Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Did you know ?
The earliest bicycle lamps were oil-powered and started to be manufactured in 1876 for the Ordinary (High-Bicycle) and solid-tired tricycles. From 1896 acetylene gas lighting for bicycles started to be introduced and later in 1899 acetylene gas lamps for the motor-car became popular. Their carbide lamps were powered by acetylene gas, produced by combining carbide of calcium with water. The light given was very bright, often called artificial daylight but the lamps required regular maintenance.
From as early as 1888 electric-powered bicycle lamps were manufactured but did not become a viable proposition until 1898. They comprised an incandescent bulb and either a lead-acid battery or a dynamo. Lead-acid batteries were replaced by dry cells and later by alkaline batteries. Dynamos improved in efficiency and reliability, recently being incorporated into the wheel hub, for example. Moulding techniques for plastics also improved, allowing lens optics to be improved and cost reduced. Incandescent bulbs were replaced first by sealed-unit halogen lamps and later by high-output light emitting diodes.