ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Limelight lamp. Used in theatres and lighthouses in the early 19th century, limelight or calcium lamps burnt a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen over a chunk of lime (calcium oxide). Unfortunately this was a very explosive mixture and many theatres suffered fire damage. In 1839 the Bude lamp was patented by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (1793- 1875), which overcame these problems. The term "in the limelight" comes from actors being illuminated by these lamps.
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