V. Ryan 2007

1889 The Ever Ready torch followed by the Ever Ready Flash Light of 1899. Very few developments took place over the next fifty years. Even the torch of 1955 had essentially the same technology of much earlier torches. in the 1980s plastic became the common material and larger batteries were available which meant that torches were bigger and much more powerful. Halogen bulbs, although expensive could also be included to give a bright and powerful light.

By 1999 the first LED torch became available for public distribution. LEDs are smaller and use a fraction of the electricity need by traditional bulb based torches. However, the handle of this type of torch was still quite large as up to three AA size batteries were needed to power an LED torch. Early LED torches relied on up to six LEDs to provide the light.

By 2001 the dynamo torch was introduced. This relied on the user 'pumping' the trigger on the handle to produce enough electricity to light a single ultra bright LED. It relied on an internal capacitor rather than a battery. Electricity is stored in the capacitor and used when the light is switched on. However, the capacitor could only store enough electricity for less than a minutes light. Consequently the handle is constantly pumped to produce the required electricity.

2002 - the LED cluster was introduced in combination with smaller AAA batteries. The ultra bright LEDs provide 'bright light'. Designers had already started to vary their designs. For example, this LED cluster could be used by cyclists, pedestrians or even maintenance engineers carrying out repair work in dull/dark conditions.

By 2004 wind up torches were common. The wind-up mechanism is connected to a small generator that produces electricity. This is stored in internal rechargeable  lithium batteries and used when the light is needed. The wind-up lantern of 2006 is based in the same technology. Many of the newer wind-up torches / lanterns can also be used to charge up devices such as mobile phones.

There have been many other innovations based on modern technology. For instance, the 2005 torch is also a magnifying glass and a small metal detector. It has been designed as a 'boys' gimmick/toy. Still it shows how a variety of technologies can be in corporate to produce an unusual product. The USB torch, 2005 is another example of  innovation. The tor4ch is simply pushed into an available USB slot and charges.

The more recent 2007 key ring torch provides a bright light via an ultra bright LED. It is powered by small button batteries. It also makes a 'mow' noise when the light is switched on.

Click on the links below for further developments in the continuing history of the torch, such as the magnetic force torch.
1. Energy Saving Devices - Wind Up Chargers
2. Energy Saving Devices - Solar Chargers
3. The Magnetic Force Torch
4. The Magnetic Force Torch Technology - Alternative Applications
5. The SolarBright Torch