Thursday, May 23, 2019

Longest Lived Lightbulb!

Lantern, Lamp, Filament, Light Bulb We all know that light bulbs are rated to last only so many hours before they burn out.  Many of us, have switched to LED lights for better energy consumption and they tend to be longer lasting but these new ones are not as good as some of the original ones.

There is a light bulb in a Fire Station in Livermore, California that was still burning after 117 years.  This light bulb has a slightly thicker copper filament in the center instead of the usual one.

Thomas Edison's first commercial light bulb was designed to last at least 1,500 hours and within a few years, light bulbs were rated at 2,500 hours or more.  This created a problem for companies who produced light bulbs.

This long last light began burning in the fire house in Livermore, California. The light bulb was donated to the firehouse back in June 1901 by the owner of the Livermore Power and Light company. The light acted as a night light so firefighters didn't have to fumble around in the dark.  It has been on continuously except for the occasional power failure.  The hand made light bulb, constructed by Shelby Electric Company of Shelby Ohio, began as either a 30 or 60 watt bulb but is now producing about 4 watts.  Over time, the light has been moved around from one fire house to another but its still burning after over 1,000,000 hours of use.

In the early days,  lightbulbs were built to last so people didn't need to buy as many replacements which means companies didn't sell as many.   In 1924, manufacturers got together, forming the Phoebus Cartel to do something about it.  Supposedly, they met to discuss quality control while establishing territories but one of the top goals to discuss what to do so people would buy more lightbulbs rather than fewer.

One of the things that came out of this meeting has changed and shaped our world today was "planned obsolescence, the same thing most companies use today to maximize profit and more importantly, generate repeat sales.  Planned obsolescence is the practice of making things so they last a set amount of time before having to be replaced.  The cartel decided light bulbs should not last longer than 1000 hours and this ploy stayed in effect till the 1950's when the agreement was exposed to the public. This lead to the 1000 limit being lifted and they prohibited manufacturers from making limited time light bulbs.

Now, with new improved lightbulbs, their life time is being extended to 2,000 and 3,000 hours of life.    There are now lightbulbs that use less energy, last longer and be brighter.  Light bulbs have come a long way since they were first made.  let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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