Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 2
April 2007
 
What is It?
 

Hand-Powered Flashlight


Hand-powered flashlight


Dutch electronics giant, Philips & Co., produced this flashlight in, it is assumed, the 1930s to 1940s. It works based on the 'dynamo principle', discovered by renowned British chemist and physicist, Michael Faraday (1791 to 1867). In 1831, he ascertained that electricity could be produced from a conductor moving in a magnetic field.

The flashlight requires no batteries. It is hand-powered using the press-lever, which runs the generator and produces an electric current to light the bulb. An integral lock ensures the lever will stay flat to the body of the flashlight, which reduces wear from inadvertent lever depression.
  Flashlight in use.


There is no internal power storage in this model and, as such, the bulb will stay lit only as long as the lever is being pumped. Patents issued in the 1920s eased this laborious process through strategically-placed gear wheels, which magnified the power provided by the lever. This particular model does not incorporate this innovation.

To prove the theory that good technology is, quite simply, good technology, hand-powered flashlights are still manufactured and sold today. The only differences are that the newer model (shown below) is larger and has a plastic casing.


Old and new models.


 
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