A street light is a raised source of light on a walkway or road that is turned on at a certain time each night to illuminate the area for safety. Some are light-sensitive to go on at dusk and turn off at dawn. Streetlights can be a lantern or on wired posts such as utility poles and telephone poles.
The first street lamps were used by Roman and Greek civilization for security to avoid falling, tripping or being robbed. Oil lamps were predominantly used and are surprisingly the predecessors to an OLED street light. The oil lamps were manually lighted, sometimes by slaves.
Gas lighting was later used cities which also required manual lighting. Later they used ignition devices that lit the lamp when the gas supply was activated. Arc lamps were the first electric street lighting developed in 1875 by the Russian Pavel Yablochkov. By 1980, arc lighting was used in the United States.
Unlike an OLED street light, arc lights were harsh and maintenance-intensive because the carbon electrodes burned out quickly. An OLED street lights would last for tens of thousands of hours and offers softer lighting that is more natural. By the end of the 19th century, incandescent light bulbs were used for street lighting.
Currently high-intensity discharge lamps are used as well as HPS high pressure sodium lamps. White light technologies currently being developed include LED street lights and OLED street light options.