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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Give them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere*

One of the many exciting prospects about urban prospecting, panning for nostalgia, or the many other colorful metaphors I've yet to discover, is finding something that is no longer made. The "one-of's" and rarity's that were never really special, and possibly never got the chance to hit the mainstream and be mass-produced. I have already expounded on my desire to have a visitor to this blog provide more clues to some of these mysteries so I can have closure. Hasn't happened yet, but if you don't ask...so, I'm asking.

I found this at a sale in Danbury, and it had exactly the the right requirement for my purchasing decision. I didn't know what the heck it was.

Measuring about 6.5" x 4.5" (closed) its simulated alligator case reveals a vinyl covered cardboard plate with elastic bands for holding a penlight and 3 Lucite attachments. Clearly a tool for viewing tight places. But how awkward a place are you trying to reach if one of the attachments does a 180 degree turn? The 90 degree seems practical and the one with the metal rod protruding from the end is a magnet.

But who made it?
While this should be helpful, it's not. I can't tell if the company name is C-WELL, and the product is a RED-BOY, or the product is a C-WELL and this particular model is a RED-BOY. Can't seem to find any C-WELL products on the net, sure there's a rapper named C-Well but...

I was fascinated by it because it was complete and in good condition and although old was interesting as a prop for demonstrating how light travels through a solid. This was, I thought, a possible predecessor to the fiber-optic techology prevalent in the telecommunications industry.
The cool part was that with a few batteries, it worked just fine. All I needed to find now was something lost in a tight space.

Well, I may not ever find out the the true origin of this oddity, I will sure have fun looking.
*This is a line taken from the Firesign Theater album, "Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers."


  1. I have one of these. Its used to clean your gun. You can check the barrel.

  2. I have the exact same one, fount it on a demolition site in New Jersey. The Manual is included with mine and the original box too - I believe it is from the late 1940s, 1947 or so. Exact Text from the cover of the manual:
    Mystery - Miracle
    C-WELL (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.) "RED-BOY"
    The "RED-BOY"
    may be a
    Mystery Light
    and IS a
    Miracle Light
    But There Is
    NO MYSTERY Why It Is A
    Smash Hit with the Man Who Knows
    HERE IS WHY --->

    (Next page inside mentions it using DuPont Lucite Tips, and explains how they bend a beam of light for inspections, repairs, castings, radio, telephone, plumbing, typewriters, office appliances, aeronautical, and all electrical work...it also mentions the fact that lucite wont conduct electricity and can be dropped and not break)

    (Next page inside... Explains how to use it via tightening and loosening and that it takes "one regular battery" which mine came with as well - it has an old RAY-O-VAC with it Number 7R21 PENSIZE BATTERY - made in Madison Wisconson...formerly known as the "French Battery Company" - it uses MAZDA BULBS Number 222.)

    The back side of the manual says that this kit with 3 Lucite tips and the snap case was being sold for $3.00 exclusively by THE HITCHELL COMPANY -

    THE HITCHELL COMPANY's Physical Address:
    150 Causeway Street
    Boston, Massachusetts

    Good Luck with the rest - !


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