Out after dark
Young adults rode their bicycles far from the front-porch oversight of parents and nosy neighbors, challenging—and eventually disrupting—conventions of inter-gender socializing, including courtship. And with bicycle lamps, both men and women were free to pedal off to socialize unsupervised even after sunset.
“You have conquered a new world and exultingly you take possession of it.”
–M. E. Ward in Bicycling for Ladies, 1895
One common bicycle lamp burned kerosene via a cotton wick. Another burned acetylene gas produced when water in a controlled drip from the upper chamber of the lamp moistened crystals of calcium carbide in the lower chamber; gas flowed through a small burner jet. Both forms were lit with a match; a reflector behind the flame and a lens in front helped intensify and focus the light.