Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Carbide bicycle lamp.

In the old days lamps on vehicles were of various sorts. One of these varieties was a 'carbide lamp'. Calcium carbide nuggets or powder was put in the bottom container. Water was added to the top container. An outlet from the water tank had a nut to stop and also to control the water-flow as droplets onto the carbide particles in the bottom tank. This released acetylene gas which was led by a copper tube to a nozzle in the lamp chamber. A flame was applied to the nozzle when the acetylene started burning. On closing the glass front of the lamp there was a steady bright beam of light ahead.
I came across this lamp in Kandy, Sri Lanka in the 1980s and bought it for Rs.100/- It was manufactured by 'Lucas of Birmingham, UK' in the heydays of British Empire and had been bought in Ceylon of those days.