Illuminating! A Brief History of the Headlight

A look at the surprisingly complex history of the automobile headlight. The first headlights were simply lanterns with reflecting mirrors:

The earliest headlight technology was essentially a lantern with a reflecting mirror. This focused the light source though an opening in the lantern, but because there were no lenses at this time, the beam was fairly unfocused and there was significant scattering of the light. This, combined with the low-candlepower light sources of the time, meant that they were a weak, low-speed-only means of illumination – unfocused and with poor range. Plus, a good gust of wind or a wayward splash of water could snuff the flame.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by redsfaithful.

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i HEARD THAT PEOPLE DIDNT DRIVE MUCH AT NIGHT UNTIL THE ELECTRIC SEALED BEAM HEADLIGHT came out during the 1920s and then came HALOGEN HEADLIGHTS and can anyone remember the duel headlights
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This is only mildly related but my folks have an ancient flashlight that belonged at *least* to my grandfather though more likely even older than that. It's an old "signal flashlight" that has a standard small flashlight bulb but also a slider switch that, when pushed, advanced a transparent tube up around the lightbulb to achieve either white (no tube), green, or red lighting to signal trains.

Thought that was pretty ingenious.
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