The Carbide Lamps were still in common use back in the 50's and early 60's here in Iowa. Primarily by Coonhunters, Trappers, nightcrawler hunters and often farmers in remote areas etc. Poachers were know to put a little carbide, water in a mason jar sealed the top tightly and throw it in the river to blast for fish. (Never did that but knew the guys who did.) Used them myself back in the day hunting nightcrawlers.
They were common in use until the battery powered "Wheat Lights" became easily aquired.
My uncle used to run his Cutting torch using a huge Brass Boiler like apparatus called an Acetelene Generator, that simply had a water tank and dropped Carbide pellets into the tank. The Carbide Regulator and acetelene feed controls were very ingenious pieces of work.
Okie Gt you have something there! I think due to the explosive qualitys of Carbide while available it is pretty hevily regualted.
omg, None of that sounds safe! I'm more appreciative than ever for rechargeable spotlights and alkaline batteries. And I'll just keep buying acetylene in steel tanks!