It is very difficult to imagine a world without light bulbs. Before they were invented, continuing to see after nightfall was a messy and time consuming business. It took a large number of torches or candles to provide adequate light in a medium sized room, let alone a large one. One form of lamp that was used before light bulbs were prevalent was the oil lamp. Although it was fairly effective it left a small quantity of soot on anything in the immediate vicinity. After their invention in 1879 light bulbs quickly became an intrinsic part of everyday life. They are made from a handful of components and are readily available in all parts of the world.
It is a little known fact that the majority of electrical current that is consumed in the modern world is used to power the electric light bulb in places of work, homes and on the street. There are many form of light bulb that include incandescent, halogen, fluorescent and xenon. Each sort of bulb has different properties and each are chosen on their merits. If you want to save money and are not worried about instant light then you may be prepared to wait for a fluorescent tube to light up rather than have the immediacy of an incandescent bulb.
One of the major recent advances in light bulb technology is the emergence of the LED bulb. This is many more times efficient when compared to a fluorescent bulb and at least 40 times more efficient than a standard incandescent bulb. A combination of different color LED bulbs in the home or office can have the effect of enhancing the beauty of our homes and can make the office a more welcoming place to be. LED bulbs are packaged in such a way as to be a direct replacement for standard bulbs and, although they cost a little more at the outset, they last up to 10 times longer and will quickly repay the extra cost with the corresponding reduction in energy bills.
Another form of light bulbs that are widely used are the halogen variety. These are used extensively indoors and out. They give a clear crisp light and also quite a high degree of heat. This has been exploited in some areas where an excess of halogen lights have been installed to provide light but also, as a by product, to warm up the area as well. Halogen floodlight bulbs are used externally in conjunction with infrared sensors to provide security lighting. The infra-red sensors detect movement in an arc in front of the bulb and this triggers the halogen light to come on, illuminating the subject and acting as a deterrent to any unwanted visitor.
If it’s true sunlight replacement you are looking for then you need full spectrum light bulbs. These bulbs provide exactly the same light spectrum that you get from sunlight. They have many uses within the scientific and medical profession and are also widely used to mimic sunlight for plants that are grown indoors.
Light bulbs have come a long way since 1879 and it would be a case of returning to the dark ages without them.
Jeff King is a technologist with a background in consumer electrical devices. Learn more about light bulbs at Light Bulb World