1757 street light
The history of outdoor lights is dramatic and has deep roots. Later, it became a part of what automatic solar LED lighting is made of today.

Street Light History

The history of outdoor lights is dramatic and has deep roots. Later, it became a part of what automatic solar LED lighting is made of today.

Table of Contents

The history of outdoor lights is dramatic and has deep roots. Later, it became a part of what automatic solar LED lighting is made of today.

Ever wonder who came up with the idea for the street light, when it was first made, and how it has changed over time?

In this article, we’re not just going to talk about how street lights came to be. We’ll also look at how it has changed over time to become what we call an integrated solar street light today.

lamp

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Earliest Known Use of Street Lights

Light has always been one of the most important things to have. Some people say it got light earlier than what is written down.

The first historical evidence of it was found in Antioch in 400 BC. During this time, people in Ancient Rome and Greece mostly used street lamps for safety. One is to keep people from tripping over stones, and the other is to keep people from stealing. Every villa usually had an oil lamp in front of it.

Diogenes of Sinope lived in a barrel with an oil lamp. The lamps were lit and turned off by slaves. They were also in charge of keeping an eye on these lamps.

Street Lights Before the Industrial Era

In the 5th century BC, people in Peking (now Beijing) used bamboo pipes to get natural gas from volcano leaks to their communities. Then, they used this natural gas to light lamps at night so people could get around.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, people liked hand-made goods. At this time, automation and other ways to save time and work were out of the question.

So, the lower-class people, or “link boys,” had to work hard to make sure the street lights worked. Boys in Link were given torches to light. They helped people get from one place to another through the dirty streets of the Middle Ages.

The First Lights on Public Streets

As the weather got warmer, 1417 was the year that London’s first public street lighting system was set up. Sir Henry Barton, who was the mayor of London, told people to put oil lamps outside their homes at night in the winter.

The First Time Oil Candles Were Used as Street Lights

From 1745 to 1749, most people in Paris used newly improved oil lanterns. In 1757, Benjamin Franklin was the first person in the United States to use them.

Benjamin Franklin made his own version of London’s glass globe, which was the first street light in the United States. His idea was to just put an oil candle inside a glass housing. There are 4 flat pieces of glass that make up the glass housing. Cracks in the bottom let air into the fixture, and the smoke comes out of the pipe above the fixture.

1757 street light

The First Gas-Powered Street Light

Gas lighting means using a flame to make light, which was dangerous and unsafe for many people’s lives.

In 1802, William Murdoch made the first coal-ignited gas lighting system, which was put up on the SoHo Foundry property. Five years later, the first gas-powered street light went up in London.

Rhode Island got its first row of gas-powered street lights in 1803. In 1820, Baltimore was the first city in the United States to light its streets with gas lamps.

First Lights That Ran On Electricity

In 1878, the first electric street light in the world was made in Paris.

The arc lamp or “Yablochkov candles” took the place of the old gas lanterns. In 1881, they put in 4,000 Yablochkov candles.

Street Lights with Incandescent Lamps

Because they have problems, arc lamps didn’t last very long. One reason is that they give off a bright, harsh light. Another reason is that they don’t live as long. So these arc lamps were changed with incandescent bulbs.

Thomas Edison made and sold the first carbon-thread incandescent lamp in 1879. This lamp was used to light up streets.

The First Town to Have Electric Street Lights

The first electric street light in LA was powered by water and electricity/ Wabash, Indiana was the first town in the United States to use electric street lights. This happened in 1880.

Thomas Brush came up with “Brush lights,” which are electric street lights. Thomas also started the company General Electric. Even now, there is still a Brush Light on display at the Wabash County Courthouse.

The first street light in Los Angeles was a 150-foot-tall mast, and it was powered by a power plant that was built nearby. It was also made to look like the moon and give off the same amount of light.

The first automatic street light was turned on in New Milford, Connecticut, USA, on March 2, 1949.

solar light

First Solar-Powered Street Lamps

When we looked into it more, we found that an American named Charles Fritts is credited with making the first solar cell. He is also known as the first person to make solar lights. This happened in 1883 when the efficiency of a solar cell was only 1%. Solar panels can now work up to 22 % of the time.

Street Lights with Low-Pressure Sodium Lamps

In Europe, low-pressure sodium lamps were made for the first time in 1930. Low-pressure sodium lights have a shell that can be taken off. They also have layers of vacuum to keep them warm. So, the lamps can keep their high temperatures and keep the sodium in the form of a vapour.

High-Pressure Sodium Lamps

High-pressure sodium (HID) lamps were first used in street lights in 1965. Low-pressure sodium lamps were less efficient and did not show colours, as well as these lamps, did. Even now, there are still a lot of HID lamps around.

LED Street Lights

The HID lamps that are used in street lights now will be replaced by LED lamps. They give off much more light and use less energy than HID lights. Only a few street lights in the world use LED as their main source of light right now. But the rate at which this kind of lighting is being used grows by a factor of ten every day.

Today’s Solar LED Street Lights

There are now hundreds of solar LED street lights, hybrid wind and solar street lights, and solar street lights with CCTV cameras that have been patented. These solar street lights are made with the most cutting-edge technology, which saves time, energy, and money in the long run.

If you would like to learn more about street lights or how the Green Lighting Company can help you have a look here.

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1757 street light

Street Light History

The history of outdoor lights is dramatic and has deep roots. Later, it became a part of what automatic solar LED lighting is made of today.

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