Every flashlight made by Mag Instrument, Inc (Maglite®) represents one man’s abiding commitment to product quality and to the cause of keeping flashlight-industry manufacturing jobs in America.
A champion of free enterprise and U.S.-based manufacturing, Anthony Maglica is the president of Mag Instrument, Inc. and the creator of the MAGLITE® flashlight, now an icon of classic American design.
Armed with only his talent, determination, and reverence for hard work, Tony Maglica set out to pursue the American Dream when he founded Mag Instrument in 1955. When he went on to design and manufacture a product that revolutionized an industry, he realized that Dream in full. In his ongoing pursuit of innovative technology, quality products, design, and the customer service to back them up, Mr. Maglica has found a strategy that not only creates worldwide demand for his own company’s products but can also, he believes, help other American companies to build worldwide demand for their products while preserving American manufacturing jobs.
Born in New York City 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 grown close to her family. In 1950, with the country in the ruins of World War II and the Communists in control, Tony escaped back to America. Here he set out to make the most of his training as an experimental machinist, though he spoke no English. He taught himself a few words a day while taking employment where he could find it and worked for himself in what were supposed to be his off hours. Still, it was a struggle to save any money. Finally, he saved $125, the down payment on his first lathe. So began Tony Maglica’s quest for the American Dream: He knew that his days of working for other people were behind him in his one-man machine shop in a Los Angeles area garage. He was, at last, in business for himself.
Mr. Maglica began manufacturing precision parts for industry, aerospace, and the military. He quickly earned a reputation for quality, efficiency, and ingenuity. Mag Instrument was eventually incorporated in 1974. By then, Mr. Maglica had demonstrated his innovative techniques for cutting production costs and increasing quality. Continuous improvement is a talent that keeps his company ahead of the competition. Mr. Maglica established a hands-on leadership style and a core business philosophy of combining superior quality of all Mag products with unsurpassed customer service.
As his company grew, Mr. Maglica set his sights on designing and manufacturing a new, improved flashlight. Initially targeted 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 flashlight, which would change the portable lighting industry forever. Committed to product innovation and refinement, Mr. Maglica followed up the success of the MAGLITE® flashlight with the Maglite® Rechargeable Flashlight System™, one of the most powerful rechargeable flashlights of its size. The Mini MAGLITE® AA flashlight was launched in 1984 and set a new standard for personal-size flashlights. A smaller AAA-Cell version of the Mini MAGLITE® flashlight, ideal for many industrial and medical applications, was introduced in 1987; and the Solitaire® single AAA-Cell flashlight, designed for keychains and purses, was introduced in 1988.
Often referred to as “A Work of Art That Works®,” the MAGLITE® and Mini MAGLITE® flashlights have been honored by the Japan Institute of Design and the Museum for Applied Art in Germany. Fortune and Money magazines ranked Mag Instrument® products among the top 100 products that “America makes best.” In 1996, the Wall Street Journal referred to the Maglite® flashlight as “the Cadillac of flashlights” and quoted then-CEO of Apple Computer Gilbert F. Amelio as saying he wanted Apple to be “essentially the MAGLITE® of computers.”
Headquartered in Ontario, California, since 1982, Mag Instrument now has several hundred employees and occupies over 700,000 square feet of space, including its factory, offices, and primary distribution center.
New products are constantly under development at Mag Instrument. Still, they are introduced only when Mr. Maglica is personally satisfied that their design and execution are up to Mag Instrument standards. In the meantime, he has plenty of other interests to occupy his time, including building an environmental reclamation plant in Zlarin, Croatia, where he grew up. From Mr. Maglica’s childhood home to the birthplace of his success, this patriot and businessman continue to champion and exemplify the blessings of free enterprise.