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What is the history of the light bulb?

What is the history of the light bulb?


Warm Yellow Light: The Edison Bulb

Since the invention of the first electric light bulb in 1835, the world of light bulb technology has come a long way.

The first light bulbs were illuminated by creating an arc (when a spark is created between wires). Imagine when you were a kid and stuck knives in outlets and it created a spark. If that spark were kept constant it would create light and heat, and these were the first light bulbs. The first arcing bulbs produced A LOT of heat because of the electricity jumping between wires and creating a visible light.

The light created from these original bulbs was a very warm color temperature. This means that the color of the light was yellow or orange, similar to candle light. Because of this, we associate warm light with the past, as vintage. This feel is something that we at The Bright Angle are working to accomplish by diffusing light with porcelain. We love the nostalgia of a warm light! You can see what this light is like with The Dolan Table Lamp.

Needless to say, these first bulbs used a lot of energy and were quite expensive. The first person to patent the lightbulb was Thomas Edison in 1879. This explains why all the bulbs that are clear glass where you can see the filament that lights up are named Edison bulbs. The Edison bulb is synonymous with warm yellow light because of the history of the bulb.

The Dolan Table Lamp


Cool Blue Light: Fluorescent Bulbs

Energy shortages in the early 1900’s forced inventors to find another way to make light. They invented the first fluorescent tube lighting in the 1920’s which was widely used in commercial spaces, by the military, and for street lamps until the oil crisis of 1973 encouraged Sylvania to launch the first residential fluorescent light in 1974.

Fluorescent lights were initially a cool blue color temperature light. You can recognize them from offices, schools and commercial buildings because they emit a glow that is more like daylight and not as warm. In the mid 1980’s the first compact fluorescent light (CFL) was introduced to the market because the long glass tubes of fluorescent light were not conducive to residential spaces. At first the CFLs were $30 each!

Light Bulb Types

LED Bulbs

In my opinion the greatest development in the light bulb world was the invention of the light emitting diode (LED)! These little diodes were first invented in 1962 by General Electric but they didn’t become affordable and available to the commercial market until the 21st Century.

The most wonderful thing about LEDs is that they are incredibly efficient and produce a negligible amount of heat. They can also last a lifetime! The LED bulbs that we use in The Bright Angle lighting last for more than 50,000 hours or 5 years of being on all the time.

LEDs are also the first bulb that you can actually have one light that can change temperatures. Our favorite bulb to use is an LED Edison bulb that looks like an Edison bulb but instead of a filament it has little led diodes in the middle of the glass bulb. 

Creating a table lamp that would glow with a warm and comfortable glow

We use the history of the light bulb when choosing which to include in our lighting because it’s all about the glow. We use a modern LED light that is in an Edison bulb style and also mimics the warm bulbs of the 1800s without the heat. These bulbs also use virtually no energy to help keep your electricity costs down. The porcelain shade on the Dolan Table lamp diffuses the light bulb and comes alive when it is on. No more getting blinded by looking at a light bulb even though the LED Edison bulb actually has a really nice look. This is an opportunity to cover your bulbs in style and use the porcelain to create a warm and ambient light that is soothing and effective.

Studies show that warm light is the best light for relaxation and de-stressing at the end of a long day. But warm light also makes you look good and feel good! Think about bright cool fluorescents that create a cold environment. Cool blue light is great for large officers to simulate sunlight. But the light isn’t flattering and can cause anxiety.

The Dolan Table Lamp

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