A Klieg light is an intense carbon arc lamp especially used in filmmaking. It is named after inventor John Kliegl and his brother Anton Kliegl. Klieg lights usually have a Fresnel lens with a spherical reflector or an ellipsoidal reflector with a lens train containing two plano-convex lenses or a single step lens.

Kliegl Brothers logo from the 1922 catalog


The carbon-arc source was so bright that it allowed film directors to shoot daytime scenes at night. The ultraviolet rays produced by the light also led to some actors developing an eye inflammation referred to as "Klieg eye".[1][2]


In the early days of spotlights, the name "Klieg light" became synonymous with any ellipsoidal reflector spotlight (ERS), other carbon-arc sources or any bright source. Initially developed for film, the Klieg light was adapted for use as an incandescent stage fixture in 1911.[3]

Although not completely certain, the title of the first ellipsoidal reflector spotlight often goes to the 1933 Klieglight, which was first used to light an outdoor pageant in New York. Century Lighting introduced their Lekolite, developed by Levy & Kook, hence the name "Leko", in the same year.[citation needed]

Kliegl Brothers Universal Electric Stage Lighting Company was founded in 1896 and grew to be the largest stage lighting company in the world. The company closed in the 1990s, though members of the original Kliegl family continue to work professionally in the lighting industry to this day.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Washburn, Bradford (1958). "Snow Blindness". American Alpine Journal. Retrieved 7 August 2017. Snow blindness is exactly the same malady as 'Klieg-eye' or 'flash-eye' which come from overexposure to UV from arc lights in studios or during welding if protective glasses are not worn.
  2. ^ "Klieg Eyes". Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ Klages, Bill (5 January 2012). "What's a Klieg Light?". TV Technology.

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