1, Carbide & acetylene
The earliest known headlamps were lit by a
match, the driver had to get off the carriage & lite the lamp.
Not much of a headlight but more to display your presence to
other carriages in the dark. The lamps lasted 4 hours before it
needed to be refilled. Acetylene lamps running out
of gas was very common while traveling in the late 1880`s.
2, First ever electric
first basic electric headlamp was introduced in 1903 some argue
1897, it did take a while for manufacturers to take up
this new invention due to safety & small electric technology
still being primitive. Light output was at a very low voltage.
Around this era the hand signal was introduced as the indicator
lights was not yet given a thought. We fail to see the struggle drivers had over a hundred years
3, Sealed beam glass headlights
1950`s onwards saw the
rise of sealed
beam headlights. It changed the style & look of cars & finally
drivers could actually see the road ahead. Only problem was they
were made from glass which could shatter in accidents causing
injury to passers by. One great advantage of glass headlamps
they would never have the problem of oxidation. Some of
us will still remember our parents driving cars with sealed beam
4, First plastic
Mid 1990`s plastic headlights hit the scene. Finally car
makers could mould headlights to any shape they wanted & would give the designers the freedom they
was cheaper than glass which paved the way for more complex
headlights. Problem with plastic headlights are oxidation, yellowing
& the effects to the wider environment.
5, Cutting edge contemporary headlights
Known as digital adaptive matrix
headlights, these headlights adapt to the road & the
surroundings, much more complex than the
earlier plastic headlights. New matrix
headlights can throw digital
signs & images on the road ahead using
over a million internal ‘micro-mirrors & thats only
the start to what the matrix lights can do. DAMH are very
costly to replace but
look amazing in the dark.
6, The future of headlights
As more driverless cars
are being rapidly designed, new vehicles in 100 years will not
need a driver to see the road ahead hence headlights won`t be
needed. Fully autonomous
& self driven activated cars will become the norm, relying on
advanced fitted infrared cameras. Sitting in heavy
traffic & travelling long distances will become a breeze.