History of the Maglite Flashlight

Every flashlight made by Mag Instrument or Maglite represents the commitment of a man who is respectful of the quality of the products, and to the cause of maintaining flashlight manufacturing jobs and the industry in America.


A champion of free enterprise and manufacturing in the United States, Anthony Maglica is the president of Mag flashlights and the creator of the Maglite torchlight, now an icon of classic American design.

Armed only with his talent, determination, and respect for hard work, Tony Maglica set about pursuing the American dream when he founded Mag flashlights in 1955. When he went to design and manufacture a product that revolutionized the industry, he realized that dream in full. In his constant search for innovative technologies, quality products, design and customer service to back them up, Mr. Maglica has found a strategy that not only creates global demand for his own company’s products, but can also, according to him, help other American countries businesses to increase the global demand for their products while preserving US manufacturing jobs.

Humble beginnings

Born in New York during the Great Depression, Tony Maglica was raised in his mother’s native Croatia. He was a small child when his mother decided to return to Croatia so that he could be gathered near his family. In 1950, with the country in the ruins of World War II and the communists in the fight, Tony escaped back to America. Here he began to make the most of his training as an experimental machinist, although he did not speak English. He taught himself a few words a day while taking a job where he could find it and worked for himself in what was supposed to be his hours of rest. Nevertheless, it has been a struggle to save money. Finally, he managed to save some money, the down payment on his first round too. Thus began the quest for the American dream: There, in his machine shop of a man in a garage in Los Angeles, he knew that his days of work for other people were behind him. He was, finally, in business for himself to create a great flashlight

Mr. Maglica started with precision manufacturing parts for the industry, aerospace, and military. He quickly acquired a reputation for quality, efficiency, and ingenuity. Mag Instrument was finally incorporated in 1974. At the moment, Mr. Maglica has clearly demonstrated his innovative techniques to reduce production costs and increase quality. Continuous improvement is a talent that continues to keep the company at the helm of the competition. Mr. Maglica creates a practical style of leadership, as well as a core business philosophy of the superior combination of all Mag products with unparalleled customer service in the flashlight industry.

Flashlight Success

As his business grew, Mr. Maglica set his sights on designing and manufacturing a new and improved flashlight. Originally planned for the public safety sector, the Maglite flashlight was introduced in 1979. Police officers, firefighters, and mechanics quickly spread the word about this rugged, reliable anodized aluminum torch, likely to change the portable lighting industry forever. Committed to product innovation and refinement, Mr. Maglica followed the success of the Maglite flashlight with the Maglite System rechargeable flashlight, one of the most powerful rechargeable torches of its size. The Mini Maglite AA flashlight was launched in 1984 and set a new standard for personal sized products.

Often referred to as “a work of art that Works,” the Maglite and Mini Maglite flashlights were honored by the Japan Institute of Design and by the Museum of Applied Arts in Germany. Fortune magazines and silver-rated Mag Instrument products among the top 100 products that America does the best.

Expansion and Innovation

Headquartered in Ontario, California since 1982, Mag Instrument now has approximately 850 employees and occupies approximately 450,000 square feet of space, including its plant, offices and main distribution center. A new fully integrated manufacturing plant, currently under construction in Ontario, is expected to be completed by the end of 2004. This expansion will enable Mag flashlights to meet growing global demand for its products. The long-term goal is export sales to account for no less than 50 percent of the total production of the Mag flashlights.

New products are constantly being developed at Mag Instrument, but they are only introduced when Mr. Maglica is personally convinced that their design and execution are at Mag Instrument standards. In the meantime, he has many other interests to occupy his time, including the construction of an environmental regeneration plant in Zlarin, Croatia, where he grew up. From the childhood home of Mr. Maglica to the birthplace of his success, this patriot and businessman continue to defend and illustrate the benefits of free enterprise.

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