History of Flashlights

Flashlight is a portable lighting where the light source consists of one or more electric lamps. The first flashlight was invented in 1898. It was originally handheld but too large to fit in a pocket; later in the 1900s developed variants of the “pocket-size”. The built-in light sources are now often small krypton bulbs or LED lights . Flashlights are usually battery powered.



The invention of the flashlight presupposed two other inventions – the dry battery of miniaturized and light bulbs . These came about in the late 1800s.

The first flashlight was invented in 1898 by the battery manufacturer Joshua Lionel Cowen (who two years later invented the model railway ) and was actually intended to be potted lighting. It would be knitted into the ground and consisted of a metal tube with a battery and a light bulb.  Cowen sold the idea and the business to Conrad Hubert who became a millionaire by selling plant light as a flashlight.

Development in the 1900s

Early flashlights used flödlampor filament of carbon and manganese batteries as a power source. This meant that the light could not be used continuously without needed to be switched off at times.

1904 developed the more energy-efficient and durable light bulb with a filament of tungsten . This, together with the development of better batteries, made ​​portable electric lamps began to compete kerosene lamps and other light sources elderly.

In the early 1920s, several different types of “flashlights” developed:

  • cylindrical lamps having cylindrical battery of different diameter
  • Lantern varieties that could be downloaded for further use
  • lamps, pocket size, the detail work
  • portable spotlights type searchlights

1922 used different kinds of flashlights of some 10 million Americans .

Later Years

During the postwar spread the use of flashlights to almost all households in developed countries . The abundance of small batteries and the mass production of flashlights also kept the price down.

The development of more energy-saving lamps and batteries continued. Toward the end of the 1900s took alkaline batteries over the market from the older carbon zinc batteries, while several generations of rechargeable batteries were developed for various household purposes (including for flashlights).

There are now also rechargeable flashlights that are loaded into the outlet and dynamo flashlights as “pumped up”, cranked or shaken off.

Today flashlights often include a krypton bulb (a bulb type as the 1940’s mounted in headlamps) or one or more LEDs.  According to Garyflashlights, rechargeable flashlights may vary in size from a few centimeters up to about a meter long. The smallest torch is powered by button cell batteries, while other commonly driven by standard batteries .

Words and Etymology

1906 used the Swedish word ‘torch’ for the first time. In the United States called flashlight flashlight , but in English outside the United States often used the same word for the torch as the torch – torch .