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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure where to post this but thought some folks might find it interesting.

This item was in a pile of stuff that walked into the shop and no one knew what is was. After some research I discovered that it is a innovative (for it's time) approach to shooting in the dark for law enforcement. The Whaley Sight Light patent number, 2,132,063, was issued in 1938. The lens housing is stamped "21833" which first appeared in 1937. The light is constructed of a smooth black plastic and features a grooved "tray" on the top and a flared cylinder shroud at the rear. It would appear to have been optimal for 4" barreled revolvers and doesn't fit autos like the Colt 1911 very well. It was fitted with a wide Eveready Boat switch with a momentary button. To use the light a right handed shooter would hold the revolver with the strong hand and use the left to hold the flashlight under the revolver with the weapon resting in the grooved upper part. In the shooting position the left index finger could then toggle the flashlight switch. The light is not attached to the revolver at all.

I'm not sure how long these were produced. Another Whaley light that was pictured in a book that I sourced this info from belonged to a long retired FBI agent. This one shows evidence of use consisting of discoloration where the muzzle would be when fired and some damage at the rear of the barrel groove. Best of all, this one still works! However, the front lens retainer doesn't seat and thread on with current D cells and I didn't want to break it trying to force it on.

In the pics it is shown with a contemporary 6" S&W.











 

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The material is probably Bakelite, which was about the only "plastic" that was available in those pre-war days.
Don't drop it, Bakelite is brittle and will break and chip, especially when it's old.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking Bakelite as well and I'm babying this thing. I'm just glad I got a hold of it before someone else at the shop with no clue what is was managed to break it!
 

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Wonderful find!
 

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The "D" batteries you have are just a bit off for this application, another brand might just work for you.
Try the real cheap ones from import stores (think Harbor Freight), sometimes those are a bit short and smaller diameter (saves fractional amounts of material).
As a last resort, cobble up a cardboard tube with metal contacts and use "C" cells, voltage will be the same, just dimensionally smaller.
They will not last as long but I don't see this getting a lot of use anyway, other than for demonstration purposes.

FWIW, I recall seeing this manufacturers name (Whaley) on other products from that era.
IIRC, they were all innovative in the use of early plastic material.
I recall at least one flashlight although not as unique as this one.

Thanks for sharing
 

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I'm sometimes the guy from left field! As just now... Arrgh... You laid your Smith on coarse concrete... Ouch! And well... THAT my first & instant focus.
As to the light, quite unique! There was a postwar genre of what looked like the same material in an ordinary military spec flashlight with US contract numbers nomenclature. Perhaps the same firm.
But oh that Smith... About like laying your first-born's naked little body on such surface for "photo-op"! :)
Just my focused S&W collector take and yes... There always has to be someone like me, diverting focus!i
Best & stay safe!
John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
John,
Your concerns are valid. In my defense the revolver was placed straight down extremely GENTLY on the surface with both hands (no sliding, pivoting ect) and lifted up the same way so no finish damage occured. But yes, there should have been cloth under it. I will make sure to do so in the future!
 

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I used Duck Duck Go for subject "refinishing bakelite". Lots of how to articles. Looks to be mostly about the finish or gloss of the product, but may have more info for you.
Neat find.
 
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