In this article/essay I am attempting to discuss the Eveready/Energizer flashlights made in 1992 and also 2001-2003 that I thought were superior, wonderful or at least preferable. Maybe this piece could be used as a petition to the said company to bring these models back…
The mid to late 1980s had modernized incandescent flashlight technology to its pinnacle. Flashlight manufacturers of the early 1990s, especially Eveready, capitalized on [some of] these advancements and made them available to the truly average consumer, both in terms of cost and retail availability. I remember seeing some of these as a child and owning at least two of them in childhood. There are many others that caught my attention whenever my parents or grandparents would take me to any retailer that carried flashlights. I am going to mention some of these in just a bit.
In the early 1990s, many consumer and definitely industrial items were still being produced in the USA and possessed that excellent build and performance quality that most American products do indeed posses. Though it’s not widely known or accepted (because it’s not widely known), one could definitely say with confidence that America could be known for its flashlights the way Germany is known for its high quality cars, Japan is known for its robust electronics, Switzerland is known for its fine timepieces, chocolate, tools and cutlery and France is known for its excellent cheese and wine making. So the United States producing the world’s best flashlights (at least in my opinion) is an unfortunate secret that most people are completely unaware of. This statement about American quality flashlights still rings very true today, but was even more the case in the early 1990s.
If any of you executives at Energizer Holdings are reading this, please consider bringing back all of the following flashlights.
Two of the flashlights I owned [or at least] were made in the early 1992 are as follows:
The first one, according to the Flashlight Museum was an Eveready 2251 or 3553. I’m not 100% sure which one it would fall under because it had the body shape of the 2251 and the coloring of the 3553. I also question whether 3553 is an accurate model number. So if someone has the ability to correct this potential error, please do so. Anyway whatever the model number may be, both me and my brother each received one of these flashlights for Christmas of 1992. These were extremely bright for their day and I’m wondering if they might have had a Halogen filled bulb or just a Krypton. Anyway mine kept me amused for hours on end. Over a year later in Kindergarten, we were studying the letter “T” so we were allowed to bring our favorite toy to school since the word “toy” began with the letter “T”. I remember bringing this flashlight to school.
I also owned the Eveready Industrial 2 AA flashlight. The model number was IN-215. It was given to me as a gift in 1994, but I know the model was begun in 1992 and this was probably just new-old-stock. This was my first everyday carry light technically, though I was only seven years of age. I remember this light too was bright as it sported a high quality Krypton bulb. It produced a sharp white beam and was fairly rugged. This was also the light that got me interested in pocket sized flashlights and made me nearly swear by them for years to come and even to this very day (October 2016.) This light’s color and reflector were redesigned in 2006, which was a mistake in my humble and honest opinion. I had purchased two of the original 1992 versions of this light as new-old-stock in mint condition sometime in 2013. Though I’ve opened them and do sometimes play with one of them, I keep them in my flashlight collection box. There is also the 2 D version which I never had as a child, but had several (2006 versions) as an adult. In 2015 I got a 1992 version of it mint in the box, model number 1251, which I don’t use (it’s strictly for collection.) The strange thing is though that it came with a standard PR bulb and not a Krypton filled one. By the way, for those of you who are confused with the Eveready Industrial model numbers, the 1251 (2 D) and 1351 (3 D) are the full featured models which have a spare bulb compartment and the IN-251 (2 D) is the stripped down model. There is also a difference in the 2 AA model namely the IN-215 and the 1151, but I don’t know what the difference is.
While I am on the subject of the Industrial line, there was also the explosion proof Industrial Safety line. The model numbers are the 1259 (2D) and 1359 (3 D). They are built similar yet different to the 1251 and 1351, where they use lowered powered bulbs (generate less heat), namely a PR2 or PR6 for the 2D model and a PR7 for the 3D model. They also have a circuit breaker mechanism in the case of a broken bulb. Those features allow these said flashlights to be uses in areas where potentially explosive materials are present. However, these features come at the expense of brightness. I have one of each of these, (1992 versions at least) but they are for collector’s purposes only.
I also have the 1960s versions of the 1251 and 1259, but this article isn’t meant to cover those years.
There are other lights I had seen either used by people I know or on store shelves. I will attempt to list the ones I can remember now:
I first remember seeing the Eveready K-Beam Work flashlight at an agricultural supplier whilst shopping there with my Paw Paw when I was about 5 (1992.) I thought it was pretty neat and secretly coveted it. What is ironic is that 16 years later, I went back to that same shop and that flashlight hadn’t been sold yet! For whatever reason, I didn’t get it. I could kick myself for not doing so. At some point that same year (2008), I was at a NAPA Auto Parts dealer, I purchased a twin pack of Eveready K-Beams for a horribly jacked up price. They were somewhat different in design than the K-Beam of 1992. About four years ago (2012) I went back to the ag store to see if the K-Beam was still there, but it wasn’t. There’s only one drawback of the Eveready K-Beam and that is if the head was over tightened, it would pop off. This problem is chronic on many flashlights made in recent years. It’s a dumb-ass design (excuse my language) and needs to be done away with. Anyway, I don’t know if the 1992 version of the K-Beam had this problem, but the 2003 version sure did and it irritated me. Other than that, the K-Beam flashlight could cast a bright beam and came with a high quality Krypton filled bulb.
There is one line of flashlights from 1992 made by Eveready that I’ve read about and hope to own some day. They are the Rubber flashlights with the model number R215 for the 2 AA and R251 for the 2 D. The line was recreated in 2003 as well, but I think I would prefer the 1992 versions instead. I’ve heard stories of them getting rolled over by cars and still functioning! They are made of a high impact plastic tube that is then encased in rubber exterior body. To activate the light, it uses a high quality reverse clickie switch (or so I’ve read.) I’ll also assume that it uses a high quality Krypton bulb.
Let me also say that those Eveready Super Heavy Duty batteries (Carbon Zinc Chloride, I believe) work way past their intended shelf life, but please don’t tempt fate and put them in a valuable flashlight. I’ve had batteries, unused of course, still work after 21 years in packaging. Again, if you’re going to use them, use them in something that is NOT valuable or sentimental. This may have just been pure luck or divine blessing that they still worked after so long. I will not be held responsible for any damage incurred from the reader deciding to use old batteries…
Now that I’ve covered the 1992 versions that I was/am familiar with, I would like to cover the Eveready flashlights that were made in 2001-2003. The LED was beginning to gain a foothold in the flashlight market as it was getting a reputation for being highly efficient on batteries and decently bright. Some of these lights I intend to cover are indeed LED models. But I also want to state that 2003 was the “last hoo-rah” year, or the beginning of the end for incandescent flashlights in the main stream market. However, many of these wonderful incandescent flashlights that were made during these later years are highly desired by myself and maybe a few others out there.
This time period was also the beginning of the end for consumer flashlights being marketed for just consumers and light industrial or office work. Nowadays (2016), “tactical grade” is a common phrase as is “disaster preparedness” when discussing what is desired in a flashlight. I blame and credit at the same time Operation Iraqi Freedom and Hurricane Katrina, among other hurricanes as well, with the public desiring quality quasi military style products. What also contributes to this is the prepper community, economic hardships and political unrest both foreign and domestic. I wrote an essay/article on that subject and that is NOT what this piece is supposed to be about.
So I’ll now continue with the great Eveready/Energizer flashlights available from 2001 to 2003. As a child I was always afraid of being harassed for being interested in flashlights. But as a teenager, I began to give a damn less and less. Now as an adult, I am lauded for my flashlight interest and knowledge. I wasn’t able to purchase many of the those flashlights made from the said time period as I did have other interests as a teenager. However I did find some of them on eBay later as an adult.
So here they are, the ones I’ve actually owned and thought were great:
The Eveready 5109 had a better contact system than the 1990s version, which made it produce a more steady beam even with vibration and shock. However it wasn’t completely shock resistant and dropping one on a hard surface from a moderate amount of height could ruin the contact system. It also came with a standard PR13 bulb, but still was very bright. I bought one in 2007 at Target and I have another one in my collection box.
I’ve mentioned it in other articles but when I was 16 (2003), I purchased an Energizer Super Charge LED flashlight. The model number is RCL1NM1. I still have it and it still holds a charge in 2016! I bought this because I my 4 D Krypton Maglite was ruined by leaking batteries. I decided to give both rechargeable and LED flashlights a try. It was quite dim, but definitely served its purpose.
I bought an Energizer Hard Case 4D Floating Lantern, TUF4D1H, in 2006. This thing was built like a damn tank! It also used a high quality Xenon-Halogen bulb and could cast a beam sharp beam very far with plenty of spill. I lent it to my in-laws and never got it back. I guess one could say that this light was the answer to the Eveready 5109 inasmuch that it could be dropped from a much greater height and still easily function. Energizer still make excellent hard case flashlight in 2016 and I even edc a 2 AA model for working on computers and live circuits.
The Energizer Find Me flashlights, VAL2DL1EN were quite nice. In October of 2002, my family and I had went to the local high school to evacuate for Hurricane Lilli (which didn’t even come here.) I had seen some girls who were about my age using these. I had wanted one ever since but never got around to owning one. In September of 2011 I was given one as a gift. There is a flashing red LED that constantly blinks as long as the light is off and usable batteries are installed. This was meant for locating the flashlight in a dark room. It also came with a high quality Krypton bulb. I hope to find another one soon and writing this article has made me want to check eBay as soon as I am finished. By the way, this flashlight also has a cameo in one of the love stories I wrote.
Here are some flashlights made from that era that I actually never owned, but hope to at least one day:
The Energizer Waterproof Line WP1LB (6 Volt), WP220 (2 AA), and WP250 (2 D). These appear to be on par with something made by Pelican or Underwater Kinetics, just without the need for an expensive and hard to find replacement lamp module. They just use a simple, but high quality Krypton filled PR bulb. These light are activated by a simple turn of the lens shroud. There is also an O-Ring gasket to keep water from flooding the internal parts of the light. Now I said the appear to be on par with the two manufacturers of diving lights, but I’m NOT 100% sure. They might only be submersible to three feet like they may be able to go the whole five hundred feet. I’m not certain either which way because I don’t have the data sheet readily available. Use at your own risk if you use them at all. I would more or less see these as strictly collectors’ items, as they are pretty rare from what I gather.
I’ve wanted an Energizer Rechargeable flashlight, RC251 and had the chance to purchase one at Big Lot’s in the Fall of 2007. However, I didn’t take that chance and regret it. From what I read this rechargeable flashlight used a Krypton bulb, most likely a KPR102. That was why I wanted it. But I didn’t get it. I don’t know much else about it.
There are the Energizer Trail Finder flashlights K221 (2 AA) and K251 (2 D) seemed to be built well enough for their intended purpose which is outdoors at night in the wilderness. They come with Krypton bulbs. When I say they appear to be built well enough, I mean they appear as if they could be dropped in a puddle or pond and still work or fall onto a hard surface from a moderate height and not break. However, I’m not 100% sure so don’t hold me to these [personal] observations if they are indeed incorrect. Remember too, these are rugged but not tactical rugged. I must say that these actually remind me somewhat of the first flashlight mentioned in this piece, especially because of the switch design. I’ve only really searched for these a few times but never was able to find too many results. Does anyone know exactly how rare these may be?
There is an Eveready Sea Beam floating lantern which is actually just the American Equivalent of the Australian Dolphin Mark 5. I’ve had other American equivalents of the Australian Dolphin and I must say that they are built extremely well. I’ll assume that this one was too. It takes a high quality Krypton bulb and has a work stand for hands free use. Of course it is also waterproof and floats. I cannot seem to find one anymore, of course I haven’t looked for this particular model. I know in 2006, Energizer used the same physical design characteristics, but renamed it the Weather Ready Floating Lantern. That one too is hard to find here in The States. Even the modern LED versions are hard to find.
I would like the Energizer Industrial screw-top lantern, the 231IND. It is available on eBay right now and I’ve been debating with myself on whether to get it or not. It would strictly be a collector’s item since I cannot afford those 918 lantern batteries. Even if I could, they are no where to be found locally. There are some Rayovac 918 batteries at my local hardware store. However, if you (the reader) haven’t already figured it out, I tend to be quite anal about flashlights. One of the things I refuse to do (because of my anal ways) is I won’t mix brands of flashlights and batteries. I’ve read that it comes with a KPR113 bulb, that is a Krypton bulb designed for working in 6 volt lanterns. All flashlight bulbs are technically over-driven by the way.
If I could find one and the bulbs it uses were readily and widely available I would definitely try to purchase the Energizer Double Barrel flashlights. The model numbers are D410 (4 AAA) and D420 (4 AA). Okay I guess some of you are giggling because I said the number four-twenty. I would also be willing to bet that some of you are also giggling when I used to word “anal” in the previous paragraph. It’s fine, laugh away. I too have a sense of humor. Now I have a smirk on my face because I realize that you (the reader) are giggling at my choices of numbers and words. Kudos for making me smirk! Anyway, I’ve seen reviews of the Energizer Double Barrel and I would put it up there with a Sure Fire 6P in terms of brightness, color temperature and throw. It uses a very high quality Xenon or possibly Xenon/Halogen combination bi pin bulb. Like I said though it was difficult to begin with to find a replacement of this bulb and it will get more difficult as the years go by. I once saw one of these in a hardware store down the Bayou from me. I guess some of you are now giggling at my Louisiana expression of how I determine directions, that’s okay as well. I should have seized the opportunity and bought it at that hardware store, but didn’t because of the bulb situation.
The final semi-vintage flashlight I’m going to discuss in this piece is the Energizer Eveready Outfitter Lantern with Fabric Bag and Multi-Position Stand, also known by its model number, the FAB4DCM. There is now near zero information on this flashlight, much less where it can now be purchased. However, I believe it was one of the coolest flashlights that Eveready/Energizer ever produced. I’m not sure if it ran on 4 D batteries or a single 6 Volt 908 battery, but either which way I’ve wanted one for years. Unlike the others, I never had the chance to purchase one. What I like most about this flashlights is not only its ruggedness but the fact that it has a satchel integrated with it. You could store a cell phone, a multi tool, a two way radio, or another smaller flashlight in that bag. The last option is probably what I would do. Now it’s probably not completely waterproof (and the bag definitely is not), but both the light and the bag could probably handle light to moderate rainfall. Maybe even whipping and driving rain, but I’m not totally sure, so don’t hold me to it.
That folks, is all of the vintage and semi vintage Eveready flashlights I have owned and enjoyed or wish to own. I hope I have been entertaining or at the very least informative. I hope it has been a pleasant trip down memory lane and I realize that we all should travel on there more often. I understand that you might check some of these dates against the Flashlight Museum, but while that said organization does a GREAT service to all flashlight lovers, their manufacturing and/or marketing dates are frequently incorrect. I’ve noticed that and several others have noticed that as well.
Now, on a personal appeal:
If you wish to see any of these flashlights make a comeback, please contact Energizer Holdings and Eveready Battery Company. Flood them with emails and social media messages. Let them know what you want. I’ll assume that most of you reading this have at least some experience or knowledge of flashlights and the more you have the more seriously you might be taken by the said companies.
That is all for now, I wrote this in a single sitting, but I now have other business to tend to.
Good day (or evening.)