matter, for safety in getting in and getting out, and to carry out the style
motive of the car interior. The number of luminaires commonly used
ranges from one to four, employing 6-
to 21-candlepower lamps. Usually
these are shielded so as to prevent direct glare. Standards of brightness
and illumination have not been established for passenger automobiles.
Panel-board lighting for automobiles is designed to meet decorative as
well as utilitarian requirements. Since the average driver uses the various
meters for reference rather than for operation, the seeing problems are
not critical. Illumination usually is provided by small lamps recessed
behind glass, plastic, or other light-transmitting materials; by similar
lamps used for the edge lighting of recessed or raised numerals; or by
direct illumination from lamps at the top or bottom and in front of the
panel faces. Ultraviolet excitation of fluorescent panels was employed in
a standard automobile for the first time in 1946. Dimming control of
panel numeral or pointer brightness is recommended.
Exterior illumination. The most important illuminating-engineering
problem in the automobile field concerns head lamps. Because of the
speed at which modern cars are operated, because most roads are used for
two-way traffic, and because a few feet above the road surface is the most
convenient head-lamp location, it is not easy to provide good road lighting
without creating glare for an approaching driver. The standard method
used today employs two filaments in a 7-inch bulb formed by joining a
mirrored parabolic rear section with a lens front section, or a two-filament
lamp in a hermetically sealed, 7-inch-lens-reflector combination. Con-
suming a total power of about 90 watts, the lower filaments of a pair of
such lamps located at the optical centers of their respective reflectors
produce together a maximum beam candlepower of about 65,000 (the
permissible maximum is 75,000). Though the high-intensity portion of
this beam is narrow (confined to a few degrees each side of the optical axes),
careful control of the gradients provides illumination in ditches, for turn-
ing corners, and so forth.
Standardization of Automobile Lighting
The mass production methods characteristic of the automotive industry
encourage extensive standardization and, through the co-operation of the
Society of Automotive Engineers, the Illuminating Engineering Society,
safety engineers, and state motor-vehicle administrators, standards have
been developed over a period of years covering the characteristics and
procedure for testing the following types of automotive-lighting equipment
Head lamps Stop lamps
Head-lamp mountings Tail lamps
Headlight switching License-plate lamps
Sealed-beam headlamps Direction-signal lamps
Supplementary driving lamps Clearance, side-marker, and identification
Supplementary passing lamps Reflex reflectors lamps
Fog lamps Electric emergency lanterns