Last week we talked about the energy-efficient, color-changing, programmable, high-tech smart bulb that’s trending in 2015 lighting technology. But in the late 1800’s it was the Edison bulb that transfixed the world as one of the most technologically advanced inventions of its time. In a practical sense, the electric bulb was the ‘smart technology’ of the 1800’s. Fast-forward a century, and the term Edison bulb holds an entirely new meaning.
Trends in lighting technology keep getting smarter. In fact, if the LED Light Bulb were a soccer mom, she’d have a bumper sticker that read “My Light Bulb is Smarter than Your Light Bulb.” Smart lighting systems are hot at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, an annual event that showcases the most innovative gizmos of the year. But for all the hype, what exactly do they do? Without a smart bulb, am I less intelligent?
What Makes a Light Bulb Smart?
Like every good parent, smart light bulb manufacturers have different ideas about what makes their product smart. As the trend starts to explode, new variations of the smart bulb are cropping up everywhere in an attempt to out-perform their predecessors. Though each smart bulb has its own set of features, I’ve put together a list of some popular characteristics that seem to make a smart bulb so much “brighter” than its peers (sorry, couldn’t resist):
I grew up in the 90’s, back when thrift store shopping was considered alternative and grunge. While I tooled around Goodwill listening to Nine Inch Nails on my Walkman, my more sophisticated friends were at the mall, looking adorable & stylish in the latest trend from The Limited.
But that was the 90’s.
In my apartment, there is a simple pendant light fixture hovering over the kitchen sink and bar. It has a frosted glass shade and an exposed light bulb. There’s nothing offensive about it – WHEN it’s not turned on. Generally, the light stays off. Over the months, I’ve tried different light bulbs. At one point I even had a compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb surrounded by a light-diffusing piece of parchment paper held to the pendant with one of those green rubber bands from Whole Foods. (I liked it. My wife? Not so much.) Finally, after writing a blog piece on antique light bulbs, I had an ah-ha moment.
One of the most popular lighting trends of the past decade has been the use of vintage-looking light bulbs, often referred to as antique or “edison” light bulbs. These are the light bulbs that generally have little light output, so you can look directly at them without blinding yourself. These decorative light bulbs have been used often in restaurants, bars, and hotels, but they have also become popular for home use. Here are nine photos to inspire you as you think of ways you could use antique light bulbs to enhance the lighting design in your space.
1. Totally Tubular
There’s a new LED light bulb in town. And it has been designed to help you fall asleep. Here’s the premise: Before we had electric lights, we adapted our sleep patterns to the rising and setting of the sun. But these days, many of us have completely lost touch with the natural rhythms of light and darkness. We stay up until the wee hours, our faces washed in the light of a computer or tablet screen, our eyes glazed over. We wake up to alarms, feeling perpetually like we haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sound familiar?
This guy’s name is Humphry. He’s about 24 years old. A chemist. And, by the looks of him, pretty content with his accomplishments and station in life. He’s the boy wonder credited with creating the first incandescent light. He seems to be thinking, “I’m just a genius. No biggie.” It’s around 1802. England.
We were born into a world of electric illumination. Incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, halogen, xenon, LEDs. It glows from lamps and televisions, twinkles from nightlights, puts on a show when you rush past it in tunnels, speckles a cityscape at night. We take it for granted, generally speaking. It’s tough to imagine a world in which electric light does not exist. But, when you think about it, electric lamps have only been the norm for a tiny,TINY percentage of the history of human life.
Last week, my former high school ceramics teacher contacted me on Facebook and asked if I could help him solve some lighting problems in his art gallery. I told him I was on the case, and a few days later I went over to his gallery.
It has taken 7 years but we are now here. On January 1, 2014 both the 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be produced as a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) signed by President George W. Bush. In years past we have lost the 100-watt and 75-watt. However, this next phase will probably have the biggest impact. Why? Simple. The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs are the most popular. According to Residential Lighting, they represent over 50% of all light bulbs used today.
We have been covering the incandescent phase out on this blog for the last couple of years. However, as a reminder, a primary goal of this law is to raise appliance and lighting efficiency standards.
The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs will not just vanish into thin air on January 1, 2014. You will probably still see them in stores for a couple of months. The key is that as of 1/1/14 they can no longer be imported into or manufactured in the United States.