Flash bulbs

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Don Stauffer, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Don Stauffer

    Don Stauffer Guest

    I remember hearing, years ago, that flash bulbs were filled with oxygen
    to make the element burn faster. Any truth to this? Also, I heard they
    were filled with steel wool. Was the steel wool the actual filament, or
    was the wool in addition to the filament, and the filament only to
    ignite the wool?
    Don Stauffer, Jul 19, 2005
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  2. Don Stauffer

    Owamanga Guest

    Yep, this describes the early electric commercial flashes, after the
    explosive gunpowder type and before the current electronic reusable
    ones. They used tin or aluminum foil, in an oxygen-rich or pure oxygen
    Never heard about the steel wool part, that's new to me.
    Owamanga, Jul 19, 2005
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  3. Magnesium filaments.
    uraniumcommittee, Jul 19, 2005
  4. Don Stauffer

    Peter Irwin Guest

    The bulbs were generally aluminium in a low pressure oxygen atmosphere.

    Peter Irwin, Jul 19, 2005
  5. Don Stauffer

    McLeod Guest

    I am looking at one in front of me. The only markings on it are W5.
    It's about 1 3/4" long and 1 1/4" wide and is full of very finely spun
    material that looks like steel wool (probably isn't). There seems to
    be no filament, but a gap between the two electrodes to provide a
    spark right into the "steel wool". I would suspect the steel wool is
    actually magnesium and may not require a lot of oxygen for
    instantaneous combustion.
    McLeod, Jul 19, 2005
  6. uraniumcommittee, Jul 19, 2005
  7. Don Stauffer

    Don Stauffer Guest

    Don Stauffer, Jul 20, 2005
  8. Don Stauffer

    DunxUK Guest

    On a similar vein any offers as to what's in class F gasbulbs?
    DunxUK, Jul 20, 2005
  9. Don Stauffer

    Owamanga Guest

    A short, but bright pulse of light?
    Owamanga, Jul 20, 2005
  10. Don Stauffer

    Fifty Hertz Guest


    ....ever hold onto one when it went off?

    I was working in a camera shop when an elderly woman came in with an even
    older camera complaining that the flash was not working. I cleaned the
    contacts, put new batteries in it, shoved in a big bulb (#25, I think), and

    She said "see?". I couldn't...for several minutes.
    Fifty Hertz, Jul 20, 2005
  11. Don Stauffer

    Peter Irwin Guest

    The Speed Midget (SM) bulbs contained an extra large charge
    of primer paste and no wire. I don't know what is in primer
    paste, except that it is a really quick burning material.

    Peter Irwin, Jul 20, 2005
  12. Are they selling Flashes or Bikini's?

    Martin Riddle, Jul 21, 2005
  13. Don Stauffer

    prep Guest

    You mean FP bulbs? Zirconium foil I think... If the bit rot has
    been kept away. :(

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
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    prep, Jul 22, 2005
  14. Don Stauffer

    Thom Guest

    No he means gas bulbs. I have several gas bulbs in the number 5 size
    in my collection. They have nothing visable in the globe.

    Thom, Jul 23, 2005
  15. Don Stauffer

    John Fields Guest

    please clarify this. I use flashbulbs I buy on ebay but none are
    "clear". I take it they use some sort of gas that flashes or there is
    a coating that ignites
    John Fields, Jul 23, 2005
  16. Don Stauffer

    Thom Guest

    The confusion here is the word clear. Traditional flash bulbs have
    either wire or foil in them, gas bulbs were/are "clear" because theres
    nothing but gas in the bulb and you can see right thru it. The term
    "clear" can also refer to bulbs not dyed blue.

    The first practicle flash bulb was Introduced by the General Electric
    Company in 1930 replacing powder, though they were written about as
    early as 1887. This bulb was an improvement on a 1927 design by
    another company. GE also had Dr Harold Egerton breathing down their
    necks when produced the first electronic flash tube in 1931.

    The first person of note to use the bulbs was Alex Stewart (1892-1953)
    in Edinburgh, Scotland. Also known as Sasha, Stewart became a
    professional photographer in 1914. He soon became a fashionable
    photographer with a studio in Pall Mall in the heart of London's West
    End and his pictures appeared in the society magazines. He is best
    known for his portraiture of the leading figures of the 1920s and 30s,
    particularly his work for film companies which included a fine
    portrait of Vivien Leigh and another of the Astaires.

    Before the GE bulb "Sasha" actually created and patented an early
    flashbulb called the Sashalite and he built a camera (large format)
    with a built-in flash gun. With it he was the first to take photos
    inside of the mines in Kent (flash powder might have caused gas
    explosions) and another of his famous works was the photograph of
    molten steel being poured in the Dorman Long steelworks,
    Middlesbrough. His flash portait of Cecil Beaton is also well known.
    My favorite photo of his is of the hands of pianist Nicolas Pouishnoff
    which he shot in 1925 using a Sashalite.

    The first camera with sync for a flash bulb appeared in 1935. Up til
    then you used the B (for Bulb) setting. You opened the lens with B,
    fired the flash and let go of the button. This is called "open flash".
    On some older non-US cameras the B is Z

    Thom, Jul 24, 2005
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