Vintage Flashlight Bulb Hunt
August 7, 2011 11:12 AM   Subscribe

How do I find out what kind of bulb my vintage flashlight requires?

I bought a metallic montgomery ward flashlight from a yard sale yesterday for a $1. On the switch it has a patent number, but it reads "PAT.No.I.969.320". I tried looking this up on Google Patents to no avail. I also took the flashlight to a bulb shop yesterday, where her guess was a 12p bulb, but the socket neck was too long for that.

Thanks for your help.
posted by dargerpartridge to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
US Patent 1969320, filed February 1933, shows what I assume is your flashlight, with a normal-looking screw-base flashlight bulb. The patent doesn't give dimensions or part numbers, though.

Perhaps the spring terminal at the bottom of the socket has gotten bent, and a normal flashlight bulb would work if it were bent back to its original shape?
posted by hattifattener at 11:26 AM on August 7, 2011

One approach would be to ask this question over at - it's a community of people who talk about nothing but flashlights all day. You'll want to post a picture if you post your question there. It might help here, too.

The "flashlight collecting" sub-forums have a lot of people interested in older lights.
posted by fake at 11:50 AM on August 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks you guys. You're awesome.
posted by dargerpartridge at 12:23 PM on August 7, 2011

Response by poster: Here are some photos: [Socket] [Angle 1] [Angle 2] [Side] [Bottom]

The lady at the shop also said something about the socket being inclined some other way. I do not know exactly what it needs though.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.
posted by dargerpartridge at 6:03 PM on August 7, 2011

Hmm, I'm not sure I can offer more help based on your pictures, but the people at flashlight museum might have a suggestion. Is it any of these Montgomery Wards lights?
posted by fake at 11:15 PM on August 7, 2011

Ha! I think it's this one.
posted by fake at 11:17 PM on August 7, 2011

Can't find a bulb just yet, but I know about flashlightmuseum from candlepowerforums - at least one of their employees posts there. They should be able to hook you up or point you in the right direction.
posted by fake at 11:19 PM on August 7, 2011

Go to the Candle Power Forums web site, set up a free account (it's quick and I have never been spammed), and then ask them:
posted by wenestvedt at 9:06 AM on August 8, 2011

OP already did that. No answers yet.
posted by fake at 2:37 PM on August 8, 2011

Response by poster: Hey, guys. Thanks for the link to the flashlight museum. I got in touch with Steve Giterman in Grove City, Ohio through the collector's section of the website. We are currently working on getting the flashlight working. I did learn something though. All 3 D cell requiring flashlights of this era require a number 13 incandescent light bulb. All 2 D cell requiring flashlights of this era require a number 14 incandescent light bulb. We are currently working on getting the candle illuminated, it has a high level of corrosion though.

Tips and tricks to be updated when I get the De-oxit in the mail.

Thanks for all your help
posted by dargerpartridge at 6:52 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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