December 21 is National Flashlight Day! Today also happens to be the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year. Though we are not sure if these two days coincide on purpose, you won’t be left in the dark!
Flashlights first became a tool for exploring the darkness at the end of the 19th century. The first dry cell batteries were invented in 1896, which allowed electronic devices to become portable because they used an electrolyte paste instead of liquid, preventing spillage. David Misell, an English inventor who worked for the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, obtained a patent for the first flashlight in 1899.
Misell created an “electric device” which consisted of “D” batteries arranged front to back inside a paper tube with a light bulb and brass reflector attached at the end. Some of the devices created by Misell were given to the New York City Police Department and were met with approval from officers. Because of the zinc carbon batteries used in these early devices, they could not provide a steady current and needed to “rest” periodically to continue working. The lights thus could only be used for short intervals, hence the name “flashlight.”
We’ve come up with a couple of ways you can celebrate National Flashlight Day:
- Make shadow puppets on the wall.
- Play a rousing game of flashlight tag.
- Plan a nighttime scavenger hunt.
- Stay up reading a book under the covers.
Today is also the perfect day to make sure your family knows where your flashlights are in the case of a power outtage or other situation which may cause you to need your trusty flashlight to find your way. Be sure to test all your flashlights and make sure the batteries are all working.
Happy Flashlight Day!