Anthony Maglica is probably the best example of an American success story. He was born in NYC during the great depression (1930). His mother was Croatian, and decided to take him to her home country of Croatia and raise him there. At the time, no one would have expected him to become the most successful businessman in the USA. In 1950, he got married, became a father, and moved his family to the United States, and out of the Communist control of Croatia. Neither Anthony or his wife could speak English, making it rough to survive here.
The rest of this “rags to riches” story continues with his opening in 1955 of a small machine shop in Los Angeles, named “Mag Instrument”. He made machine parts for the military and started to make a few dollars.
Fast forward to 1979, which is the first year that Anthony made the amazing flashlight, called the “Mag-lite”. It was a big hit with the policemen, because it was aluminum, rugged, and dependable. That basic design hasn’t changed much to this day. But he developed other Maglite Flashlights in the next several years, in the 1980’s.
- Early 1980’s- The first Maglite® Rechargeable Flashlight System (TM)
- 1984- Mini Maglite® using AA batteries
- 1987- Mini Maglite® using AAA batteries
- 1988- Solitaire using only one AAA battery
The rocky part of the history involves lawsuits. A major one was filed by his former live-in girlfriend, Claire, of over 20 years, in 1994. The jury awarded her $84 million, which was a big chunk of the value of the company. That was a rough time for both of them.
Other lawsuits have been filed, and won, over the years, by Maglite Flashlights over copyright infringement. Maglite® does have a full-time legal department on site, to take care of these matters.
After this rocky history, Maglite® has become a standard for all flashlights. It has been called “the Cadillac of flashlights” by the Wall Street Journal in 1996. Indeed it is.