with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

The History of the Flashlight

The flashlight, the must-have stable of every traveler and camper, has an amazing history. It is delightfully explored in Energizer’s Learning Center – The History of Flashlights.

In the 1890s, American Ever-Ready Company founder Conrad Hubert lit up New York City with the help of dry cell batteries and his newest invention—the electric hand torch. Hubert, a Russian immigrant, experimented with everything from electric tie tacks to electric flower pots before acquiring the patent for this first Eveready flashlight in 1898.

According to an Eveready brochure called “101 Uses For An Eveready,” by 1916 the flashlight was an essential personal item—”the light that does not flicker in a draught, extinguish in the wind, and is controlled instantly by finger pressure. It’s the light everyone needs.”

Artists like the late Frances Tipton Hunter, who produced covers for the Saturday Evening Post, captured Americana’s essence. In her works for Eveready Hunter typically included a child, a pet and an Eveready flashlight, all executed in a Norman Rockwell-like fashion.

One Hunter classic features a little girl watching over a litter of kittens—with the aid of an Eveready flashlight, of course.

Today, flashlights come in all shapes and sizes, available on key rings, credit card shaped to slip in your wallet, and even built into pens for writing in the dark. Flashlights have come a long way, but they still are necessary for peeking into those dark little hiding spots where kittens hide.

Some things never change.

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