Prior to the 1930s, bicycle lamps were usually carbide or gas lamps, powered by acetylene gas, produced by combining calcium carbide with water. The operator had to light the acetylene gas at a special nozzle – brenner – behind the glass. Thus, carbide lamps were rather inconvenient to use due to long procedure required to light the lamp (fill with carbide and water, then ignite and adjust).Using these lamps could even cause a small gas explosion.

As the carbide lamp had to be mounted on the bicycle only when riding the bicycle, it was easily removed and stored in a lamp holder near the handlebar.

Before that, in the 1890s-1910s, kerosene lamps and candles were used (the latter consisted in a candle placed in a closed glass chamber), but they were rather rare in Estonia.

Dynamo lamps came into use in the mid-1930s. In these lamps, the dynamo mounted on the front wheel tire generated the power.At first, they were much more expensive than carbide lamps, but still became widespread in the late 1930s,and essentially replaced carbide lamps by the 1940s. Dynamo lamps were easier to handle than carbide lamps, but driving with lights on was more complicated. Therefore, the cyclists welcomed the arrival of battery lamps in the late 1930s. These lamps generated power by means of the battery inside the lamp compartment. Several lamps made use of both battery and dynamo.