A Mag Light, like a Picasso, is a thing of beauty, through and through.

For those of you who don't know, A "Mag Light" is shorthand for a line of superior flashlights made by the Mag Instrument Corporation of California, USA. This company makes electric torches that are prized above nearly all others for many reason:

  • They are manufactured to highs standards of precision. We're talking military grade, here.
  • They are terribly reliable and nearly indestructable. Machined aluminium, baby.
  • Can you say "Spare bulb in the handle?"
  • They look frickin' cool.
They come in all the colours of the rainbow (courtesy of anodized aluminium), and every size you need; from the smaller varieties, the single AAA Solitareand the two AA mini-Mag, and the huge sizes all the way up to the six D-cell "Police Beater".

A highly prized tool by techies (computer, stage and otherwise). Found near steel-toed boots and Leathermans.

Warning to all those who use Mag Lite flashlights in self-defense! If you find yourself in a situation where the Mag Lite might need to be employed as a skullcracker, and you aren't a peace officer, make sure the light is turned on. If you are forced to LART some idiot with it and the light is on, you hit him with your flashlight. If the light is off, then the only reason you were carrying it is as a weapon...and that's legally much more problematic.

I was offered this tip by a friendly neighborhood police officer while running security at my eating club.

The mighty Mag-Lite is probably the coolest flashlight in existence. It is manufactured by the Mag Instrument company in Ontario, California.

The user who wields this awesome tool is immediately struck by its weight. Unlike ordinary flimsy, disposable plastic flashlights, the Mag-Lite is made of solid, precision-machined metal, and looks and feels sturdy enough to survive a nuclear war.

The surface of smooth, shiny metal, reflective enough to be used as a mirror and available in a variety of colors, is broken by a rougher area that serves as a grip to keep the intrepid user from dropping it and becoming stranded in some murky dungeon or basement. Slightly above the grip on the Mag-Lite's main body is a rubber button that serves as an on/off switch. An observant user will also notice a serial number to the side of the button. Clearly, this is no ordinary flashlight! The Mag-Lite's bulb is contained in a section attached to the main body, which can be turned in order to focus the light, thus allowing a single Mag-Lite to be used as both a spotlight and a floodlight.

A true masterpiece of American engineering, the Mag-Lite is the Rolls-Royce of flashlights. It will last a lifetime, impress your friends, and allow you to pretend you are Luke Skywalker wielding a light-saber.

"A work of art that works"

The above quote sums up the philosophy behind the manufacturing company, Mag Instrument Inc. The founder, Anthony Maglica, was running an engineering company, and was looking to create a product that would highlight the high standards he set for himself. After much thought, he set his sights on designing and manufacturing a high-quality flashlight for the public safety sector.

He took great care to design a torch that was rugged, efficient and stylish, and introduced the first of the Maglite® range in 1979. Word about the high quality and versatility of the product spread quickly. Police officers, firefighters and mechanics appreciated the high build quality, and those who used them quickly spread the word about this substantial piece of equipment, and the general public began to take notice.

There were (and are) many things which make MagLite® torches stand out. One is the sturdy anodized aluminum casing, capable of taking almost any punishment likely to be thrown at it, and the outside has a diamond-knurled grip - important in any application. They were originally available only in black, then silver - more colours were added later. Other features which Maglica built in included: a high-precision, specially-designed reflector, attached to a device which allowed the beam to be focused from a spotlight to a floodlight; a waterproof, sealed battery compartment, and a spare bulb. Even the glass lens is made of thicker glass than regular flashlights, to protect against damage. The C- and D-cell torches have a sealed rubber switch with a signalling (flash) capacity, and any MagLite, large or small, is both shockproof and waterproof.

Aside from the technical and design features, Maglica also felt sufficiently confident in the quality of the MagLite, that he offered a lifetime warranty on it. His innovations changed the portable lighting industry forever and his products became the standard by which others' were measured.

Variety and Style

Not content with one high-profile product, he designed and introduced many other torches, designed for almost any application. His Rechargeable Flashlight System, is one of the most powerful rechargeables of its size. The Mini Maglite (designed to use AA batteries) was introduced in 1984 and as with the full-size torch, set a new standard for personal size flashlights. The Mini Maglite for AAAs was launched in 1987 (with the medical profession in mind), and the single-AAA Solitaire the following year. The full range also includes 2-6 C-cell and D-cell torches, which are still favoured by police, security and other demanding services.

MagLites have won many design honours, including one from the Japan Institute of Design, and and the Museum for Applied Art in Germany. The Wall Street Journal described it as "the Cadillac of flashlights", and quoted Apple Computer's then CEO, Gilbert F.Amelio as saying he wanted Apple to be "essentially the Maglite of computers", a goal he has perhaps met, given the range of colours the torches come in.

Each torch is individually numbered, and owners are encouraged to register the product, and to take a pride in it. After all, any MagLite is considered to be the Rolls-Royce or Cadillac of the flashlight market, and who would not want to be proud of that?


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