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.