The story of the origin of flashlights is interesting, by the nature and the richness of its actors. And the anecdotes that follow you will shine (!) In society without using a stroboscope. Your friends will thank you.
More seriously, the historical knowledge of things helps to place them in their (s) context (s) and understand the consequences and implications, at multiple levels. And flush out some nonsense as we shall see.
So. Notebook, pencil, focus interro to end. Nan relax, good tea / coffee / juice papaya / guava / sock and roll.
In 1867, French engineer Georges Leclanché, dissatisfied with existing batteries invented decades earlier by Italian Alessandro Volta developed the first modern battery to depolarizing solid and not liquid (= preferred), who ” wears only if it is used “as resume comm ‘of a famous mark.
This type of battery will revolutionize the use of electrical items as it requires no maintenance, is more reliable, more durable. The system, improved and made public in 1886 by the German Carl Gassner in the form of “dry cell” functioning regardless of its orientation, is still the one we use in almost all our portable electrical items.
These new batteries allow the emergence of new objects, and at a time when mining is intensive light but uses very dangerous light sources and stuffed with inconveniences, electric lamps are a welcome relief.
In the 1890s, an American entrepreneur and inventor of just 20 years, Joshua Lionel Cowen develops, and the ancestor of the current flash camera, and a decorative lighting device for flower pots. Yes, you read correctly. Fascinated by the potential of electricity for entertainment and enjoyment, Joshua L. Cowen, however, was contacted by the US Navy, interested in an adaptation of his camera flash system as a trigger for underwater mines. Meanwhile he had become friends with a dynamic quadra, Akiba Horowitz, who had fled Russia where Jews were persecuted and taken the name of Conrad Hubert arriving in the US.
Sharing with him his passions and more interested in the invention by trade, Joshua sold for almost nothing for his lighting flower pots to Conrad.
At the same time, Conrad Hubert, founder of Ever Ready, made the acquaintance of an English resident in New York, David Misell already invented the portable lantern of the lighthouse signals and bicycle lamp, and its collaborator, the American Gustave Hitzelberger, both in search of financial support for their projects.The three put their knowledge in common and that’s the flashlight invented: a tube containing 3 batteries type D, a light bulb, a reflector and a lens. They also devised a phone powered by batteries, and the electric fan.
Joshua Lionel Cowen will become the inventor of miniature electric train, and was the largest toy manufacturer in the twentieth century; its trains, Lionel trains have dream for millions of children.
Ever Ready, the company founded by Conrad Hubert, will become over time Eveready and Energizer.
For the record: it is therefore only four inventors that we have:
- The flashes of cameras;
- Modern mines;
- Miniature electric trains;
- Bicycle lamps;
- Search lights;
- Electric lanterns (for particular boats);
- The cell phones;
- Electric fans;
- And suddenly nearly all that is derived from such inventions, from the backlit LED screens up picture sensors via electric headlamps or walkie talkies, all of which are only technological developments of previous inventions.
But we will return to the nods of history further.
In 1904 appears the filament tungsten, much more powerful than carbon filament. Limited in time (a few seconds or even minutes before leaving small batteries rest) lighting becomes constant. “Flash”, the “lights” become “torches”, certain modified in 1912 for use on firearms and win Europe but especially in Asia, where the flashlights are becoming a must for Chinese families.
Thus, in the 1920s, there is the US 10 million flashlights users, 10% of the population. In China in the late 1930s, nearly a flashlight to 6 people (about 90 million flashlights), and more than 60 manufacturers.
Yes, China is a historical and secular manufacturer of flashlights. It is even THE historic manufacturer of modern torches, from the qualitative to the most rotten. If there is a good electrical object that is part of contemporary Chinese culture, it is the flashlight, no offense to the partisans of “what is Chinese so it is copied and rotten”. Nope. Besides the majority of the current major manufacturers of quality flashlights is Chinese. And almost all the 1,000 times more numerous manufacturers / models copies rotten. Yes, the Chinese are copying them also.
To return to anecdotes during the Second World War, so these are the biggest users of flashlights and lighting systems (Germany and Japan) who wanted to spray one side of the fellow inventors of other compatriots historical manufacturers of lighting systems: eliminate each other and conquer.