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Monday, October 11, 2010

Will incandescent bulbs go away?

Image showing both a fluorescent and an incand...Image via Wikipedia

Will Incandescent Bulbs Go Away?

The “last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent bulbs in the United States” is set to close later this month. Most incandescent bulbs will be banned from sale in the US in 2014, and many other countries have enacted similar bans on incandescent bulbs within the next few years, as well. But while the deadline has been set, and the manufacture of incandescent bulbs is set to end in a couple of years, there is a growing market for specialty incandescent bulbs.

Against all reason though, bare filament light bulbs are spreading as a trendy fashion in restaurants, as was noted in the New York Times earlier this summer:

…they hover in groups of two and three. …they snake through the cafe, restaurant and patio. …they cluster near the entrance as an enticement.

They are not the latest cliques of beautiful people, but something quite old and plain: exposed-filament bulbs, energy-guzzling reproductions of Thomas Alva Edison’s first light bulb. And despite the escalating push to go green and switch to compact fluorescents — or perhaps because of it — their antique glow has spread like a power surge.

Incandescent bulbs are like fireplaces, a vestigial remnant from an earlier time. They can be appealing, certainly. For some they are a symbol of luxury, but they are wildly less efficient than contemporary alternatives. While they may contribute to the ambience of a space, their operating costs are huge, and much of the desired effect can be obtained from other sources, without resorting to the use of a lapsed technology.

If you are looking for a warm, romantic, old-fashioned light source, you might consider the suggestion of one enlightened restaurant owner: “Just light real candles, you know?”


Acknowledgements: Profrock

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