Would it surprise you to know that some incandescent lightbulbs that were manufactured in the early 1900’s are still working more than 100 years later? I have been in heritage homes where the original bulbs are still in operation. So what’s all this fuss about the short lifespan of these bulbs?
The fact is that any company who sells a product that only needs to be replaced every 100 years is not going to make any money so the incentive to create products with built-in obsolescence is very attractive to the shareholders. That’s what happened to the light bulb. Ignore those individuals that tell you that we must get rid of the incandescent bulb because it doesn’t last – it was designed not to last. And remember this – what do you think will happen to all those ‘long-life’ bulbs that are currently on the market?
One thing I do agree with is the incandescent bulb’s inefficiency. This is because much of the energy required to operate the bulb goes into heat rather than light so I was very happy to read in the Edmonton Journal (Feb. 6, 2016) that US scientists have come up with a way to improve the efficiency of the older bulbs. According to the article ‘researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a way of recycling a bulb’s waste energy and putting it back on the filament where it is re-emitted as visible light.’
So why should we care? Because, in my opinion, nothing on the current market compares with the colour of light of the incandescent – in spite of repeated attempts. Skin tones look their best and interiors feel cozy. Brighter is not better unless you are performing a specific task and need the strong light the newer bulbs can provide. I’m hoping we will continue to have a choice.