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FLASH BULB, 1950's

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FLASH BULB, 1950's

Early Flash Bulb, this has an Edison screw type cap. Instead of Magnesium wool this one uses Magnesium foil.

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  • The flash bulb you display most certainly was made from very late 1920's up to the early 1930's. Gradually, the aluminium or aluminium-magnesium alloy sheets used in bulbs like your photo shows were replaced with aluminium magnesium wire foil that burned faster and more evenly than the sheets. The wire foil and improvements in the ignition substances that lit the foil allowed bulbs to be used in a more predictable and controlled manner with faster shutter speeds as camera equipment improved. The wire foil bulbs were produced in quantity until the late 1960's when electronic flash became powerful enough to replace bulbs for everyday and amateur use. I was able to buy #5 and Press 25 flash bulbs into the late 1960's at a local pharmacy store. The largest bulbs, the #2, #22 and #3 bulbs in clear and blue colours were made and available until around the 1980's in the United States as they provided professionals portable light they could use remote areas that did not have electrical power or where lugging professional electronic flash units was not feasible. The remaining bulbs found in old stores and private collections are still used by cave photographers today for the same reason.
    .......... James Ensign, Urbandale, Iowa, United States of America, 29th of April 2011

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