Edison Safety Lamp

I collect all sorts of things associated with American automobile history, and that includes old accessory lighting like these examples:

National Electric safety and emergency light
Williams spot light

So, when I found this light at the bottom of a box of car stuff purchased at an auction, I was seriously intrigued. It has clamps for attaching to a car battery and a bracket for hanging the light under the hood. Must be an old trouble light, right?

Wrong. Well, sort of wrong. It is marked “EDISON SAFETY LAMP MFD. BY THOMAS A. EDISON, INC., WEST ORANGE, N.J. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and that, I discovered, means it was originally a light for a miner’s hat. The early 1900s were deadly years for miners with one disaster after another. Many of these disasters were explosions caused by the open flames used in miner’s cap lamps. To eliminate the danger of the open flame, Edison created an electric light that attached to the miner’s cap and was powered by a rechargeable battery pack that attached to the miner’s belt.

I guess some enterprising automobile owner converted this light to one that could be used under the hood. After all this time, it still shines as brightly as ever, proving yet again that they just don’t make ’em like they used to.


“Blame Lamp For Blasts.” The Orlando Morning Sentinel, 23 May 1929, p. 1.

“Edison Safety Lamp Wins.” El Paso Herald, 5 July 1929, p. 14.

“Edison’s Safety Lamp Will Save Lives.” The Ford Wayne Sentinel, 24 February 1913, p. 5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *