When you think of fluorescent light, what first comes to mind? Some might think of hideous, headache-provoking office lights. Others might conjure up images of neon signs à la Vegas. For Galileo in 1612, upon witnessing fluorescence in nature, it was motherhood. He wrote:
“It must be explained how it happens that the light is conceived into the stone, and is given back after some time, as in childbirth.”
Whatever impressions you might have about fluorescent lighting, we think it’s time to set the record straight. Fluorescents have had a colorful, quirky, and sometimes uncomfortable past, but they certainly have a bright future.
Heinrich Geissler, a German glassblower and physicist, created his famous Geissler Tubes during this time. Geissler filled the tubes with different gases to be excited by metal electrodes at each end. They came in many intricate shapes and bright colors and were used as art for their very brief lives. Today they are considered the early ancestors of both fluorescent and neon lights.