The oldest headlights, in late 1800s, were fueled by acetylene, a special kind of oil. Acetylene lamps were popular because the flame was resistant to wind and rain. .
The Prest-O-Light and Corning Conophore companies made some changes with Acetylene lamps, which at the time were considered accessories. A headlight being an accessory, imagine that!
Prest-O-Light developed a safe delivery system for the acetylene gas, which was considered volatile . Drivers had to get out of their vehicles to ignite the oil. Prest-O-Light later created a switch, located on the inside of the car, that would ignite the lantern. Corning Conophore experimented with methods of reflection and focusing of the lights for best viewing at night. By 1917 they had a headlamp that could light up a road sign within five-hundred feet.
Next, came the electric headlamps. These headlamps used filaments, which had a short life as these headlamps were exposed to the elements causing the lights to go out fairly quickly.
Peerless made electrical headlamps standard in 1908. The sealed beam headlight, or Halogens, like we have today, started to be used in the 1940s.
For the next 17 years, government mandated that the 7 inch Halogen lamp be used, which prevented advancements in this area. In 1957, the law changed; however, to allow different sizes and shapes of lights. And headlight technology was once again moving forward!
The sealed beam units were used by all manufacturers in Europe, Japan and North America through the 1960s. then came the Halogen bulbs in 1978 in the U.S.
Around 2000, LED bulbs started to be used. These bulbs provided longer life and illumination of objects at further distances. In the past five years, the style of the headlamps has become quite creative with more LED bulbs being used as well.
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