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United States Patent
Furth et al.
US005684378A [li] Patent Number: 5,684,378  Date of Patent: Nov. 4, 1997
 RECHARGEABLE FLASHLIGHT ASSEMBLY
 Inventors: David A. Furth, Skaneateles; Mark A.
Ferguson, Jamesville; Peter F. Lynch;
Scott W. Osiecki, both of Skaneateles,
all of N.Y.; Kang Woon Au, Ho Man
Tin, Hong Kong
 Assignee: Eveready Battery Company, St Louis, Mo.
A rechargeable flashlight is provided comprising in combination a tubular housing open at one end and closed at an opposite end. An integral lamp assembly and power supply circuit are slidably received within the tubular housing. An electrical connector is provided at the closed end of the tubular housing to selectively interconnect the power supply circuit to an external electrical power source, such as an AC socket, to recharge the battery. In a second position, the electrical connector is disconnected from the power supply circuit, and power is provided by the rechargeable battery. The open end of the tubular housing is closed by a removable lens assembly, concentrically receiving a lamp extending from the integral lamp assembly, for organizing the light produced by the lamp into a beam. The lamp assembly and power supply circuit may be formed as an integral unit and detachably fixed within the flashlight casing or housing so that the operator may remove the lamp assembly and power supply circuit as a unit Any electrical connection between the external AC power supply and the flashlight circuit is interrupted when the lamp assembly and power supply circuit are removed from the flashlight casing. Thus, in contrast to conventional rechargeable flashlights, when the rechargeable battery within the flashlight no longer operates, it may be removed from the flashlight and disposed of properly. A replacement battery may be obtained at a fraction of the cost of the flashlight, reinserted into the circuit, and reinstalled in the flashlight In this manner, the substantial portion of the flashlight is conserved, wherein in the prior units the entire flashlight was disposed of, often improperly, with the rechargeable battery therein and presenting an environmental safety hazard.
22 Claims, 4 Drawing Sheets