The first flash pictures were produced using Black Powder which coined the phrase, “ Just one more shot”.   It was deep in the mine when the photographer asked for the last shot and the mountain blew up from the Fire-damp, which is a heavy methane type gas combination that had accumulated then ignited by his black powder. 

It was  “Just one more”,  that got him   His last picture and his remains are splattered on the walls of that mine which is now a museam.  Further down on the right is a newer version of the first flash, unfortunately it too had the effect of lowering a mountain about 100 feet.

The next great evolution in artificial photography was the exploding bulbs which had a tendency to either burn you if you removed them wrong, or exploded when you dropped one on the pavement. 

Fortunately they were replaced by companies like Graflex, Honeywell, and Braun who developed a new word and process called the capacitor driven flash units.  

They were large units used by professionals and the “Graflex bowling balls” power pack was powered by a car battery and clocked in at nine pounds. The wimps of today could not have handled that and the possibility of the ensuing hernia.

In conclusion, you went from black powder to exploding gas bulbs to capacitors that could possibly kill you.

The picture on the right is the ad for the Black Box circa 1980’ish when the unit bears strong resemblance to the units of today.  
We added a second port, internal fusing, HD wiring made for washing machines, waterproof and fire -proof.  And still build each one by hand.  And they work.


Our products have been purchased and used by Wedding Photographers, Paparazzi, Forensic labs,  CSI, Fire Departments, First Responders,  Photo-Journalists, Marathons, Triathlete Events, Sports shooters on all levels of play, Model and Fashion shooters, Birder’s, and Nature shooters using remote setups, Motion sensor triggers, and IR devices. 

•   I build for bikes for long night rides, cycle riders, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Military. I have turned out custom packs for Spelunkers, cave exploring dwelling enthusiasts who offered to take me along, I declined since there were no bathrooms, elevators, nor food stands and my idea today of roughing it is if the motel/hotel has smaller than a 55 inch LED TV with remote.

•   The Black Box,  Heavy Duty Power packs were made for extended time range, and heavy shooting and to this day, they are still made by my hands, soldered, or welded and built one at a time in the USA.  

•   The regular Black Box series supports most common 6v or 4AA Cobra style units and for the bigger strobes , as part of the Metz Program we developed the HD-HP 7.2-9.6 Series of packs for the bigger handle mounts. 

•   Parts are from the best component manufacturers I can find.  I avoid Chinese components when I can, and you can call me old school, as some,  actually a lot of new school crap goes in the trash,  and new school gets thrown off airlines and starts fires.

•   Our Black Box designs, still hang in there since upgrades are more like simple maintenance, and that can be as much as 6000-plus shots at reduced power. Our guys, did over 5000 shots at the Oscars, and captured 14,000 shots in one day with Black Boxes at a marathon.

•   With Paypal and the USPS we can now ship worldwide reasonably and our kit includes  Airline safety caps, belt holder, shoulder tabs and a Euro Charger good anywhere included. The Sealed Lead Acid is safe chemistry.  Airline Compliant - SLA, no fires, no confiscations, no getting thrown off.  Our battery is not on the FAA-TSA banned list.  Yesterday I got a call from Fedex with a customer sending in a Black Box and verified it was not Lithium.

•  And our battery is higher capacity and lasts a lot longer, less expensive and our pack will last a lifetime.  Our battery will go three - four years or seasons and as long as six depending on usage.  It will not burn up your camera case if the Lithium lights off.   Which is known as a thermal runaway or occurrence.  

NEXT:    The Black Box FAQ  … START HERE