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Portable hand-held electric light / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A flashlight (US), or torch (CE) is a portable hand-held electric lamp. Formerly, the light source typically was a miniature incandescent light bulb, but these have been displaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) since the early 2000s. A typical flashlight consists of the light source mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover (sometimes combined with a lens) to protect the light source and reflector, a battery, and a switch, all enclosed in a case.

C8 style on the left, tube style on the right
A set of LED flashlights
The angle-head flashlight (Fulton MX-991U) on the left uses an incandescent bulb, while the adjustable angle-head flashlight (Streamlight Sidewinder) on the right uses LEDs to give white, red, blue, and infrared light

The invention of the dry cell and miniature incandescent electric lamps made the first battery-powered flashlights possible around 1899. Today, flashlights use mostly light-emitting diodes and run on disposable or rechargeable batteries. Some are powered by the user turning a crank, shaking the lamp, or squeezing it. Some have solar panels to recharge the battery. Flashlights are used as a light source outdoors, in places without permanently installed lighting, during power outages, or when a portable light source is needed.

In addition to the general-purpose, hand-held flashlight, many forms have been adapted for special uses. Head- or helmet-mounted flashlights designed for miners and campers leave both hands free. Some flashlights can be used under water or in flammable atmospheres.

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