Monday, 17 March 2014

Light Bulb Conspiracy : 111 Years Working Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulbs were invented by British chemist Humphry Davey in 1809, it wasn't until Tomas Edison found a way to mass produce them that their commercial use began. However in 1924, the leading light bulb manufacuters formed the international Phoebus cartel with the intent to standardize the light bulbs to increase demand and hence, their profit. The Phoebus cartel went beyond limiting product innovation. Over the gradual course of a few years, manufacturers actively lower the life span of light bulbs. The industry standard of 2,500 hours in 1924 would eventually drop to 1,000 hours by 1940. Light bulbs were deliberately made more fragile, and competitors would be closely monitored to ensure strict adherence to product degradation.

Although Phoebus was disbanded in 1939, say the theorists, its influence is still felt in the West. By comparison, Soviet light bulbs and those produced in socialist countries (which didn't adhere to Western standards) have been noted to have a twice as long lifetime. Modern Chinese bulbs have a life expectancy of 5000 hours. Moreover, light bulbs produced in Britain during or immediately after World War II, when the patriotic feelings could take over commercial interests, are still found in use to this day. These "ancient" light bulbs are sought after by manufacturers, who remove them from circulation "for study". The oldest lamp in the world, "Centennial Light", has been in use for 108 years, as of 2010.

Attempts have been made in Europe to circumvent the standards set by Phoebus. In 1975, German watchmaker Dieter Binninger invented a light bulb with expectancy of 150,000 hours (17 years of continuous use). However Binninger died in a plane crash and his patent has since sunken into obscurity and oblivion.

Longest-Lasting Light Bulbs

In 1973, the Livermore's Centennial lamp was crowned as the world's oldest known working light bulb. The light bulb has been working over 111 years and counting. It was located at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California. It is maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

Livermore's Centennial lamp

Second Longest-lasting light Bulb

In Fort Worth, Texas A light bulb known as The Eternal Light, was credited as being the second longest lasting light bulb. It was originally at the Byers Opera House, but transported to a museum. It was installed on September 21, 1908 above the backstage door by Barry Burke.

Eternal Light

Third longest lasting light Bulb

The third longest-lasting light bulb was above the back door of Gasnick Supply, a New York City hardware store. It was installed in 1912 and still working. It is not known what happened to Gasnick and his bulb. The store, and the entire half-block on which it stood, were town down in 2003.

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