c.1900 Street Light Arc Lamp with Birds

By Tracey Beckham; posted June 1, 2005

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I found this cool photo and thought I'd share it. From what I understand many "arc lights" were suspended from a span wire (like this one) over the middle of the road for proper illumination. Others were mounted on a metal mast arm which that was affixed to utility poles. In both instances (thanks, Joe Maurath) the carbon rods were periodically replaced by literally cranking via a rope or cable in the fixture to lower it ground level. By the teens a lot of the carbon arc lights were being replaced by more efficient tungsten (incandescent) ones. Added note: Sorry for the fuzzy scan but that's the best I can do for now. At any rate, you get the idea with the fixture suspended on the right of this photo. Yes, it does look like there are a lot of birds on the wires here!!!