrical devices later on.

Due to its liquid state, the wet cell was not portable. In other words, when it was tipped over, the acid inside would spill out. 

The world’s first battery

Until a German scientist, Dr. Carl Gassner, developed the first dry cell nearly 20 years later, the problem was finally solved. For dry cell could work regardless of position, and it would not break or spill easily like it's forerunner.

As Thomas Edison had already invented the incandescent bulb in 1879, and dry cell batteries began massively produced in 1896, the opportunity to call for the world’s first flashlight was ripe.

It was widely believed that the glory went to English inventor, David Misell.

He applied for patents on his inventions in 1898, then assigned them to his employer, Conrad Hubert, who founded American Ever Ready Company.

Which Type of Flashlight Was First Made?

Because of the bicycle craze at the turn of the century, bicycle lights actually became one of the earliest types of flashlight that had ever been made. David Misell was also recognized as the inventor of the tubular flashlight and the early bicycle light.

Why Did People Call it Flashlight?

As the name suggested, it could not provide a long and steady stream of light. Back then, people even had to turn them off and had them rested from time to time.


Mainly two reasons.

Firstly, the carbon filament bulbs were inefficient.

Secondly, the zinc-carbon batteries were weak, failing to give constant current for longer periods of time.

Then when batteries and bulbs became more efficient, which meant the lights could be turned on for a few minutes(instead of moments), improvements on switch and size soon followed.

Since the basic need for constant illumination was met, flashlight makers started to bring more creativity to decorate their products.

By 1922, flashlights were in high demand, user numbers had reached 10 million in America.

In the past century, we were seeing the invention of the first modern fluorescent lamp, the first LED(Light Emitting Diode), the first thermoplastic moulded flashlight, the first rechargeable flashlight, the first water-proof flashlight...


Just as Robert Freidell, the co-author of Edison's Electric Light, said, it was the kind of invention that reshaped the world and the way people looked at the possibilities in the world.

That’s also what Olight’s been pursuing since the day it was founded.

We believe in providing quality illumination products to everyone. We care about every little detail from brightness to runtime to ergonomics, size and weight — and more importantly, how we can improve your lives with light. We want to push our products to the limit so that we can give you the best lights in the smallest package possible, and at the best price.

Our products are perfect for:

Everyday Carry, Camping & Outdoor, Hunting, Safety & Self Defence, Tactical & Military, you name it.

Other than that, our products have variable shapes and functions to be chosen as well:

Lantern, Bike Light, Headlamp, PL Lights, Rechargeable Flashlights, etc.

One example to show you how Olight pushes its product to the limit.

When it comes to hunting torch, Marauder 2 pops up first in my mind.


It’s a rechargeable torch designed for hunting or tactical needs.

With Marauder 2, one learns that a brilliant torch can provide both excellent performance and safety guarantees.  

Some of its highlighted features are listed as follows:

Extremely Powerful and Flexible

Featuring an 800-metre spotlight beam from the central LED, and a 14000-lumen floodlight beam from 12 surrounding LEDs.

Dual Switches

A simple toggle switch to select either spotlight or floodlight; an intuitive rotary knob switch to turn on the light and circle through 7 output levels.

Extended Runtime

Bilt-in 54Wh rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (three 3.6V 5000mAh 21700 batteries), ensuring up to 59 hours of runtime.

Smart Thermal Sensor

Safest in its class as it has a thermal sensor, a proximity sensor, and cooling fins to protect against overheating and obstruction.

Upgraded USB-C Charging Port

Its upgraded USB-C charging port allows fast charging and reverse charging and is shielded by a port cover resembling aperture blades.

That’s what Olight’s been doing with all of its products, pushing them to the limit, to perfection.

I believe you know where to find the right tools to conquer the night.

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