The earliest car lights were introduced in the late 1890s on the Columbia Electric Car. There were two main criticism that limited widespread use of car light bulbs, firstly the filaments didn’t last long to be commercially viable. Secondly, manufacturers faced great difficulty building dynamos which had enough power but also small enough to fit inside a car.

These problems were overcome and electrical car light bulbs became industry standard in 1908. The next advancement in car bulbs was the ability to ‘dip’ the headlights. In 1924 Bilux bulb introduced the first car light bulb able to produce low and high beams through a single bulb. Originally the dimmer switch was operated by foot but by 1954 Cadillac introduced an automated systems that could switch between the two settings.

1962 saw the development of halogen bulbs for vehicles, the halogen technology increased efficiency between light output and power consumption of a standard car light bulb. It also eliminated blackening of the bulbs glass after long periods of use.

High-intensity discharge (HID) car light systems were next major development. In 1991 BMW released the first car with HID light bulbs, the BMW 7-series. HID bulbs use metallic salts which are vaporised within an arc chamber to create a high intensity light beam.

High-intensity discharge car lights are commonly referred to as ‘xenon lights’. Xenon bulbs give off a distinctive blue tint compare to the tungsten-filament car light bulbs.

Fast forward to the late millennium and car light bulbs have evolved once again, this time in the form of LED’s. LED bulbs provide similar performance of HID car bulbs with less power consumption. LED car lights also have a longer lifespan than regular car bulbs.

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