Cutting the Cord on the Incandescent Light Bulb

When I was a young ham radio operator, I would connect the output of my radio transmitter directly to a 75 watt incandescent light bulb, and tune the radio controls for maximum brightness. This was considered a crude but “better than nothing” way to adjust before going on the air.

Incandescent Bulb by James Bowe Flickr

Incandescent Bulb by James Bowe Flickr

Yes, I know this is a bit off topic, cord cutters, but it fits into the growing list of technologies (like land line telephones) that will slowly fade away in the 21st century.

Starting in 2014 it will become more difficult to find the bulb that Edison invented, as a ban on 40 and 60 watt bulbs goes in to effect.  I must admit I hadn’t noticed that 75 and 100 watt bulbs were phased out in 2013. I have been slow converting over to CFL’s anyway mainly because I like the longer lasting bulb.

I expect the phase out to be successful. There are a few stories about the consumer’s choice being denied, but I see little serious opposition strong enough to reverse the ban.

Actually one of my first thoughts was to stockpile hundreds of these bulbs and become rich selling them on Ebay. That would be a risky venture no doubt, as I sit on all of my inventory waiting for demand to exceed supply. At the time of this writing, 100 watt bulbs (banned last year) were still available for less than $1.00 each.

My advice if you are worried about availability is do nothing. It will probably take years for these stockpiles to disappear, and by time they do you won’t care anymore.

Does the ban on incandescent  bulbs concern you?  If I’ve missed something I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

In any case, on this day of Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, it seems an appropriate time to say goodbye to an old friend that has lit homes for more than 100 years.

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3 Responses to Cutting the Cord on the Incandescent Light Bulb

  1. Len Mullen says:

    I have quite a supply. The incandescent bulb is safer and more durable than either cfl or LED. We use the others where it makes sense, but in my attic, outside, in my dining room, there is no substitute for Edison’s invention. If stored properly, these bulbs will work long after all the CFLs are in landfills.

  2. Greg says:

    I know of the safety issue, and mercury in CFL’s. What is the issue with LED type? And you don’t mean incandescent will burn longer do you?

  3. Len Mullen says:

    I’m techno-curious. I try everything that comes out. So I have been playing with CFLs and LEDs for more than a decade. Initially, I tried them everywhere — inside, outside, in the kitchen, in the corridors. What I learned is that CFLs and LEDs work best when you turn them on and leave them on at room temperature. If you turn them on and off, they do not live up to what is printed on the box. In my attic, I had three 60w bulbs for 20 years. One after another failed and I replaced them with CFLs — all three failed within a year. That is like 20 on/off cycles and ten hours of use. I have a candelabra in my dining room. This light is turned on and off ten times a day. I could not keep CFLs or LEDs in it for more than a couple weeks. Even in my kitchen and bathrooms, I do not get more than a couple of years out of a CFL. I’ve actually contacted the manufacturers and they told me I was not using them correctly. They said the ballasts were not designed to be turned on and off and that I should leave the lights on all day. I wonder how that impacts their energy savings claims?

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