The Dork-O-Motive Podcast

3.1: Unstable - The Deadly and Explosive History of Headlights

January 5, 2022

The automotive headlight is not exactly the most exciting part of a car, right? Wrong. Back in the early 1900s not only were headlights new and exciting, they were explosive and deadly. This incredible look back at the early history of headlights is likely a topic you've never heard about or thought about before. 

Because no suitable electric bulb for cars had been invented yet, brave entrepreneurs looked for a solution and found one in the form of acetylene gas. This cheap to produce and highly flammable gas burned bright enough to shame all other available light sources. There were problems, though. Like the fact that the Prest-O-Lite company had 15 plants explode between 1907 and 1917. 

This episode of the Dork-O-Motive podcast looks back at these wild years, the technology behind it, how fortunes were made, buildings were leveled, and lives were lost. All to simply see a little bit better in the dark. 

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