Flashlights used by Fire Fighters and Consumers Alike…

There are many products, especially flashlights, that are geared towards consumers and professionals alike. This is because they are built well enough to definitely impress a consumer and give a professional dependable, sometimes life saving, service.

This is very true in the fire protection sector.

In this article, I am attempting to discuss certain flashlights that were geared towards both fire fighters and consumers, sometimes one as a result of the other.

I am trying my best to remain in chronological order of the flashlights hitting the market.

…The following flashlights will be discussed…
1963 Eveready Captain with Boat Switch D Cell Models:
Definitely used on the show Emergency! by firefighters and paramedics.

I have been told that it should be rugged enough to withstand use on the fire ground, especially since in bygone times, structure fires weren’t as hot as modern structure fires. This is due to the difference used building materials back then compared to now.

1969 Eveready Captain Penlights 315 (2AA) and 312 (2AAA):
Also used on the show Emergency! by both hospital personnel and firefighters and paramedics.

A CandlePowerForums member known as “bykfixer” said this about the pen lights: “…My mom used it to check us for concusions, light up splinters etc and later my dad used it to inspect gun barrels. My mom worked for a doctor so we had a slew of them back then…”

So, I’m not sure if it was used by firefighters, but definitely by various medical personnel in real life. I don’t know if this gentleman’s dad had these and inspected his gun barrels with them because his wife used them for work or if he knew about them before. However other Eveready penlights were sold as impulse items in many stores during that time period and before, or so I’ve read. Therefore the average consumer used these as well.
1969 Eveready 108 All American Lantern:

A poster on The Flashlight Museum, known as “Plexter” had this to say: “One of the best. For years used by firemen on hook & ladder companies in Chicago. ”

One CandlePowerForums member known as “lightfooted” had this to say: “Yes, yes it [the Eveready 108] was. I can personally vouch for at least one fire department in WA that used the 108 on their engines as well as seeing it in some of the kits on board the Country Response Ambulances (full life support rated rigs) during the eighties…”

Professional firefighter and CandlePowerForums member “Jbones” stated this in reference to the Eveready 108 ,”Although I don’t have a straight yes or no answer for you, I hope I can help shed some light here.. I’m a professional firefighter in Jersey and seeing what we use today in fires, I would say they absolutely could’ve used the eveready [108]! You’d be surprised what holds up in a fire…”

I’ve also read about this flashlight/lantern being used in the railroad and chemical industries, because of it’s ruggedness and resistance to most corrosive chemical substances. I even purchased one on eBay that was formerly used for refueling locomotives at night.  However, I know that it was marketed to consumers as well because of these posts from The Flashlight Museum,

Someone known as “ED” stated, “I GOT ONE OF THESE AS A KID FOR MY BIRTHDAY…AN I WAS SO PROUD SHOWING IT OFF ! LOL….WAS A GREAT LIGHT…TILL THE RUBBER SWITCH COVERING WORE THROUGH AN WATER GOT IN IT….AN THEN FAILED….SIGH…”

Another poster known as “Mason Wolfe” had this to say, “I had 2 of these flashlights when I lived on the farm. Don’t know whatever happen to them, but they were better then anything that you can buy today. I would like to find at least one of these flashlights in red or blue.”

A final poster known as “BrianM” stated this “Had one of these as a kid myself. I loved the thing!”
1979-Ongoing C/D Cell Maglite:
A FF/EMT and CandlePowerForums member “RWT1405”, stated “I used Mags and then in 1982 started to carry a Smoke Cutter (best firefighting light there was!). The George T. Price Smoke Cutter is now a rare collector’s item, but I believe it was marketed only to firefighters, not actual consumers, hence, it will not be covered [much] in this article.

Though the Maglite was initially targeted to the public safety sector, it is also well popular with civilians/consumers and is probably marketed more towards them, nowadays, as many police entities are forbidding the carrying of C and D cell Maglites because of brutality issues not to mention smaller and brighter flashlights are now available.

1980s-2000’s Garrity Life Lite:
“RWT1405” also stated for this flashlight “The only plastic light I used (in the 1980’s) was the Garrity [Life Lite]…which I carried on my helmet (New Yorker 5A), it was useless in a fire, but I used it a lot at accident scenes and on the fire ground. You just needed to buy them by the dozen, as you just threw them away when they stopped working or started to melt…”

I know for a fact that this flashlight was definitely marketed to consumers as well because it was sold in many department and drug stores as well as truck stops and filling stations. However, on this flashlight’s packaging, there is indeed a picture of a firefighter with one of these taped to his safety helmet.

1984-Ongoing Red 2 AA Mini Maglite:
Over the years, I’ve personally have seen quite a few volunteer firefighters in the fire district which I resided, as well as other districts and Parishes (Counties) as well carry this flashlight in its holster next to their Motorola Minitor voice pager, or, in the case of junior firefighters, their Uniden BC72XLT or Radio Shack Pro 82 entry-level portable scanner radios. Those voice pagers cost about three to four times what the entry-level scanners cost. The Mini Maglite was almost always in the color red. On a slightly unrelated note, back in the 1990s and into the early 2000s many firefighters and sheriff’s deputies in my home Parish (County) wore the infamous Casio F-91W. That watch is “infamous” because it is worn/used by Al-Queda and possibly other radical Islamic terrorists who are skilled in IED making. As you can see, however, there are some good guys who wear/wore this said watch as well. I believe it is “the cheapest accurate watch available” (provided it is a genuine Casio and not a knockoff.) Anyway, there are third-party accessories for attaching a Mini Maglite to a fire fighter’s helmet, the one that comes to my mind is the Black Jack. However, the Mini Maglite in all of its forms is probably the Maglite that is marketed to civilians and consumers more than any other Maglite there is. It could pretty much be a universally used flashlight unless one is working on live electrical/electronics circuits or working in a hazardous environment. I don’t think there would be any other application where a Mini Maglite wouldn’t be suitable.

1988-? Rayovac Roughneck:
I know this flashlight was marketed to consumers and tradespeople alike. However, I’m shocked to find out that it might have also been marketed to firefighters. The only data I have on this though is because I saw a new old stock Rayovac Roughneck on eBay, still in the packaging. There was a picture of a fire engine, hose and trench coat on the retail card. I still do question if this was just a marketing gimmick or if it was truly geared towards firefighters. If anyone can comment or correct, please do so. It’s an oldie but a goody.

As for the modern models that are currently on the market, the line between being marketed to firefighters and consumers is being continuously blurred. This is especially true with online retailing. Many flashlights are geared initially towards firefighters, but consumers get interested in them either because they are flashlight or fire buffs. They also might know a firefighter and see his/her flashlight and be impressed then want one. All they would then have to do is get the model number and make or just do a general internet search. I don’t think the flashlight manufacturers and retail companies who carry them would complain if more people than just firefighters would start buying their product.

So that’s all I have for now. I would like to thank all the websites, their webmasters and patrons that I cited in this article because I couldn’t have done it without you. Kudos very much.

Hopefully, I have been entertaining or at least informing…

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