when ‘BC’ meant battery-capacitor

the days of battery-capacitor flash guns that worked even with nearly dead batteries

Toronto. One of the nagging things affecting the wide use of flash bulbs was the risk of having dying batteries when the old camera and flash were dug out to be used for an event.

For a brief period of time (before cheap and small electronic flashes appeared) someone came up with the clever idea of charging a capacitor and using its EMF to trigger the flash bulb.

Then, a nearly dead battery would just mean a bit longer to charge – a sign that the battery was about to expire, but the flash bulb would still trigger and recording the ‘event’ would be a success. By the way, if you don’t have this old fashioned accessory in your collection, you may find one at our spring fair this coming Sunday.  Come on down and join in the fun. You may just discover that missing piece for your collection (or user need).

This ad for Kodak in the September 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics was typical of add-on B-C flashguns and brackets. A big thanks to my good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar,  for discovering and sharing this bit of history. Today, our cameras and smartphones all have tiny electronic flashes built-in and ready to go into service any time they are needed – if you remembered to charge the camera or ‘phone …

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