The History of The Modern Headlamp

When using a headlamp today, we seldom think about all that man has endured previously in our quest for light. It is mind boggling to think of all of the different methods tried before. Here are some that have been tried:

  • Mirrors were used to direct sunlight to a particular location, such as in a mine.
  • Large candles were put in heavy clay holders.
  • Various types of lanterns were used with a wheel flint to create a spark and a fuel like kerosene, gas or oil to burn.
  • Carbide safety lamps were used with acetylene gas.

We don’t have to tell you that all of these methods had downsides. Safety was one major concern, since explosions and fires would often occur from lamps and candles. Fumes were also a major concern, especially in enclosed areas like a mine or a tent. These also could not be used in windy conditions unless they were shielded, and the flame would burn out if the air was not fresh or was insufficient. Lanterns and candles could be heavy and hard to hold steady for hours on end while walking through the woods or a cave.

In the case of the mirrors and light, it would only work during the day, and redirecting the mirrors to hit the right spot was cumbersome and time-consuming. There was also a problem in all of these methods of the lighting diffusing its dim light over a large area. Having your light focused and shining brightly on one spot was something everyone sought to achieve, but only dreamed of.

Thankfully, nowadays we have all sorts of lighting equipment to suit every need. We can have a light that is bright and focal and small all-in-one package. We can have hands-free help with our light strapped to our heads or on a hat or helmet. The straps can be lightweight and comfortable and non-intrusive. We can have huge or tiny, bright or not so bright. With today’s headlamps, the possibilities are endless.