Light Bulbs

Written by Ingrid Chen
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The invention of light bulbs by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879 altered the way we experience our world. Mr. Edison, a thinker beyond his years, imagined a world where we would no longer have to rely on insufficient and inconsistent sources of light such as candles or torches to light our way through dark spaces or evening time. Now we can hardly imagine existing without the help of light bulbs to illuminate our way.

The invention of the light bulb is actually based on previous technology, primarily Sir Humphrey Davy's discovery of light emitted by an arc between two electrodes. Arc lighting, however, was not viable as safe or efficient home lighting. Mr. Edison's key to controlling the light was to place that arc in an enclosed vacuum, and run the electric charge along a filament instead of between electrodes. Light bulbs were thus born from that crucial innovation.

The first light bulb was an incandescent lamp that used a carbon filament and lasted for only 40 hours. Light bulbs have since evolved into countless varieties of shapes and sizes; numerous elements, such as tungsten, used for the filament; neon or fluorescent chemical reactions in glass vacuums; variable wattage, voltage, lumens output and life expectancy; and different usages among light bulbs, among many differences.

Beyond the Simple Chemistry of the First Light Bulb

With the range of lights available now, you can doubtless find something to meet your lighting needs. Some light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, fit smaller spaces and give more mellow light. Other bulbs deliver crisp lighting, like halogen bulbs, covering all regions of the UV spectrum. And now light bulbs last well beyond those initial 40 hours. Many bulbs will last for months, if not years at a time.

Light bulbs have reached beyond mere space lighting. Certain light bulbs even produce a healthy environment in which to live and work. Full spectrum lights, for example, can closely replicate natural daylight, stimulating natural mood elevators and reducing emotional and physical stress. The fairly recent development of the E-On lighting system relies on the production of negative ions to attract and neutralize the overwhelming mass of pollutants in stale indoor air.

Exploring Your Lighting Options

Light bulbs vary so much that the search for the right light may seem overwhelming. But a little online research can make your decision much less of a hassle. Are you looking for spot lighting, or great display lighting? You may want to check out halogen lighting or the relatively new SoLux light bulb, which has become increasingly popular amongst retailers and even museum galleries. Does warmer lighting better suit your needs? The conventional incandescent light or compact fluorescent light may be what you're looking for.

It's a whirlwind of variety, but with online research you can narrow down your options, depending on product, price, energy efficiency and quality of lighting. Determine what kind of light bulb you are looking for: Something to light your living room, for example, or a grow light for your indoor garden. Decide how warm or cool you want the light to be. Take a look at its life expectancy and energy output--a combination of long life and low energy output can save you vast amounts of money in the long run. Look at how much you are willing to pay for each bulb, but also consider that a more expensive light bulb may be more cost-efficient over time. And finally, it never hurts to try something new!

What To Look For In A Lighting Retailer

Your best source for light bulbs is a retailer that specializes in lighting and electronics. A good retailer will carry multitudes of bulb types, light accessories, and the latest in light bulb technology. Online retailers are likely to carry a wider range of bulbs and accessories than conventional stores, and may even be able to process a special order to meet your needs. Good lighting retailers are obviously knowledgeable in their field, and can answer your questions and honor reasonable requests. With the wide availability of lights and fast and convenient shipping options, finding your light bulb online has never been easier!


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