Concerning the art of car modeling, it is undoubtedly that the design of car light is a significant part. The light on the car body, especially the headlight, is not only the basic lighting equipment that is indispensable for driving, but also represents the aesthetic taste of the brand and the designer. It shows different production techniques by different car manufacturers, which can be considered as the brilliant finishing touch of car modeling.

Acetylene LampsOriginal Source: Classic Allure Magazine

The Era of Carriage Lamp

1902 Peugeot Type 39 in Shanghai Auto MuseumShanghai Auto Museum

The oldest headlamps were fueled with acetylene or petroleum and had been used since the late 1880s. Acetylene lights were popular because their flames were resistant to wind and rain. By 1917, Corning's headlamps could illuminate road signs 500 feet away from the car.

1902 Peugeot Type 39Shanghai Auto Museum

We can see that these acetylene lights are similar in shape to the carriage lamps, because the chassis was almost based on the carriage. But it also brought about the era that car light was with retro art. It was independent of the front and was detachable and optional, but it was also fragile.

Electric lights in early TimesShanghai Auto Museum

The Electric Headlight

The first electric headlight was introduced in Columbia electric car the 1898. The company only produced electric cars and offers low-power headlamps as an optional accessory.

1903 Colombia Electric CarOriginal Source: Classic Allure Magazine

But two factors limited the widespread use of electric headlights in the late 19th century. One was that the life of the filament was very short, and the other was that it is difficult to make a small but powerful enough generator to generate electricity to power the headlight. The model of the car light still could not get rid of the shadow of carriage lamp.

Close-up of White Vintage Car by Siarhei SimanauOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

From Shades of Modeling to Breaking Through Tradition

Close up Of Vintage Car by Ponsulak KunsubOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

Acetylene lights were supplied by many manufacturers as standard equipment in 1904. Peerless developed the standard for electronic headlamps in 1908. GM's innovative division Cadillac integrated its vehicle's electronic ignition and lighting system in 1912, creating the first modern-style car electrical system.

Close-Up Of Vintage Car Headlight by Siarhei SimanauOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

Modern sealed beam headlamp technology was applied into the car industry in 1940. The government had forced 7-inch lights and stifled innovation for 17 years. In this tortuous period, the "tragedy" brought by standardization was that almost all car lights had no character, which is called the shades of modeling.

Close-Up Of Illuminated Car(2) by Pierre-douard JacquetOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

It was until 1957 that the law was modified to allow headlight of different sizes and shapes as long as they properly illuminate the path. Headlight technology is re-emerging the path of improvement and innovation. The free style of the headlight designer is also successfully embodied in the same period.

Qingzang Line in SnowOriginal Source: 视觉中国

Halogen Light Brought Horizontal Development

An epoch-making headlight technology emerged in the first half of the 1960s, which was the so-called halogen light that has also been used up to now.

Close-Up Of Car Headlight In Parking Lot by Teerapat SeedafongOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

Halogen bulbs are still based on incandescent lights, but a more compact environment allows for longer filament life and brighter illumination.

1970 BMW 2000 CSOriginal Source: Classic Allure Magazine

The model of lights had also become horizontal and integrated for more powerful halogen bulbs. The decline of the era of the round light might prove that automobile had entered another dimension. The invention of the halogen light led to the change of car light model, which affected the artistic effect of the entire body.

Car Light Trails on Intersection by uschoolsOriginal Source: Getty Creative

LED Stimulates the Potential of Creation

Road Traffic by Lian FeiOriginal Source: BJI蓝牛仔

The light-emitting diode (LED) technology had become popular after nearly 50 years of development. As with past innovation, LED bulbs could provide longer longevity and object illumination at greater distance.

Close-up Of Car Headlight Against Clear Sky by Boldog István DávidOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

For the light designer, the small and flexible LED bulb can stimulate more possibilities for combination, similar to using the LED on both front sides of the car as a pigment, embellished with the car front.

Close-up of Vintage Car by Linus StrandholmOriginal Source: EyeEm / Getty Creative

Since the Americans first invented car lights in 1899, the lights that originally followed the carriage lamps had been developed for hundreds of years, and had left a lot of fantastic modeling design for modern people.

2017 Audi A8LOriginal Source: Classic Allure Magazine

Unfortunately, despite the fact that development of technology makes modern lights more powerful, in terms of modeling, they are becoming more and more similar and uninteresting, far less than the lights of custom-made models that have gone through history. The latter truly stands at the most outstanding representative of the light modeling.

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