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View Full Version : Who invented the world's longest-lasting lightbulb (one for Drapes?)...


airship
1st Dec 2013, 14:22
OFSO's recent thread about putting up Xmas lights prompted me to reflect on lightbulbs (both ancient and modern) in particular:

1A) The world's longest-lasting lightbulb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centennial_Light) is ostensibly located at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California in a fire-station where the fire department says that the bulb is at least 110 years old and still working. Whilst I don't doubt that Thomas Edison might have invented the original incandescent lightbulb, the particular lightbulb mentioned above was actually a lightbulb designed by a French-man, one Adolphe Chaillet, and manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company in Shelby (http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_17287091?source=most_emailed&nclick_check=1), Ohio, in the late 1800s...?! :O

1B) Various manufacturers designed lightbulbs to last longer than Edison's with a theoretical life of merely 1,500H, bulb-makers were proudly advertising 2,500-hour bulbs. But in 1924, it was exposed: the main bulb manufacturers in America and Europe secretly formed a cartel to limit the average life of lamps to 1,000 hours, according to internal documents, Dannoritzer said. By the 1940s, 1,000-hour bulbs became the standard.

Eventually, the cartel was exposed, and in 1953, General Electric and other industry leaders were banned from limiting the light bulb's life span.


Speeding up rapidly (and ignoring the fluorescent tube lighting used widely in offices and industry since the '60s or so), my reflections on lightbulbs ca. 2013 additionally:

The EU (at least) has since banned the sale (any remaining stocks held by EU companies can still be sold however) of the classic incandescent lamp.

For at least the past 6-7 years, we've all been encouraged to replace our incandescent lamps for more modern and lower-consumption compact-fluorescent lamps originally, with the emphasis now being on replacing them with LED equivalents. Her's what I think about the available replacements:

2A) I love the recent "eco-halogen" and "direct equivalent" to the classic incandescent bulbs. Using these only saves about 20-25% (ie. a 60W "eco-halogen" lightbulb still consumes 40-45W for the same light output), but their light is beautiful...?! I have these lightbulbs installed in the WC and the table lamp by my PC.

2B) I've been using compact-fluorescent bulbs now for maybe 10 years now, in the kitchen, the living-room, the bathroom and the bedroom. I've never been happy with the quality of the light. Or with their supposed operating-life. Most worrisome, is that the small flying creatures (moths, flies etc.) seem to be especially-attracted by the light emitted, resulting in sometimes several dozens of them found dead in the vicinity the next day. One can only wonder what (even small) effect that may have on us human-beings.

2C) I've yet to install any LED bulbs as replacements. As with the CFLs above, I worry most about the quality of their light. And certainly the claims of several 10s of thousand hours operating life (so far as I'm concerned, neither the CFLs or LEDs have ever been tested and proven independently to provide such announced lifetimes), presumably we also run the additional risk of buying cheaper Chinese-made etc. lamps inundating western markets from little-known manufacturers.

I leave you in closing: if ever there's a WW III, involving the use of nuclear weapons with important EMP capabilities, or some form of EMP event originating from outside of our solar system, chances are that all your CFL and LED lamps (together with any voltage transformers and dimmers) will be damaged irreparably. However, your classic incandescent (and even "eco-hologen") lightbulbs should continue to light your way out of Armageddon... :ok:

tony draper
1st Dec 2013, 14:35
I do hope those new LED Bulbs are a bit brighter than the ones they have put on the street lights here,it's so bloody dark at night outside now it's like living back in medieval England.
Even the gas lights were better.
I hope I do not have to remind certain people that Edison was still trying to get hollowed out Turnips to emit light by progging them with wires hooked up to his lightning conductor when Joseph Swan had his whole house lit by electric light bulb.
:rolleyes:

ORAC
1st Dec 2013, 14:41
Obviously not the first to invent the on-off switch then......

airship
1st Dec 2013, 15:07
Bravo, Drapes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Swan). I knew you'd be able to enlighten us... :ok:

Something I completely forgot about: disposing of your old CFLs "full of toxic mercury". You're not supposed to dispose of these lamps in the garbage anymore, but have to dispose of them at the supermarkets and other retailers which usually sell these to consumers. In their bigger (or smaller) bins put out at your service. Have you ever done this? Hearing the lamp shatter, presumably releasing the mercury content as a gas or eventually a liquid, at the entrance (and most often just inside) the store...?! :ugh: :rolleyes:

OFSO
1st Dec 2013, 16:04
I've yet to install any LED bulbs as replacements.

Well, I have, chaps, and I can tell you they are blindingly bright, run completely cold, consume as little as 1.2 watts (GU-10 projectors) or 11 watt (frosted bulbs) and are now available giving off "soft" light as opposed to the early ones which were a harsh actinic blue.

Our living room has a total of six lights (floor and shelf) and these were originally 80-100 watt, so lets say around 500 watts total to light one large room. I replaced them some years ago with 11 watt ecobulbs, so then we are down to 66 watts total, and at the request of Mrs OFSO who despite being a Luddite likes the colour of the new LED globe bulbs, they have in turn been replaced last month by 7 watt LEDS, so 42 watts. The outside house and yard lighting, on all night, is now one 1 watt LED and two 1.2 watt LEDs, so 3.4 watts total.

They lamps I use I get mostly from the big French supermarkets (Auchan) or DIY stores (LeRoy or Castorama) as the LEB bulbs in France are half the price they are in Spain, typically two for 9.95.

Only problem: I have a load of so-called eco-bulbs I no longer use.

P.S. Oh my yes, and we have candles lit on the sideboard in the living room, every evening. Can't beat candle light.

racedo
1st Dec 2013, 16:29
Well it ain't the guy down the pub who always sits in the same chair and nicknamed 10 Watt lightbulb..........................not that bright.

Flash2001
1st Dec 2013, 16:39
Bought myself a CF for the kitchen a couple of years ago. It took about a minute to come up to adequate brightness thus wasting my time every I turned it on. It failed after a few weeks and inspection revealed that it had emitted fire from its base. Lesson learned.

After an excellent landing etc...

Blues&twos
1st Dec 2013, 18:16
It is still possible to buy incandescent lamps...but they are sold as "rough service" or "industrial" lamps. They are more expensive than traditional ones as they are apparently built for industrial environments. This gets around the EU ban which applies only to sales for domestic use. Other than that, they are the same.

For example:

Rough Service Lamps BC & ES Ligh Bulbs (http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Lighting_Menu_Index/Lamps_and_Tubes_Index/Rough_Service/index.html?source=adwords&kw=rough+service+light+bulb&gclid=CKCJveTVj7sCFSYHwwodnzYAlA)

Can also be bought from RS etc.

cockney steve
1st Dec 2013, 22:49
yes, Rough Service lamps have a heavier, better-supported filament.
These, if you look closely, are single-coiled, whereas most domestic ones were "coiled-coil "....they gave out a lot of white light, but their life was limited.

the RS lamps are less "white and bright" but last longer.....I guess tha last of the domestic 240 stock lasted longer when the mains was reduced to 230 V. (yea, they sneaked that one in! )
also explains why new Consumer Units have 6-amp lighting and 32 amp power trips

Heard of a chip-shop that refitted entirely with LED lighting including the outside fascia sign....he reckons to save the entire cost in one year, due to the massive drop in consumption

PingDit
1st Dec 2013, 23:14
This thread reminds me of a friend of my father who developed the everlasting valve (radio's, TV's etc.). He was paid 1.5M by Mullard back in the late 60's to stop marketing it.

500N
1st Dec 2013, 23:20
Reminds me of a car wrecker who used to import 2nd hand cars for parts from Japan.

On one particular car, they used to break up one part (I think the gearbox)
as it was too good and never broke.

Dushan
2nd Dec 2013, 00:21
I leave you in closing: if ever there's a WW III, involving the use of nuclear weapons with important EMP capabilities, or some form of EMP event originating from outside of our solar system, chances are that all your CFL and LED lamps (together with any voltage transformers and dimmers) will be damaged irreparably. However, your classic incandescent (and even "eco-hologen") lightbulbs should continue to light your way out of Armageddon... :ok:

That, and the fact that these new fangled CFs and LEDs have no hope of ever to imitate the warm glow of incadescents is the reason I have about 1,000 incadescents stashed away.

radeng
2nd Dec 2013, 00:21
So if you take into account the energy required to produce these low energy light sources and the energy required to dispose of them and the fact that some of them don't produce as many lumens for the energy they supposedly save, how does the overall energy equation work out? Overall, throughout life, what has the lowest total energy consumption from "cradle to grave"?

Back up assertions with figures from verifiable multiple sources....not forgetting safe disposal requirements.

500N
2nd Dec 2013, 00:35
radeng

Exactly. Cradle to grave is what it is all about.

Short packaging - why are they still packaged in clear plastic with card and pins ? Someone did a study many years ago, well before it was hip to be Green about using brown recycled paper.

Result - overall cost to the environment was less with plastic, card, pins
than with recycled brown paper.

Not sure if it would still hold true but back then, 20 years ago it did.

crewmeal
2nd Dec 2013, 06:27
How many women would it take to change it?

alisoncc
2nd Dec 2013, 06:46
He was paid 1.5M by Mullard back in the late 60's to stop marketing it. You're referring to these people I presume.

http://users.on.net/~alisoncc/mullard.jpg

ExXB
2nd Dec 2013, 09:31
Do CFLs contain mercury?
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing an average of 4 milligrams (mg). By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs. Mercury is an essential part of CFLs; it allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use.
Most makers of light bulbs have reduced mercury in their fluorescent lighting products. Thanks to technology advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the average mercury content in CFLs has dropped at least 20 percent or more in the past several years. Some manufacturers have even made further reductions, dropping mercury content to 1 mg per light bulb.

What are mercury emissions caused by humans?
EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 103 metric tons of mercury emissions each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.)
Most mercury vapor inside fluorescent light bulbs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb as it is used. EPA estimates that the rest of the mercury within a CFL about 11 percent is released into air or water when it is sent to a landfill, assuming the light bulb is broken. Therefore, if all 272 million CFLs3 sold in 2009 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) they would add 0.12 metric tons, or 0.12 percent, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans.

*read the entire blurb here: http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf

Try and avoid breaking them when you put them in the recycle bin.

IMHO it's better that these get recycled, and it is helpful that we can recycle them. The incandescent bulbs just went into the landfill. And it isn't a hassle to recycle, it really isn't.

Loose rivets
2nd Dec 2013, 09:35
As one who had to change a lot of valves - nearly always the reason for radio and telly failures - it's tempting to think of a valve that doesn't fail. That was an awful lot of money back then but I supposed it would be warranted as Mullard could not have existed simply on new sales. (I don't know what share they had of the market.) It would be nice to know just what happened.

The house I lived in last summer in the UK, had a sizable kitchen. The lighting was c 10 30mm circles of I suppose, LEDs. They were very pleasant to use with good light and did not burn yer retina when you looked at 'em. I assume they were dimmable, but there were no dimmers.

Yesterday, I was offered dimmers that were claimed to work with all the modern low energy bulbs. I declined at $20 because I got a nice ordinary one for half that, but am intrigued. An electrician pal in the UK fitted a dimmer system for long-life bulbs in his home and it was a nightmare of flickering and trying to catch the right brightness on a sliding loop of output. If I'd been him, I'd have complained to myself and demanded my money back.:*

tony draper
2nd Dec 2013, 09:57
I used to have a big jar of Mercury(we were allowed to have stuff like that int olden days)great stuff to play with, pour it over your hands play with the little round droplets,watch them merge into bigger droplets like that Terminator chap made out of liquid metal in the movies.
Wonder what happened to me big jar of Mercury? lots of me treasures disappeared when I went away to sea,like all me lead soldiers,and me box of .45 ACP ammo.
:suspect:
PS just remembered the dried human hand that was supposed to make you invisible,never really worked,that went as well,though it could be in a draw somewhere, just invisible.
:(

OFSO
2nd Dec 2013, 18:22
just remembered the dried human hand that was supposed to make you invisible

Since Mr D has sensibly moved us away from the nutters clinging to their old-fashioned filament lamps and the even greater nutters clinging to their eco-bulbs, so that we are entering the realm of magik, may I offer the following which might come in handy at Christmas parties.

"If thou wilt that a woman be not visious nor desire men, take the private members of a Wolfe and the haires which doe grow on the cheekes, or the eyebrows of him, and the haires which bee under his beard, and burne it all, and give it to her to drinke, when she knoweth not, and she shal desire no other man."

Albertus Magnus.

mikedreamer787
2nd Dec 2013, 19:25
4jjDPZHQKYo

BenThere
2nd Dec 2013, 19:36
I can get behind LED bulbs that provide warm light akin to my old incandescent bulbs. They are efficient and make a cost-effective case.

Now I can buy a bulb that provides a warm light, and 15 watt equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent bulb, and it is promised to last 15-25,000 hours. That's a positive marketing proposal I'm happy to entertain.

If the rest of alternative energy would make a positive marketing case I'd be happy to come down in favor of all logical alternatives. I just don't like building windmills that kill birds at great expense just to satisfy the left.

Loose rivets
2nd Dec 2013, 22:37
What's that Italian bloke on about? Does he say what metal he used as the filament?

PingDit
3rd Dec 2013, 14:39
That's the one Alison!

airship
3rd Dec 2013, 16:32
BenThere wrote: Now I can buy a bulb that provides a warm light, and 15 watt equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent bulb, and it is promised to last 15-25,000 hours. That's a positive marketing proposal I'm happy to entertain. Do let us all know whether or not the "positive marketing proposal" actually delivers...in 15-25,000 hours?!

PS. I just don't like building windmills that kill birds at great expense just to satisfy the left. This thread is all about lightbulbs, NOT how electricity to power them was produced. That would be a whole other subject, better left alone in the dark for now. :ok:

tony draper
3rd Dec 2013, 17:11
Dunno why we just don't open a giant factory and produce billions and billions of batteries and connect them to the National Grid, then we could shut down all those power stations and windmills.
:rolleyes:

Loose rivets
3rd Dec 2013, 18:33
I suppose in a cold country, one could sell light bulbs as heaters. The light being just an incidental byproduct which accounts for a tiny proportion of the consumption.

I once read that if every house in the UK had solar cells, even with our weather, we'd produce 3.5 times the power of all our generators put together.

Sounds rather optimistic.

Loose rivets
3rd Dec 2013, 18:42
Say there were 15 million roofs in the UK. Say, 300 sq ft on each. That would be 4.5 billion sq ft of power generating surface.

Right now, there's about one ten-thousandth of that capacity.


The issue about energy coming from a cloudy sky is the main point I would think. The production of the cells is getting markedly cheaper.

vulcanised
3rd Dec 2013, 20:59
I am quite convinced when whoever chose wind as the main generator in the UK was provided with a list starting with the least favourite choice.

The just didn't notice the word 'least'.

exeng
4th Dec 2013, 01:27
I suppose in a cold country, one could sell light bulbs as heaters. The light being just an incidental byproduct which accounts for a tiny proportion of the consumption.


That is actually the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in. The old light bulbs produced heat which for about 9 months a year in the Northern Hemisphere offsets the need to produce heat (and energy) by other means such as a gas boiler.

Whilst using light bulbs as electric heaters may not be the cheapest way to heat one's home, it is probably no less energy efficient than other means (like gas).

Anyway I wouldn't expect the UK politicians, or green tree huggers, to understand such a difficult concept.

Likewise in the European winter why not leave all your TV's on standby as this provides a little (very little actually) background heating. If you switch them all off every night then you are just going to expend a bit more energy in the morning heating the home up again.

For the few weeks in the summer turn everything off.

Regards
Exeng