I am somewhat familiar with O. Winston Link's work, we had a class discussing his elaborate setups.
He strung huge chains of flashbulbs together. That train only comes by that night once and flashbulbs only fire once.
And if I recall, he used the big "No. 2" flashbulbs which were the size of normal incandescent lightbulbs. Those things really put out some lumens!
Over the years, I've collected hundreds of the smaller, consumer-grade No. 5 bulbs.... They're fun to play around with though. A real throwback to 1950s (and earlier) photography.
I've had a few of the lightbulb sized flashbulbs. They do toss out a ton of light. Great for a practical joke, screw one into a lamp at somebody's home when they are unaware. When evening comes and they hit the switch - FLASH!!!!
I once sold and shipped a couple hundred flashbulbs, mostly 25 and 25b - to a buyer in Canada. Probably my greatest packing/shipping achievment, nothing was broken. PITA.
I once photographed a band at a local club using a Zeiss folder and flash bulbs. I was way back by the sound board - 35 feet at least. F16 with 200 speed film. There were cheers everytime a bulb went off, it was daylight in the room.
For their size, nothing else can match the output. It's a one shot deal though.
I wonder how many times O. Winston fired off the string accidently or missed the shot? Guessing maybe once, that would cut deep. That would have been just about a full days setup time, to say nothing of wiring up a rig like that in the first place.