1909 Dreadnought carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle or bicycle headlamp – SOLD

1909 Dreadnought carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle or bicycle headlamp – SOLD


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Dreadnought 1909 (ish) carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle or bicycle headlamp.

Ok, I will admit that the 1909 date is sketchy. After extensive research, including “Graces Guide“, I have discovered very little. However, what I have discovered has been useful. When compared with the regulars – Lucas King of the Road, P&H, or Miller, this lamp has two features that set it apart.

  • The lamp has a carrying loop attached. It’s not something that was an afterthought. It is beautifully made, and clearly part of the original design.
  • The other feature that distinguishes it, are the round holes in the chimney.  I have only managed to find one other lamp that is exactly the same as this one. It was for sale and was missing parts. The condition was not as good as this one either.

A bit of history

1909 Dreadnought Motorcycle

As it happens, Dreadnought was pretty popular as a brand or product name in the early 1900’s. Apart from being a fairly ferocious battleship, “Dreadnought” was even used as a name for inner tubes at the 1910 Cycle & Motorcycle exhibition. Between 1902 and 1910, there was a brand of motorcycle made in Nottingham, England. It is featured on this page to show the headlamp fitted. Although the lamp is larger, note the holes in the chimney. In 1915, William Lloyd Cycles built Dreadnought motorcycles. They continued the construction of flat tank motorcycles until 1922. They were simple machines with a Villiers 2-stroke engine and Albion gearboxes.

Take your pick on who might have been responsible for creating this lovely Dreadnought carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle / bicycle headlamp.

The final bit of research

Example label from “DREADNOUGHT” carbide acetylene lamps from 1909

However, I have kept the best example until last. In 2015 Bonhams offered a pair of “Dreadnought” self generating acetylene headlamps by Alfred Dunhill, registered design 1909. They were larger than this one. But, the chimney was the same. They also had the slatted  glass. The word “Dreadnought” is written the same and the label states that they were manufactured by Alfred Dunhill. The patent number relates to 1909 and may relate to the specifics of the design. But I think it’s fair to say that this beautiful little Dreadnought carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle or bicycle headlamp dates from 1909 to about 1920.


In a word, Good. 

The nickel plating is good. It’s not perfect as it has tiny tarnish marks. I have shown a close-up of the lamp so that you can see this. The spring on the hanger works well. The hinge and clasp work exactly as they should. The carbide chamber comes undone and the internals of the light are good. This includes the all-round reflector surface and mirror. The only part that I can’t see is a wick.


Dreadnought carbide acetylene gas powered motorcycle or bicycle headlamp is not your ordinary lamp. It’s rare and functional. It would suit an early bicycle, or a veteran motorcycle. See my other carbide acetylene front, rear and side lamps here. 

Shipping information

Shipping is charged ON TOP of the price for the itemThere are too many variables to include shipping in the checkout, so please contact me before you buy and I will give you a shipping price.

I usually ship to most destinations.

International shipping available. Let me know where you are and I will send you a price for shipping with tracking

Combined shipping available. 

Viewing: Please come and check it over before you buy. It is at PE28, near St Ives in Cambridgeshire.

Collection: If you don’t want it shipped, I have plenty of space. If you can’t collect for a while, it’s not a problem. However, I will need to be paid very soon after the sale. Thanks.

Payment: Good old fashioned money on collection is preferred. I can accept payment through PayPal or by bank transfer as well. I can accept EUROS. Please ask. 

Import Taxes: Please note that IMPORT DUTIES are not something I can control. If you are buying from outside the UK, there is a chance that you will have to pay import taxes. Import taxes vary from country to country. If there are charges to pay, it is the buyer’s responsibility to research the cost and pay the duties. The price that you see on my advert is for the item and not the item plus whatever taxes might be due.

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