Searchlight Information & History
Lamp Type: Carbon Arc (no light bulb!)
Effective Beam visibility: 20 miles or more (depending on atmospheric conditions)
Brightest commercial searchlights available at 800 million candle power.
Searchlights were produced for military use from 1932 to 1944 at a cost of $60,000 each!
The first 60 inch Searchlight was made by General Electric in 1893
The high intensity arc searchlight was developed in 1918 by the American inventor, Elmer A Sperry (18601930). It became the standard equipment of the main military forces of the world, and also was widely used commercially.
Early searchlights were used to illuminate some large iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
The searchlights we use were manufactured in the early 1940's by the General Electric and Sperry Gyroscope company for the U.S. Military as Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Units.
Some of the early wars that searchlights were used in included:
THE ANGLO-BOER WAR (1899-1902)
In South Africa during the early nineteenth century, primitive
searchlights were used to protect the sorting floors of diamond mines at
night. During the Anglo-Boer War, these lights were used for:
THE FIRST WORLD WAR (1914-1918)
The value of the searchlight in anti-aircraft defence was discovered when airships and aircraft were first used for night bombing raids over large towns.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-1945)
In the early part of the war, the British devised a defensive system
whereby the target was simultaneously illuminated by at least three
searchlights. As it moved on, a new searchlight lit up, and the one left
behind was doused. The target was continually illuminated and could then
During the Second World War, anti-aircraft searchlights were used for:
After the war, the searchlights were used for victory parades and ever since they have been associated with celebrations and special events. Searchlights were used by Hollywood movie studios to announce film premiers and grand openings in a glamorous and festive manner.
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