About the end of the 19th century, flashlights whose main features were tungsten filament bulb + alkaline battery, with the surface electroplated iron sheet as the shell were regarded as the first generation. The typical representative brands among the first generation flashlights were Eveready flashlight in USA and Tiger Head Flashlight in China.
Compared with choosing carbon-filament bulbs, the first generation of flashlights generally adopted tungsten filament incandescent light bulb, which had high brightness levels and relatively longer battery life. It’s worth noting that shell of these flashlights were made of plated iron, which was lightweight but easy to rust and electricity leakage. Then what can be done to ease the rust and leakage problem?
As advancements in technology gathered pace, the second generation flashlight with characteristic of bulb filled with inert gas + alkaline battery and aluminum alloy used as shell materials has become the routine since 1913, which achieved a new breakthrough in performance and appearance. As time went by, demand that the flashlight used in conjunction with a firearm to aid low-light target identification got established, and the concept of “tactical flashlight” came out. Leading flashlight brands in this period included Maglite, Surefire, Streamlight, etc.
The one typical representatives of the second-generation flashlights were the application of krypton bulbs + alkaline batteries. Other than extending longer bulb life and longer battery life, fine craftsmanship, exquisite appearance, and good texture in second-generation flashlights were considerable as well. Also, aluminum alloy was used as the shell material and the surface selected oxidation treatment process, which can greatly prevent rust and electricity leakage. Another typical representative was the use of xenon bulbs & lithium-ion batteries, which boasted longer bulb life, largely increased brightness, and higher color temperature.
With the new light-emitting technology-LED (Light Emitting Diode) on a tear, most incandescent bulbs have been displaced by powerful light-emitting diode lamps (LED) since 1963. The application of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) is the embodiment of the third-generation flashlights. In comparison with other previous light sources, some hail LED as a new way of light source, possessing merits in terms of small size, light weight, long lifespan, energy efficiency, design flexibility, high color temperature and many more.
Not long after the LED flashlight appeared, the application of multi-lighting mode thrived at an alarming pace, which enabled people to switch different lighting states, including high lighting, medium lighting, low lighting, strobe, SOS, etc. This concept of mode switching has gained in popularity, prevailing among the majority of users. Top LED flashlight brand in this era included INOVA, LED lenser and Fenix.
The invention of the electric light and the need for mobile lighting made the first generation of flashlights possible around the end of the 19th century; the application of special gases and the leap in battery performance led to the second generation of flashlights; the development of LED technology and the diversification of material processes gave rise to the third generation of flashlights. From the bulb to the battery, from the appearance to the structure, in addition to the brightness level, the third generation flashlight seems to arrive its characteristic peak. If we look forward to the development of the flashlight, what features do you think the next generation of flashlights will have? What improvement is a must-have for you? And which brand will be the next generation leading brand in portable lighting industry？