A lamplighter, historically, was an employee of a town who lit street lights.
Lights were lit each evening, generally by means of a wick on a long pole. At dawn, they would return to put them out using a small hook on the same pole. Early street lights were generally candles, oil, and similar consumable liquid or solid lighting sources with wicks.
Another lamplighter duty was to carry a ladder and renew the candles, oil, or gas mantles.
In the 19th century, gas lights became the dominant form of street lighting. Early gaslights required lamplighters, but eventually systems were developed which allowed the lights to operate automatically.
In Waikiki, Hawaii, lamplighters in traditional Hawaiian costumes run along the shore and light gas torches in the evening.
There is a long history of the role of a lamplighter-as-lightbringer as a symbolic figure in literature.