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Why the incandescent light bulb will be missed

incandescent light bulbs.

We’re nearing end of days for the 40 and 60 watt incandescent light bulb. They are being replaced by more energy efficient lighting, CFLs and LEDs, often with a cooler light. At the beginning of the year, the 40 and 60 watt bulbs will no longer be made or imported into the U.S. And they’ll slowly start to disappear from store shelves.

So, we thought we’d hold a little memorial service, to say goodbye to the incandescent bulb.

“Oh my god, tears are coming to my eyes,” says Kathy Pryzgoda, principal lighting designer for lightstudioLA. “I’m kidding, but I’m not really kidding.” Saying goodbye, she says, means saying goodbye to the glow of the incandescent bulb, its ability to warm and dim.  

“It’s a feeling that you’re going to miss,” says LA interior designer Ruth Storc, “It’s the feeling of a space that has a natural warmth to it, and that really comes from lighting.”

We know, like all creations, this bulb wasn’t perfect. It burned hot. It was wasteful.

But, we celebrate. The new generation owes its success to the passing generation.

We asked the inventor of the bulb to share his thoughts -- Thomas Edison. (Via Edison impersonator RJ Lindsey.)

HILL: How do you feel, Mr. Edison, that your incandescent light bulb is now being phased out?

EDISON: Well, I will tell you, if I were still inventing I would have invented whatever they are going to phase me out with. 

 Derek Porter, a professor at Parsons The New School for Design, offers an appropriate epitaph: “Best Wishes, Warm Friend.”

Best wishes, warm friend.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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Why do so many reporters consult with partisan conservatives on science and engineering? Do you think that being unbiased requires using the distortions of the right-wing hacks of science and engineering terms and definitions?

And why didn't you consult with real lighting design experts who long ago adopted LEDs for display lighting in window displays and showrooms and photography, even when LED lighting cost hundreds and thousands more than incandescent lights?

Note that decorative and specialty lighting is exempt from the energy efficiency requirements. If a heat lamp is required, you can still buy a lamp that radiates almost all its energy as infrared and virtually none as visible light.

The conservatives are indicating they oppose capitalism and instead favor pillage and plunder economics. Buying CFLs or LED lighting is investing in durable capital in exchange for much greater productivity from the energy and dollar spent on consumption. Clearly conservatives favor 99% of Americans pouring their hard earned money into the pockets of the coal industry who blow the tops off mountains and fill scenic valleys with tailings - pillage and plunder - because they are rent seekers and the more you spend to live, the more going in their pockets.

Incandescent bulbs are good for some things and should not be discontinued. Try putting a CFL or LED bulb in your oven only if you want to ruin it. Used at reduced voltage they make economical heaters. I received an assortment of them which included 100 watt argon filled bulbs from bulbs.com earlier this month. I thought you said the 100 watt bulbs had been discontinued some time ago.

Correction to the above... NOT ALL incandescent bulbs are illegal, only the most energy inefficient.

Incandescent lighting will still exist in other forms, including More Effiicient incandescent bulbs, and other types of incandescent light such as HALOGEN.

Less heat, same great light.

Marketplace, we expect the truth, not hype.

You can't forget the most important use for incandescent light bulbs. The easy bake oven. How will our children cook their easy bake cakes.

Good Riddance. I haven't had a 60 watt bulb in about a decade; I prefer more light for less power. Too bad for anyone with an old ez bake oven though...

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