National Flashlight Day Date in the current year: December 21, 2024

National Flashlight Day National Flashlight Day is celebrated annually on the winter solstice day in the Northern Hemisphere, which occurs on December 21 or 22. This informal holiday was created to celebrate the amazing invention that is flashlight.

A flashlight is a portable hand-held electric lamp. Its components include a light source (for example, an incandescent light bulb or a LED lamp) mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover protecting the light source, a single-use or rechargeable battery, a switch, and a case.

The invention of the flashlight became possible in the late 19th century thanks to two other inventions: the incandescent light bulb and the dry cell. Incandescent light bulbs became commercially available in the 1880s, the dry cell was developed around the same time, and the invention of portable hand-held electric lights soon followed because they had numerous benefits over candles, lanterns, and torches: they emitted no smoke, no odor and less heat, could be turned on and off instantly, and allowed to reduce fire risk.

One of the first flashlights was created by British inventor David Misell, who obtained a United States patent for his invention on January 10, 1899. The device consisted of a light bulb, a rough brass reflector, and D batteries in a paper tube. The patent was assigned to the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company (now Eveready Battery Company owned by Energizer Holdings), which donated several of these new devices to the New York City police.

The first flashlights were expensive and therefore not particularly popular, but further improvements in both light bulbs and batteries made them more accessible and popular. By 1907, manufacturers offered several types of flashlights: tubular hand-held devices, pocket-sized penlights, lantern-style flashlights, and large reflector lamps.

Since the early 2000s, incandescent bulbs have mostly been replaced by LEDs in flashlights. Although light-emitting diodes were invented in the mid-20th century, they were mainly used as low-power indicator lights for decades. The first high-power white-light emitter was produced by Lumiled Corporation in 1999; its introduction made the commercial production of LED flashlights possible.

LED flashlights are more efficient and have a longer battery life than incandescent flashlights. In addition, LED lamps are less fragile than incandescent lamps and come in several ranges of color rendering index and color temperature.

The origin of National Flashlight Day is unclear but this shouldn’t stop you from celebrating this fun holiday that can make the shortest and darkest day of the year a little bit brighter. You can invite your friends for a horror party or sleepover where you will tell each other creepy stories using flashlights as your only source of light, curl under the blanket and read your favorite book using a flashlight under the covers, or take an evening walk with a flashlight. It is also a good day to check your flashlights and charge them or replace the batteries if needed. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalFlashlightDay.

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National Flashlight Day, observances in the United States, unofficial holidays, LED flashlights, incandescent flashlights