Vintage USAlite RedHead Flashlights
U.S. Electric Mfg. Corp. (1920-1960's)
USALite Red-Head flashlight gallery. There's at least 19 different USALite redhead flashlights. Some are also know as... motorist's safety flashlights. I also have some info on the GM redhead, along with the Gambles redhead flashlight at the end of this page.
This gallery features a USALite redhead flashlight not seen by most collectors. In fact, if you've never been here before, there's maybe a couple more you haven't seen. I found another version, (not in my collection) only seen in an advertisment, and they came in different colors.
You'll see I have no version numbers on the redhead flashlights listed here. The Flashlight Museum has version numbers on their website. They also show a flare red-head without a version number? The versions can be confusing anyway. I have no idea where the numbers came from, or why. Maybe that's the way they list'em on their site, or did they come from a catalog?
The top model has the flat end cap dated Dec. 20-1921 - Feb.13-1923. Redhead is not printed on the end cap. The Flashlight Museum shows the same end cap on their version #7. Below that one is the 1930's Phillips 66 redhead with the Phillips 66 logo on the end cap, (has a bulb holder in the end cap). You can see the Phillips 66 in the Show & Tell section to see the end cap close up. Also shown with it... is the flat end cap with the Phillips 66 logo. Which now means, there's two models of the Phillips 66 redhead. USALite also made another flashlight for Phillips 66, that's not a redhead verision.
Here we have two that looks the same. Notice the top one says... Atlas on the name plate, not USALite. Atlas sold tires, batteries and accessories, to service stations and auto parts stores back in the 1940's. It has USALite redhead printed on the end cap. Both have a ring hanger. First one I have ever seen. So I had to have it for my collection.
On top, and to the left is another hard to find red-head. The 1940's Red-Head Jr. motorist's safety flashlight, with the cone head. There's 3 things that makes this one real different from the others. It has an anodized gold colored body, uses 2 C cell batteries, and instead of the stand or ring hanger, it has a... belt clip on the back. More info on Junior, in the Show & Tell section. Look for the caption... Is That You Junior. Below Junior, we have a D cell model, which also has a cone shape red-head, the slide-in ring hanger, and stand. I'm still looking for the model without the name plate, which also has a cone shape red-head, but, uses 2 C cell batteries.
The D cell with the cone redhead, came in two versions. With the metal end cap, (like the one above) and the red plastic end cap. Both have the same body style, and came with a ring hanger.
Here's a few more details about these redheads with the red plastic heads. None of the end caps are interchageable, including the black body redheads. The heads can not be changed from one flashlight to another one either, (either too small or too big). Not like the high priced redheads. You can change the end caps and lens cover. For example, replace the end cap on any USALite redhead, with the GM end cap, now you have yourself a GM redhead flashlight, (oh, and the price just went up). Not that anyone would do that? Just saying.
This one is not the C cell flashlight I was looking for, with no name plate. But it's the D cell model, with no name plate. Has the slide-in ring hanger like the one above, and has a stand.
Below that one is another D cell redhead without the name plate. The switch is different, in fact, it's different from the other redhead with the same head. This has the red end cap and hanger. Did it come before or after the other redheads? No way of telling, for now anyways. It's gettting harder to keep up with all the different modles. When you haven't seen one or seen one in an ad, we can't really be sure there is one. Now we know there is one, or two at least! I guess only a collector of USALite flashlights will be excited about this find.
NOTE: USALite had name plates on the swivel-head flashlights, and some without the name plates. Just like the redheads above, with and without name plates.
I found a NOS USALite mortorists saftey flashlight with the box.
A matching pair of two hard to find 1940's USALite redheads, with and without the stand. Both have a plastic lens with USALite Redhead printed on the end cap. Both flashlights did not come with a ring hanger.
These are harder to find than the metal bodies redheads, and the one without the stand doesn't come along very often. The flashlight with the stand, shows up on eBay now and then.
This is was my latest red-head find, (was my latest) and it's a rare one! On the box it says it's a 2 in 1 flashlight, long range spotlight, and safety red side rays. It's the first one I have ever seen! Looks like version #2, but with a red bullet end cap. No metal name plate and no markings on the end cap. Also, no grooves on the body like the other versions. Even though it looks like the other models at first glance, there is a few more different details to check out. I would have no proof it was a USALite red-head without the box. The box has seen better days... but I'm just glad the box was with the flashlight.
One final note. Was this one before the others or after? I would say after. On the box it says... New Improve USALite Red-Head. I'm thinking mid to late 1940's. The ad you see here has no date on it. That's what happens when there's no cover on the catalog.
View Here For More Details »
What's different you ask? We can all see the bullet end cap is different. The metal head, you can adjust the beam by turning the entire metal head to the right or left. The others don't turn. The grooves on the body are different. The switch has 4 rivets, the others have 3 rivets.
The red-head shown here, (came with a bulb holder for an extra bulb) has USALite redhead printed on the end cap, I have also seen another one with... Made In The United States Of America printed on the end cap. Maybe it was replaced, or not? These are the red-redheads the car guys pay big money for, (flat end cap included). So we need to get lucky and find one not listed on eBay, (like a yard sale/flea market, etc) or pay the big bucks. I've been lucky so far. I just can't see paying $500 or more, for any flashlight. But, that's just me.
What did we learn? There's at least 19, maybe 20 different models of the red-heads, which includes the red plastic redhead, and the metal flashlight with the red glass lens. USALite has a few versions of the redhead, they also have two different kinds of end caps on the redheads, flat end cap and the bullet style end cap. USALite made redheads for Gamble Auto Supply, (founded in 1925) with a flat end cap, (has Gamble's Heavy Duty Cells on the end cap). There are two versions of the Phillips 66, bullet style and the flat end cap. I saw one a couple of year ago. Both the body and end cap matched up, both not in the best condition. Then we have the GM redhead. They also has a focusing flashlight made by USAlite.
There's also 2 another models only seen in an ad, the Red-Head Juniors. The ad says baby cells at one price, (not shown) and regular cells at another price, sounds like C & D cell batteries to me. These are different than the red-head Jr. shown here with the anodized gold colored body. Follow the link at the end of this page, and take a look in the USALite Ads Gallery.
View GM Redheads Here »
Here's a look at the GM redhead. Can you see the difference from the other redheads on this page? Look for the details. Hint - the knurled area around the neck. You'll see the same knurling on the USALite redhead with the flat end cap. All other redheads will be smooth. Also, the flashlight on the left, (without the stand) Is not a true redhead. It could be the body of the GM focuing flashlight. From what the GM collectors say - there was no redhead without the stand. The lens holder and red lens was added. These are not in my collection. Another collector gave me permission to share the photo.
I just added this one, (my not so pretty redhead) to my collection, and she works! The body design is different from my other redheads, and a little harder to find. This redhead has seen better days for sure. Just means it got a lot of use out of it over the years, and didn't just sit in some desk drawer doing nothing. I think she just found her last resting place, here in the USALite Flashlight Museum.
Like I have said before, some times it's not about the condition, it's about having the flashlight, and this is one of those times, again!
Here's a redhead I thought I would never get - USALite redhead with the Gamble's end cap. If this is all I add to my USALite collection this year, (2021) I'll be happy happy with this find. This one is harder to find than the GM redhead.
I just wanted to point this out. The lens holder ring windows came in two sizes, (where you see the red lens) as seen in the photos. Also, the lens on the left has flat edges, the lens on the right is rounded.
Here's something else to look for on the redhead flashlights. The end caps are different on the bullet style end caps. Notice the end cap on the left, now look at the one on the right. See the difference?
Notice the ring, (that's what I call it) on the left end cap. You don't see that on the other one. Some of these also came with an extra bulb holder in the end cap. Might have came out in a different year, and not a different version? That's just a guess on my part.
The other redhead flashlights also had different endcaps, as seen in this photo. Smooth and ribbed on the red endcaps. Most of these have a smooth endcap. The only other ribbed endcap I have seen, is on the black body redhead with the stand, the other one has a smooth endcap. Just details which makes'em different.
Some times we get on a roll. Lucky? Right place at the right time? Hard work? What ever it is, it's exciting to go through. Keep going to the yard sales, the barn sales, the live auctions and online auctions, they are out there waiting to be found. NOTE: This has the flat end cap dated 2-13-23. No USALite redhead printed on it.
GM accessory or not? Was it in a GM catalog or GM brochure? If anyone has proof that this redhead flashlight was indeed a GM accessory, (as seen above), please contact me with the proof and end this debate once and for all. Not he said she said. I need a photo, and permission to show it here! You will get all the credit. Sellers keep calling this version a GM accesssory, some cars guys call it that too. The search for the truth continues!
Here we have two of the hardest redheads to find. Not the highest in price redhead, or the USALite redhead most collectors would want - but the hardest to find.
Hardest redheads to find - View Here »
The two hardest USALite redheads to find. I have only seen these in another collection. One collector had one and another collector had the other one. Not together in the same collection.
My second Gamble's redhead flashlight, and my last flashlight of 2021 added to my collection. Not in the best condition, but she works! This one has a different end cap than the other Gamble's redhead. Also, the body is different. This one has the same body style as the GM redheads - take a look at the GM redhead as seen on this page. Now look at the redhead above the mortorists safety redhead above, to see the difference in the body styles. So they must have had two versions. One early and another one later.
Factory Mistake - Wrong stand on the redhead flashlight. See below
View Here »
Notice the stands. The redhead in the middle has the stand that was only on the black body redheads. It should have the same stand as the one above it. The stands on the hard red plastic redheads are different also. Just details that makes'em different.
The photo on the right shows four different body styles for the redhead flashlights.
The 3rd one down is the body style for the GM and Gamble redheads. Also, Gamble had another redhead flashlight like the one above it, just a different end cap and year. The last redhead in the photo was sent in by Bill, from some place in the land of Kansas. This one has 3 lines/ribs going down the side, with smooth in between, then more lines/ribs, then smooth again. This one could be the hardest one to find?
More about the GM redhead, Gambles redhead and USAlite redhead. All three have the flat end caps. All three have have ribs around the neck, (see the red arrow?) The other two redheads shown here, show the smooth neck. Note - Gambles also had another body style, (no ribs around the neck - smooth) and different style of end cap. You can see those in this gallery.
If you have a redhead flashlight with the GM end cap and with a different style of body, beware, could have been an end cap switch, and not the original GM redhead. I have only seen one body style in a GM catalog, no others.
NOTE: As of 11-18-2023 I have two redheads with the cone end caps for sale. Both in good working condition, (two of my better ones). Contact me by email for more information if you're interested.