Two lamps, 1922.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm

Two lamps, 1922.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Propane and acetylene gas lamps. Bicycles carried lights from as early as 1888, when oil-burning lamps were hung from the frame. Before the development of a reliable battery-powered bicycle lamp by Konosuke Matsushita in 1923, the problem of seeing and being seen while cycling at night was overcome by gas-powered lamps such as these propane and acetylene-fuelled examples. Acetylene lamps worked by adding dry carbide pellets to water, which produces acetylene gas. This is then burned as fuel, producing a brilliant white light.

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