Fun Fact Friday: Edison’s greatest invention is retiring this year!

(Wikimedia Commons)

(©Wikimedia Commons)

Did you know that Thomas Edison’s greatest invention (phonograph aside), the incandescent light bulb, is being retired this year? It’s true!

As of 2014, the standard light bulbs that we all grew up with are going away for good. This is due to the fact that they aren’t energy efficient. 75% of the energy a regular light bulb draws is converted into wasted energy, in the form of the heat that burns your hand when you try to unscrew them!
Though there are a variety of new contenders for the abdicated light bulb throne (such as LED lights) the most common one that comes up when you research light bulb alternatives is the CFL bulb.

The CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) is a lot like the long fluorescent tubes you see in schools and businesses, except the tube is much thinner, and typically twisted into a shape that allows it to mimic the form factor of an incandescent bulb. Their unique shape allows you to use them anywhere you would’ve used a standard bulb, such as in lamps and light globes.

CLF bulbs have actually been around for a long time, but haven’t been fully embraced by the public, commonly due to the perception that they make one’s living space “look like an office building”. For most, the white light of florescent doesn’t quite compare to the warm glow of an incandescent bulb. Fortunately, light bulb manufacturers became aware of this, and made changes to the bulbs to make them more “home-friendly”. The hue of a bulb’s light, known as color temperature, is measured in Kelvin. Normally the light from a regular bulb is rated 27,000 Kelvin, which is commonly referred to as “soft white”. Bulb makers now make soft white CFLs almost exclusively, to meet consumer demand for that familiar glow. In fact, the whiter glowing CFL bulbs (41,000 Kelvin or higher, also known as “cool white” or “full spectrum”) are actually more expensive now, as they cost more to make.

As you can see, if you’re a diehard fan of the incandescent bulb, now’s the time to stock up at your local store. While the bulbs are no longer being made, they will remain available until all the remaining ones are sold.

If you’re a fan of 3-way bulbs, fear not! They are the one exception to the incandescent blackout, and will continue to be made. If you’re a traveler, that familiar “click click click” of hotel 3-way lamps isn’t going away anytime soon!


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