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Resitance to EU’s lightbulb ban October 29, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! The European Light Bulb ban is still a controversial subject! Seems some of the citizens don’t want to let go those incandescents! Check out this LA Times article!

Dr. Z




Resistance to EU’s lightbulb ban By Henry Chu Los Angeles Times

FRANKFURT, Germany – Ulf Erdmann Ziegler takes a dim view of the newfangled lightbulbs people are required to buy, so dim that he has stocked up on 3,000 of the old, incandescent bulbs – enough, he has calculated, to last him his lifetime. His stockpile is the fruit of a frenzied shopping spree. For weeks, he spent many of his waking hours on the phone and online tracking down vendors and snapping up incandescent bulbs. The buying binge was necessary, he said, to beat a ban by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, the manufacture and import of 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been outlawed within the EU, to be followed by bulbs of lesser wattage in coming years. Once current stocks are gone, incandescent bulbs will join Thomas Edison in the history books. The ban is part of the EU’s effort against global warming. The object is to encourage people to switch from energy-wasting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer and are up to 75 percent more efficient. For EU officials, it’s all about the math. Ditching the older bulbs, they say, will save 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020 – equal to the output of 10 power stations. The United States is to begin phasing them out in the next few years. But not everyone considers it such a bright idea. Dissenters have sprung up across the Continent, people who complain that fluorescent lamps are inferior, cost more, and pose their own environmental problems. Art galleries fret over how best to display their works without the warm glow of incandescent bulbs. A petition to save the conventional bulb is circulating on the Internet. “There’s been quite a bit of consumer backlash,” said Peter Hunt, chief executive of Britain’s Lighting Association. To help consumers and manufacturers get used to the change, the EU decided not to ax all incandescents at once. The ban from September covers only clear bulbs of 100 watts and frosted ones of all wattages. Clear incandescent lamps of 60 and 40 watts are to be eased out by September 2012. The advantages of the ban outweigh any deficiencies, EU officials say. Good-quality fluorescent bulbs can last years, far longer than conventional bulbs, so while they cost more, they are more economical in the long run. The new lamps also save on electricity costs because of their more efficient use of energy. In conventional bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat rather than converted to light. Then how to explain that low-energy fluorescent lamps have been around for 25 years but have never caught on with ordinary consumers? “The early ones were the size of large jam jars, they flickered, they had a cold blue light, and they took a long time to switch on,” Hunt said. The technology has improved considerably, Hunt said. None of that matters to Ziegler. Months before the Sept. 1 deadline, he went through every room of his apartment with a floor plan, marking an X wherever there was a light fixture and noting what kind of bulb it required. His local vendor worked out how many bulbs Ziegler would need for the next decade. “I said forget 10 years,” Ziegler recalled. “I want a lifetime supply.”


Drying up of lightbulbs has German in a lather October 19, 2009

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Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

Germans torn between incandescent and fluorescent

ZOinks! The Controversy over the European Incandescent Light Bulb Ban continues. This Oct 17th article from the LA Times gives the lowdown..

-Dr. Z


Reporting from Frankfurt, Germany – Here’s a twist: How many lightbulbs does it take to change a person?

For Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, the answer is 3,000. That’s how many bulbs are squirreled away in his modest apartment here in Frankfurt, the number that turned an otherwise ordinary guy into a hoarder, made him the object of his neighbors’ pity and got him thinking about death and divorce.

His enormous stockpile is the fruit of a frenzied summer shopping spree. For weeks, he spent many of his waking hours on the phone and online tracking down vendors and snapping up enough incandescent bulbs to last him the rest of his life.

The buying binge was necessary, he said, to beat a ban by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, the manufacture and import of 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been outlawed within the EU, to be followed by their dimmer brethren in coming years. Once current stocks are gone, such bulbs will join Thomas Edison in the history books.

“It will run out,” Ziegler warned of the limited supply, “and everyone will be sorry.”

The ban is part of the EU’s effort to retard global warming. The object is to encourage people to switch from traditional energy-wasting incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer and are up to 75% more efficient.

For EU officials, it’s all about the math. Ditching old-fashioned bulbs, they say, will save nearly 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year by 2020, equivalent to the output of 10 power stations. Australia has already abandoned incandescent bulbs, and the United States is set to begin phasing them out in the next few years as well.

But not everyone considers it such a bright idea. The ban has been met with some resistance in Europe, showing what happens when the collective goal of greening the planet clashes with issues of individual choice and even aesthetics.

Dissenters such as Ziegler have sprung up across the continent, people who complain that fluorescent lamps are inferior, more expensive and come with their own environmental problems. Art galleries fret over how best to display their works without the warm glow cast by incandescent bulbs. A petition to save the conventional bulb is circulating on the Internet.

There have also been reports of runs on lighting stores. In Britain, where major retailers began taking 100-watt incandescent bulbs off their shelves even earlier, in January, a retired teacher in southern England spent $800 of her pension to buy 1,000 of them.

“There’s been quite a bit of consumer backlash,” acknowledged Peter Hunt, chief executive of Britain’s Lighting Assn. “A lot of it we expected.”

To help consumers and manufacturers get used to the change, the EU decided not to ax all incandescent bulbs at once. Last month’s ban covers 100-watt clear bulbs and all frosted ones. Clear 40- and 60-watt incandescents are to be eased out by September 2012.

The advantages of the ban outweigh any deficiencies, EU officials say. Good-quality fluorescent bulbs can last years, many times the life span of regular bulbs, so although they cost more, they are more economical in the long run.

The new lamps also cut electricity bills because of their more efficient use of energy. In conventional bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat rather than converted to light.

“You can . . . look at it the same way that you’re looking at improvements of washing machines and fridges, where consumers don’t even notice that the fridges [have] become more efficient,” said Andras Toth, a policy officer in the EU’s energy directorate.

Maybe. But then how to explain that low-energy fluorescent lamps have been around for 25 years but have never caught on with consumers? Though he supports the switch-over, Hunt acknowledges that there were good reasons why fluorescent bulbs were passed over on store shelves.

“The early ones were the size of large jam jars, they flickered, they had a cold blue light and they took a long time to switch on,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that consumers have a bad preconception of this lighting.”

The technology has improved considerably on all those counts, Hunt said. But fluorescent bulbs haven’t shaken their bad rap.

Their start-up time still lags well behind the instant on-and-off of incandescent bulbs. They cannot be used with dimmer switches. And the most commonly available ones still do not provide the same spectrum of light as the old lamps, which worries art collectors, photographers and others who need light sources that offer sharp color rendition. (Officials point out that halogen bulbs, which give off light of a similar quality to incandescent varieties, remain on the market.)

Then there is the fluorescent bulbs’ mercury content, up to 5 milligrams per bulb. Cleaning up a shattered bulb requires more than just sweeping up jagged shards: Users should ventilate the room and avoid touching pieces with bare skin.

Still, “if you compare it to other mercury content, like dental fillings, the amount we’re talking about is really rather small,” Toth said. “And you have to be extremely unlucky to be exposed to it in a dangerous way.”

None of that cuts any ice with Ziegler.

A writer and former art critic, he sees the EU’s ban as unnecessarily extreme. Why not slap a tax on the old-fashioned bulbs, rather than outlaw them entirely?

“The law just says you can’t use the best lightbulb ever invented,” he grumbled.

A few months ago, with the Sept. 1 deadline looming like a neon sign, he decided to take preemptive action.

With typical German precision, he went through every room of his apartment with a floor plan in hand, marking an X wherever there was a light fixture — about 25 in all — and noting what kind of bulb it required. Then he took the checklist to his local vendor, who worked out how many bulbs Ziegler would need for the next decade.

“I said forget 10 years,” Ziegler recalled. “I want a lifetime supply.”

That, though, posed an unanticipated question. At 50, he suddenly had to ponder — or guess — how much longer he expected to live. He drafted his wife into his existential contemplations, and together, like actuaries, they finally decided that a lifetime supply meant enough bulbs to last 30 years.

Laying his hands on 3,000 incandescent bulbs was another story. He cleaned out one supplier and went on to the next, seeking them out on the Internet. Bulky packages kept arriving at the apartment, and “I was not unaware of the pitying looks of my neighbors,” he confessed in a newspaper column.

Thankfully, his wife supported his panic buying, because she “hates [fluorescent bulbs] even more than I do,” Ziegler said.

But that sparked yet another uncomfortable discussion. Who gets custody of the hoard in case of divorce? (Stay tuned.)

For now, the incandescent cache is carefully stowed away in the attic, to which Ziegler disappears to extract an unusually shaped bulb to show a visitor the way a wine lover might disappear down the cellar to produce a prized bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Ziegler still hopes the EU ban will somehow fail, or be repealed. He’s mulling the idea of writing a political manifesto on behalf of the incandescent bulb, laying out its history and its merits.

And he urges people to build their own stockpiles as soon as they can, before supplies dry up.

“If you want to get in on it, get in,” he said. “It’s not too late.”

Save the Light Bulb! Wall Street Journal Editorial speaks up for Incandescents! September 28, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, LED Lights, light bulb.
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Zoinks! Check out this editorial piece from the Wall Street Journal extolling the virtues of incandescent light.

Dr. Z




Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...

Dude! Save Incandescent they are a wicked electro clash band...



The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will effectively phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014 in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. Other countries around the world have passed similar legislation to ban most incandescents.

Will some energy be saved? Probably. The problem is this benefit will be more than offset by rampant dissatisfaction with lighting. We are not talking about giving up a small luxury for the greater good. We are talking about compromising light. Light is fundamental. And light is obviously for people, not buildings. The primary objective in the design of any space is to make it comfortable and habitable. This is most critical in homes, where this law will impact our lives the most. And yet while energy conservation, a worthy cause, has strong advocacy in public policy, good lighting has very little.

Even without taking into account people’s preferences, CFLs, which can be an excellent choice for some applications, are simply not an equivalent technology to incandescents in all applications. For example, if you have dimmers used for home theater or general ambience, you must buy a compatible dimmable CFL, which costs more, and even then it may not work as desired on your dimmers. How environmental will it be for frustrated homeowners to remove and dispose of thousands of dimmers? What’s more, CFLs work best in light fixtures designed for CFLs, and may not fit, provide desired service life, or distribute light in the same pleasing pattern as incandescents. How environmental will it be for homeowners to tear out and install new light fixtures?

None of these and other considerations appear to have been included in the technical justification for this law. Instead, the decision appears to have been made entirely based on a perception of efficiency gains. Light-source efficacy, expressed as lumens of light output per watt of electrical input, has been used as a comparative metric justifying encouragement of CFLs. But this metric is flawed for one simple reason: It is a laboratory measurement and a guide, not a truth, in the field; actual energy performance will depend on numerous application characteristics and product quality.

If energy conservation were to be the sole goal of energy policy, and efficacy were to be the sole technical consideration, then why CFLs? If we really want to save energy, we would advocate high-pressure sodium lamps—those large bulbs that produce bright orangish light in many streetlights. Their efficacy is more than double what CFLs can offer. Of course this would not be tolerated by the public. This choice shows that we are willing to advocate bad lighting—but not horrible lighting.

Not yet, at least. Energy regulations pending in Washington set aggressive caps on power allowances for energy-using systems in commercial and residential buildings. These requirements have never been tested.

Here’s my modest proposal to determine whether the legislation actually serves people. Satisfy the proposed power limits in all public buildings, from museums, houses of worship and hospitals to the White House and the homes of all elected officials. Of course, this will include replacing all incandescents with CFLs. At the end of 18 months, we would check to be certain that the former lighting had not been reinstalled, and survey all users to determine satisfaction with the resulting lighting.

Based on the data collected, the Energy Independence and Security Act and energy legislation still in Congress would be amended to conform to the results of the test. Or better yet, scrapped in favor of a thoughtful process that could yield a set of recommendations that better serve our nation’s needs by maximizing both human satisfaction and energy efficiency.

As a lighting designer with more than 50 years of experience, having designed more than 2,500 projects including the relighting of the Statue of Liberty, I encourage people who care about their lighting to contact their elected officials and urge them to re-evaluate our nation’s energy legislation so that it serves people, not an energy-saving agenda.

Mr. Brandston (www.concerninglight.com) is a lighting consultant, professor and artist.

NY TIMES: Europe’s Ban on Old-Style Bulbs Begins September 3, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Gadzooks here is a great article on the  Incandescent ban in Europe from the pages of the NY Times. Enjoy!

Dr. Z



Europe’s Ban on Old-Style Bulbs Begins



Published: August 31, 2009
BRUSSELS — Restrictions on the sale of incandescent bulbs begin going into effect across most of Europe on Tuesday in the continent’s latest effort to get people to save energy and combat global warming. But even advocates concede the change is proving problematic.

Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Stores in the European Union will no longer be allowed to buy or import most incandescent frosted glass bulbs starting Tuesday.




Under the European Union rules, shops will no longer be allowed to buy or import most incandescent frosted glass bulbs starting Tuesday. Retailers can continue selling off their stock until they run out.

While some Europeans are eagerly jumping on the bandwagon, others are panicking and have been stockpiling the old-style bulbs for aesthetic or practical reasons. Others are resigned to the switch, if grudgingly.

“Why are we switching? Because we have to,” said Ralph Wennig, a 40-year-old photographer shopping on Monday at BHV, a Paris department store.

The new compact fluorescent lamps are billed as more economical in the long run because they use up to 80 percent less energy and do not burn out as quickly.

“But the downside is that the light isn’t as nice,” Mr. Wennig said, “and they are more expensive individually.”

One bulb can cost €10, or $14 — or a lot more, depending on type — whereas traditional incandescent bulbs cost about 70 cents each. But E.U. officials argued that the energy savings would cut average household electricity bills by up to €50 a year, amounting to about €5 billion annually. That would help buoy the economy if consumers spent their savings, they said.

At a briefing Monday in Brussels, however, they also were defending themselves against charges that they were depriving children of traditional fairground lights, and dealing with more serious questions about health hazards from the mercury in the new lamps.

Such arguments have already started to reverberate in the United States, where incandescent bulbs are due to be phased out starting in 2012.

Until then, the E.U. is providing the biggest staging ground for both the conversion as well as a debate over trade-offs created by environmental legislation. The issues include the loss of long-standing manufacturing industries, consumer choice and possible exacerbation of other environmental hazards.

The ban is one of a series of measures to support the E.U. goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Everything from televisions to washing machines to tiny motors are being made more energy-efficient.

But the light bulb ban has proved singular in the way it has stirred fierce debate. The ubiquity of lighting and the way it can alter the aesthetics of an interior, even the experience of reading a book, makes it somehow more personal.

E.U. countries are not the first to ban incandescent light bulbs, but they are in the vanguard.

Australia has already introduced a ban and Cuba has entirely shifted to compact fluorescent bulbs, according to Andras Toth, an expert with the European Commission, the E.U. executive agency.

Consumer advocates in Europe have cautiously welcomed the measures but they also have pointed to drawbacks for consumers — especially those who have a special sensitivity to certain kinds of light or need old-style bulbs for health reasons.

“The blanket ban could spell misery for thousands of epilepsy and anxiety sufferers who are adversely affected by energy-saving bulbs,” said Martin Callanan, a European Parliament member.

He also warned that the new bulbs would not work in all types of fixtures nor with dimmer switches, and that they would give off a harsh light.

E.U. officials sought to reassure consumers that they still would have plenty of choice, and that the changes would be gradual. The clear 60-watt bulb, one of the most commonly used, would remain available until at least September 2011, and clear 40-watt bulbs until 2012.

National governments will be responsible for enforcing the rules.

However, the European Commission acknowledged that compact fluorescent lamps had to be handled with extra caution. If one breaks, people are advised to air out rooms and avoid using vacuum cleaners when cleaning up the mess to prevent exposure to mercury and other electronic parts in the bulbs, officials said. Instead, householders should remove the debris with a wet cloth while avoiding contact with skin. Used bulbs should be put in special collection receptacles, officials said.

Stephen Russell, the secretary general of ANEC, a group representing consumer interests in the development of product standards, said the commission had set the limit for mercury too high.

E.U. officials said that they would find ways to push the industry to reduce the amount of mercury to levels around 2 milligrams per bulb from the current level of 5 milligrams per bulb.

The effects of the ban are likely to be felt first at the checkout counter, where supplies of old-style bulbs soon could dry up entirely.

In Germany, consumers have been taking the precaution of stockpiling old-style light bulbs. Sales of incandescent bulbs have increased by 34 percent during the first half of this year, according to GfK, a consumer research organization.

“Some delay may happen before you get all possibilities at reasonable prices,” said André Brisaer, another European Commission official, who is helping to lead the phase-out.

Other consumers have complained that compact fluorescent bulbs do not last as long as incandescent bulbs when turned off and on like a standard bulb and that they take too long to illuminate fully. In those cases, commission officials have recommended that consumers use halogen bulbs, which brighten more quickly and are up to 45 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.

But WWF, an environmental group, said standard halogen bulbs should also have been removed from the market.

“Getting rid of incandescents is a no-brainer, but halogens are nearly as wasteful,” said Mariangiola Fabbri, a senior energy policy officer for WWF.

As for fairgrounds, E.U. officials insisted that adequate replacements were available that would retain their soft-white traditional ambiance

European Union Begins Ban of Incandescent Light Bulbs September 1, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, incandescent light bulb.
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The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

The Incandescent Ban: Coming to a country near you!

Gadzooks! The EU has begun their ban the incandescent light bulb. Below is an article about the stir it is causing throughout Europe and even worldwide. Remember the EU is not the only one banning the incandescent. Heck the US is planning on a 2012 ban with some restrictions beginning as soon as 2010.

Dr. Z



ABC’s Samantha Fields reports from London: Across Europe today, a mundane household object is causing quite a stir — the incandescent light bulb, which is now living on borrowed time. The European Union Tuesday began enforcing a ban on incandescent bulbs, in an effort to save energy and combat global warming. Under the ban, factories are no longer allowed to produce the frosted glass bulbs, and retailers are not allowed to import them, though they can continue selling ones they already have. Conceived by Thomas Edison, incandescent light bulbs were first produced commercially in 1879, and in the 130 years since, almost nothing about them has changed. Now, though, the traditional bulbs are being replaced by the more energy-efficient — and more expensive — compact fluorescent bulbs. While some Europeans are in support of the ban and the reasons behind it, many others are mourning the endangered bulbs, which are cheaper, and give off a warmer glow. Some people are even rushing to stockpile incandescent bulbs, which will remain on the shelves only until retailers sell out of their existing stock. In Germany, sales of incandescent bulbs were up 35 percent in the first half of the year. One objection to the ban is that compact fluorescent bulbs cost around $14 a piece, compared to less than a dollar each for a traditional bulb. But the initial cost of the bulbs, officials say, is offset by energy savings down the line, and by the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs tend to last longer than incandescent ones. By E.U. calculations, making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 80 percent less energy, could save each household more than $70 a year on electricity bills. Even if people can be convinced on the financial front, though, many are up in arms over the ban for other reasons. People who suffer from a variety of conditions, such as epilepsy, anxiety and lupus, say that fluorescent light has an adverse affect on their health. Others are concerned about the levels of mercury found in the bulbs. Compact fluorescents also tend to take longer to illuminate, cannot be used with dimmer switches, and emit a harsher light. That, in many ways, is what it comes down to: quality of light. Though the European Union is not the first to ban incandescent bulbs — Australia and Cuba have also done so — its experience will serve as a preview for the U.S., which is planning to phase them out starting in 2012. As the battle against climate change moves increasingly front and center, proponents of the energy-guzzling incandescent bulb seem to be fighting a losing battle. Still, they’re unlikely to let Edison’s bulbs go out without a fight.

Who Invented the Lightbulb? August 24, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, right? Well not so fast! The article below discusses the history and mystery behind the invention of the light bulb.

Dr. Z


Zoinks! Was there a conspiracy behind the invention of the light bulb?

Zoinks! Was there a conspiracy behind the invention of the light bulb?

Surprising Science: Who Invented the Lightbulb? Edison’s incandescent lamp lit the world, but did he really invent it? (Copyright Lee Krystek, 2002.) It was Thomas Edison in 1879, wasn’t it? That’s what many people think and were taught in school. Like most stories, however, there is a lot more behind the creation of this important and ubiquitous object than just Mr. Edison.. The story of the lightbulb really starts almost seventy years earlier. In 1806 Humphrey Davy, an Englishman, demonstrated a powerful electric lamp to the Royal Society. Davy’s lamp produced its illumination by creating a blinding electric spark between two charcoal rods. This device, known as an “arc lamp,” was impractical for most uses. The light, similar to that of a welding torch, was simply too bright to be used in residences and most businesses. The device also needed a tremendous source of power and the batteries which powered Davy’s demonstration model were quickly drained. As time went on, electric generators were invented that could feed the arc lamp’s need for power. Iit found its way into applications where a brilliant source of light was needed. Lighthouses and public assembly areas were obvious uses. Later arc lamps were used in war to power huge searchlights used to spot enemy planes. Today you can see such searchlights lighting up the sky near movie theaters or at the opening of a new stores. The Incandescant Light Some 19th century inventors wanted to find a way to “subdivide” the light from Davy’s arc lamp so that it could be used in the home and office. Other scientists thought that a completely new technique for making electric light held more promise. This method of generating light was known as “incandescence.” Scientists knew that if you took some materials and passed enough electricity through them, they would heat up. They also knew that if the material got hot enough, it would start to glow. The problem with this method of making light was that before long either the material would burst into flame or melt into a puddle. If incandescent light was to be made practical, these twin problems would have to be solved. It occurred to inventors that one way to keep their incandescent “burners” from catching fire was to not let them come into contact with oxygen. Oxygen is a necessary ingredient in the combustion process. Since oxygen is in the atmosphere, the only way to keep it away from the burners was to enclose the burner in a glass container, or “bulb,” and pump out the air. In 1841 a British inventor named Frederick DeMoleyns patented a bulb using just this technique in combination with burners made of platinum and carbon. An American named J. W. Starr also received a patent in 1845 for a bulb using vacuum in conjunction with a carbon burner. Many others, including an English chemist named Joseph Swan, improved and patented versions of bulbs using a vacuum with burners of various materials and shapes. None, however, proved practical for everyday use. Swan’s lamp, for example, used carbonized paper that would quickly crumble after being lit a short time. Edison Joins the Fray It was obvious, though, that incandescent lighting would be a huge financial success if it could be perfected, so many inventors continued to work on finding a solution. It was into this environment that the brash, young, inventor Thomas Alva Edison entered the race to make-a-better-bulb in 1878. Edison was already world famous for having created and commercialized several items, including a better stock market ticker and the phonograph. In October of that year, after working on the project for only a few months, he declared to the newspapers “I have just solved the problem of the subdivision of the electric light.” This rash pronouncement was enough to drive the stocks of the gas companies (whose lamps supplied the current form of lighting) down into the ground. As it turned out, Edison’s announcement was premature. He had an idea of how to solve the problems of the electric incandescent light, but had not yey perfected it. His idea was to enclose a platinum burner in a vacuum. When other inventors had done this the platinum melted, but Edison thought he had solved that problem by building a temperature-sensitive switch into the bulb that would cut off the current when the temperature got too high. This was a great idea, but unfortunately it didn’t work. To keep the bulbs cool enough, the switches had to cut the current off very quickly. This resulted in a constant flickering which made the bulbs unusable (this same switching principle is currently used in Christmas tree bulbs to make them blink on and off). It was soon obvious to everyone working on the incandescent light at Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory that another approach was needed. Edison decided to hire a young physicist named The brash, young inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Francis Upton from Princeton University to work on the project. Up to this point Edison’s staff had been trying idea after idea to get the bulb to work. Under Upton’s guidance, they started looking at existing patents and research to try and avoid repeating other people’s mistakes. The staff also started doing basic research on the properties of the materials they had been working with. One of the results of testing the properties of the materials was the realization that any burner chosen would have to have a high electrical resistance. All materials have an amount of electrical “friction” that resists electricity moving through it. This is known as the material’s electrical resistance. Materials with high resistance more easily get hot when electricity passes through them. Edison soon realized that any good burner would have to have a high electrical resistance, otherwise too much electricity would be needed to warm the material to the point where it would give off light. This revelation meant that Edison’s staff need only to test high-resistance materials to find the one they wanted. This information also started Edison thinking about the electric lights not only as an end to themselves, but how they fit as part of a whole electrical system. How big would the generator need to be to light a neighborhood? What voltage should be delivered to a house? By October of 1879 Edison’s workers began to see some results. On the 22nd of that month a thin, cotton “carbonized” thread burned for some 13 hours during an experiment. Longer times were achieved by modifying the vacuum pumps and creating a better vacuum inside the bulb (less oxygen inside the bulb slowed the burning process). More carbonized organic materials were tested and Japanese bamboo proved to be the best. By the end of 1880 Edison’s carbonized bamboo burners, now called filaments because they were fashioned into a long, thin thread, were burning in bulbs as long as 600 hours. The “filament” proved to be the best shape to increase the materials electrical resistance and physical strength. The carbonized bamboo had a high resistance and fit well into Edison’s scheme for building a whole electrical power system to provide lighting. By 1882 he had established the Edison Electrical Light Company which had a generating station located on Perl Street, providing New York City with electrical lighting. In 1883 Macy’s in New York City became the first store to install the new incandescent lamps. Edison Vs. Swan Meanwhile over in England, Joseph Swan had again gotten involved in working on the lightbulb after he saw that new pumps made it possible to produce a better vacuum. Swan made a lamp which worked well for demonstrations, but was impractical in actual use. Swan’s burner was made of a thick carbon rod that gave off gases that soon covered the inside of the bulb in soot. Also, the low resistance of the rod meant that the bulb used up too much power. After seeing the success of a high resistance, thin filament in Edison’s lamps, Swan incorporated this improvement into his own bulbs. After founding his own company in England, Swan found himself sued by Edison for patent infringement. Eventually the two inventors decided to stop fighting and join forces. The company they formed, Edison-Swan United, became one of the world’s largest manufacturer of lightbulbs. An early Edison power generation plant. So did Edison invent the lightbulb? Not really. Others had produced an incandescent light before him. He did, however, create the first practical lightbulb along with an electrical system to support it, certainly a significant achievements in their own right. Of all the inventions Edison was involved in – the stock ticker, the phonograph, the telegraph and the mimeograph – only the incandescent lightbulb remains in general use today. It is a testament to how great a job Edison and his workers at Menlo Park did in taking this invention out of the laboratory and putting it into the home.


European backlash toward incandescent ban! August 24, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, incandescent light bulb, light bulb.
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Zoinks! Here is an article from the Financial Times discussing the backlash in Europe concerning the legistlation banning incandescent light bulbs. Seems that they are hoarding the little buggers!

Dr. Z


Germans have always had a thing for incandescents! Check out this little beauty!

Germans have always had a thing for incandescents! Check out this little beauty!


Germans fail to see the light on bulbs By Daniel Schäfer in Frankfurt Published: August 22 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 22 2009 03:00 Germans, Austrians and Hungarians are hoarding energy-hungry light bulbs, which have fallen out of favour in other European countries, ahead of a European Union ban that takes effect next month. The scramble for conventional bulbs illuminates the challenges of persuading consumers to embrace environmentally friendly shopping habits – particularly in the midst of an economic crisis. Sales of incandescent light bulbs have risen 34 per cent year-on-year in Germany in the first six months of 2009, data from GfK, the German consumer research group, shows. In most other European countries, sales of old-style light bulbs have fallen at double-digit rates this year. In the UK, sales dropped 22 per cent, amid a voluntary agreement between retailers and energy companies to phase out light bulbs nine months ahead of the EU ban. Last year, the UK experienced a similar tendency to stockpile light bulbs ahead of the voluntary ban that came into effect in January. Christian Schraft, head of the consumer division at Osram, one of Europe’s largest lighting producers owned by engineering group Siemens, said he had been taken aback by Germany’s reluctance to accept energy-saving bulbs. “Germans are often sceptical about innovations. And in difficult economic times in particular, they tend to stick to what is tried and tested,” Mr Schraft said. The hoarding instinct has been heightened by an EU rule change that comes into effect in September, banning 100-watt bulbs and widely used pearl bulbs from store shelves. The move will be followed by further phase-out steps, until ultimately all conventional bulbs will be banned in four years’ time. The shopping behaviour appears to contradict the stereotypes of Germans and Austrians as environmentally conscious. But Hans-Georg Häusel, a psychologist who uses brain science to explain consumer behaviour, said they were reluctant to change. “There is a fear that they could destroy the snug atmosphere of their homes,” he said.

Zoinks! Germans are Hoarding Traditional Light Bulbs. July 27, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture.
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Zoinks! Its seems that not everybody is happy with the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs. In the following article from Germany’s Der Speigel magazine, the hoarding of  incandescent light bulbs is now common place. Soon they will be a hot item on the black market! Gadzooks!

Dr. Z





Germans Hoarding Traditional Light Bulbs The staggered phase out of energy-wasting light bulbs begins on Sept. 1 in Germany. The unpopularity of the energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs that will replace them is leading consumers and retailers to start hoarding the traditional bulbs. As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle. DPA Germans are hoarding traditional incandescent light bulbs as their planned phase out — in favor of energy-saving compact flourescent bulbs — approaches. The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below). Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker. “It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.” And hoarding doesn’t seem to be just a customer phenomenon. The EU law only forbids producing and importing incandescent bulbs but does not outlaw their sale. “We’ve stocked up well,” a spokesman for Praktiker told SPIEGEL. And what’s ironic — in the short term, at least — is that the companies that manufacture the climate-killing bulbs are seeing a big boost in sales. According to the GfK market research company, sales in Germany of incandescent light bulbs between January and April 20, 2009, saw a 20 percent jump over the same period a year earlier, while CFL sales shrank by 2 percent. ‘Light Bulb Socialism’ The EU’s ban was originally meant to help it reach its targets on energy efficiency and climate protection. Though much cheaper to buy, incandescent bulbs have long been seen as wasteful because only 5 percent of the energy they consume goes to light production, with the rest just becoming heat. And consumers were also supposed to feel a positive effect in their pocketbooks as well. European Energy Commission Andris Piebalgs has estimated that the average European household will save €50 per year on electricity bills and that annual CO2 emissions in Europe will be cut by 15 millions tons. DER SPIEGEL Schedule for the implementation of the EU ban on flourescent light bulbs. But — like laws on bent cucumbers — many have mocked the light bulb legislation as just another example of an EU bureaucracy gone wild. Holger Krahmer, for example, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany’s business-friendly FDP party has accused the EU of imposing ‘light bulb socialism.” In fact, in creating this legislation, the EU failed to address consumer preferences and the reservations of a number of other groups. For example, many have complained that the light emitted by a CFL bulb is colder and weaker and that its high-frequency flickering can cause headaches. Then there are complaints about the mercury the CFL bulbs contain, how there is no system for disposing of them in a convenient and environmentally friendly way, and how they allegedly result in exposure to radiation levels higher than allowed under international guidelines. For some, the issue is also one of broken promises. For example, manufacturers of CFL bulbs justify their higher prices by claiming that they last much longer than traditional bulbs. But a recent test by the environmentally-oriented consumer-protection magazine Öko Test found that 16 of the 32 bulb types tested gave up the ghost after 6,000 hours of use — or much earlier than their manufacturers had promised. And then, of course, there’s the issue of the light the bulbs emit. Many complain that the lights are just not bright enough and that they falsify colors. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, for example, recently made a bulk order for 600 incandescent light bulbs to make sure that it can keep illuminating the works it displays in the time-honored way.  The aesthetic issue is a powerful one. For Munich-based lighting designer Ingo Maurer, the CFL bulbs are ushering in a decrease in the quality of life. “We recommend protests against the ban, civil disobedience and the timely hoarding of lighting implements,” Maurer told SPIEGEL. He also adds that he believes the ban might drive more people to use more candles, which are about as bad as you can get in terms of energy efficiency. As Wiesner sees it, Brussels did it all wrong. Rather than banning incandescent bulbs, Wiesner argues, it should have slapped a €5 surcharge on every incandescent bulb, arguing that it would have made people think a bit more before buying them. “That move alone would have been enough to allow the EU to achieve its goal,” Wiesner says. Reported by Alexander Jung

Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atoms July 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in incandescent light bulb, light bulb, Theory for argument sake..
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Zoinks! Its me Dr. Z! Light bulbs are in the news all over the place and its seems that everybody’s atom are getting excited about the possibility of the perfect light source.. and speaking of excited atoms check out the story below on how “excited”



Study looks at ‘excited’ lightbulb atomsJuly 10, 2009 – 5:24PM A groundbreaking study measuring how long atoms stay “excited” could help scientists build better and more energy efficient lightbulbs, its authors say. Researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra found excited helium atoms – a key ingredient in most fluorescent lighting – remained in that state for 8,000 seconds or just over two hours. The precise finding could lead the way to building more efficient lights, Professor Ken Baldwin said. The year-long study shone a light into the murky world of excited atoms, he said. “Without that exact data, you are in some degree working in the dark,” he told AAP. “It’s a piece of fundamental scientific evidence that could be well utilised in the lighting industry.” Lightbulbs are charged by igniting gases, such as helium, with electricity, Prof Baldwin said. This simple discovery of knowing how long atoms stay excited would help technicians to potentially use less electricity. The research team used lasers to isolate a cloud of helium atoms within a vacuum, measuring the rate at which they emitted ultraviolet photons to revert back to their normal, stable state. Prof Baldwin said there had been just one earlier attempt by scientists to measure the duration of excited helium atoms, but it had not been accurate. This latest finding was correct to within six per cent.

New York Times: The Incandescent Bulb: Not Dead Yet! July 6, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, incandescent light bulb, light bulb.
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Its Light Bulb Man! Faster than a speeding bullet incandescents could be back, before they were ever gone.

Its Light Bulb Man! Faster than a speeding bullet.. incandescents could be back, before they were ever gone.

Zoinks ! A great article from the New York Times about the return of the incandescent!

Dr. Z




SANTA ROSA, Calif. — When Congress passed a new energy law two years ago, obituaries were written for the incandescent light bulb. The law set tough efficiency standards, due to take effect in 2012, that no traditional incandescent bulb on the market could meet, and a century-old technology that helped create the modern world seemed to be doomed.


But as it turns out, the obituaries were premature.

Researchers across the country have been racing to breathe new life into Thomas Edison’s light bulb, a pursuit that accelerated with the new legislation. Amid that footrace, one company is already marketing limited quantities of incandescent bulbs that meet the 2012 standard, and researchers are promising a wave of innovative products in the next few years.

Indeed, the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.

“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”

The first bulbs to emerge from this push, Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers, are expensive compared with older incandescents. They sell for $5 apiece and more, compared with as little as 25 cents for standard bulbs.

But they are also 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs. Philips says that a 70-watt Halogena Energy Saver gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts about three times as long, eventually paying for itself.

The line, for now sold exclusively at Home Depot and on Amazon.com, is not as efficient as compact fluorescent light bulbs, which can use 75 percent less energy than old-style bulbs. But the Energy Saver line is finding favor with consumers who dislike the light from fluorescent bulbs or are bothered by such factors as their slow start-up time and mercury content.

“We’re experiencing double-digit growth and we’re continuing to expand our assortment,” said Jorge Fernandez, the executive who decides what bulbs to stock at Home Depot. “Most of the people that buy that bulb have either bought a C.F.L. and didn’t like it, or have identified an area that C.F.L.’s don’t work in.”

For lighting researchers involved in trying to save the incandescent bulb, the goal is to come up with one that matches the energy savings of fluorescent bulbs while keeping the qualities that many consumers seem to like in incandescents, like the color of the light and the ease of using them with dimmers.

“Due to the 2007 federal energy bill that phases out inefficient incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012, we are finally seeing a race” to develop more efficient ones, said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Some of the leading work is under way at a company called Deposition Sciences here in Santa Rosa. Its technology is a key component of the new Philips bulb line.

Normally, only a small portion of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is converted into light, while the rest is emitted as heat. Deposition Sciences applies special reflective coatings to gas-filled capsules that surround the bulb’s filament. The coatings act as a sort of heat mirror that bounces heat back to the filament, where it is transformed to light.

While the first commercial product achieves only a 30 percent efficiency gain, the company says it has achieved 50 percent in the laboratory. No lighting manufacturer has agreed yet to bring the latest technology to market, but Deposition Sciences hopes to persuade one.

“We built a better mouse trap,” said Bob Gray, coating program manager at Deposition Sciences. “Now, we’re trying to get people to beat a path to our door.”

With the new efficiency standards, experts predict more companies will develop specialized reflective coatings for incandescents. The big three lighting companies — General Electric, Osram Sylvania and Philips — are all working on the technology, as is Auer Lighting of Germany and Toshiba of Japan.

And a wave of innovation appears to be coming. David Cunningham, an inventor in Los Angeles with a track record of putting lighting innovations on the market, has used more than $5 million of his own money to develop a reflective coating and fixture design that he believes could make incandescents 100 percent more efficient.

“There’s enormous interest,” Mr. Cunningham said. “All the major lighting companies want an exclusive as soon as we demonstrate feasibility.”

Both Mr. Cunningham and Deposition Sciences have been looking into the work of Chunlei Guo, an associate professor of optics at Rochester University, who announced in May that he had used lasers to pit the surface of a tungsten filament. “Our measurements show that the treated filament becomes twice as bright with the same power consumption,” Mr. Guo said.

And a physics professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Shawn-Yu Lin, is also seeing improved incandescent performance by using a high-tech, iridium-coated filament that recycles wasted heat. “The technology can get up to six to seven times more efficient,” Mr. Lin said.

Despite a decade of campaigns by the government and utilities to persuade people to switch to energy-saving compact fluorescents, incandescent bulbs still occupy an estimated 90 percent of household sockets in the United States. Aside from the aesthetic and practical objections to fluorescents, old-style incandescents have the advantage of being remarkably cheap.

But the cheapest such bulbs are likely to disappear from store shelves between 2012 and 2014, driven off the market by the government’s new standard. Compact fluorescents, which can cost as little as $1 apiece, may become the bargain option, with consumers having to spend two or three times as much to get the latest energy-efficient incandescents.

A third technology, bulbs using light-emitting diodes, promises remarkable gains in efficiency but is still expensive. Prices can exceed $100 for a single LED bulb, and results from a government testing program indicate such bulbs still have performance problems.

That suggests that LEDs — though widely used in specialized applications like electronic products and, increasingly, street lights — may not displace incumbent technologies in the home any time soon.

Given how costly the new bulbs are, big lighting companies are moving gradually. Osram will introduce a new line of incandescents in September that are 25 percent more efficient. The bulbs will feature a redesigned capsule with higher-quality gas inside and will sell for a starting price of about $3. That is less than the Philips product already on the market, but they will have shorter life spans. G.E. also plans to introduce a line of household incandescents that will comply with the new standards.

Mr. Calwell predicts “a lot more flavors” of incandescent bulbs coming out in the future. “It’s hard to be an industry leader in the crowded C.F.L field,” he said. “But a company could truly differentiate itself with a better incandescent.”