Thursday, 7 November 2013

Light fantastic!

Before each London to Brighton veteran car run, many of the cars parade on Regent Street. I've been several times before, and it gets busier each year.

With so many people looking at the cars, it was best to focus on photographing details. The variety of headlamps particularly caught my attention: all shapes and sizes, and some fine engraved plaques. Enlightening!

(Click on images to enlarge.)


Ralph Hancock said...

Most of these are acetylene lamps, which were quite bright but smelly and inclined to explode. The acetylene gas was generated by dripping water from a reservoir on to calcium carbide; you could brighten the light by turning up the drip. The second lamp, with the oval lens, has no visible gas generator -- perhaps there was a separate one under the bonnet -- but there seems to be part of a gas pipe showing behind the glass.

Electric lamps for cars date from 1898 but were inferior to acetylene for some time, not least because the flilament in the bulb tended to break from vibration on the bumpy roads.

The third lamp, at the right of the upper picture, is an oil lamp: you can see the works quite clearly. It would have been little brighter than a candle and quite useless as a means of seeing the road ahead.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you! Explosive headlamps no doubt added to the excitement of motoring...