“Industry, not environmentalists, killed traditional bulbs”

The disappearance of the cheap, popular incandescent bulb “has become a fitting symbol for the collusion of big business and big government…. the market didn’t kill the traditional [low-profit-margin] light bulb. Government did it, at the request of big business.” [Tim Carney]


  • I’ve got an estimated 20-year supply of 20,000 Aero-Tech bulbs (Zoro Tools has best price, at $1.58/bulb), and I’m planning to increase the stash by 50%, so I’ll be all set for the rest of my expected lifespan (I’m 53). One of my rules to live by is never buy the prototype – give the newfangled thing time to prove itself. I’m still trying to sort out various articles on claims of health risks associated with light sources like CFLs and LED lamps that skew to the blue end of the spectrum. Do we know enough about the health risks? CFL lighting is too dim, anyway, and because of dimness and the blue-light phenomenon it highlights the halo effect of high order aberrations (HOA) that are a common side effect of LASIK – see the “E” in the lower left of this image:


    Light bulb envirostormtrooping or no, I still want to do more to take advantage of natural lighting. No type of light bulb outperforms the Sun in quality and brightness, and sunlight drowns out HOA. I get plenty of natural lighting in the living room already, don’t normally turn those lights on at day – haven’t had to replace my normal 1000-hr bulbs in 3 years.

  • One of thge drivers of the Lightbulb ban, is Chinese manufacturing. The US manufacturers were driven out of the market by cheap Chinese manufacturers. Their bulbs weren’t quite as good, but they were a lot cheaper. The ban was an attempt to drive the Chinese out of the market. But the Chinese learned to make CFLs and LEDs pretty quickly, so the ban achieved little for the US manufacturers.

    But incandescent lamps are NOT gone. Rough service bulbs, a loophole in the law, are all over the shelves at my local home center, even 100W bulbs. Just about all the incandescents are now rough service bulbs, and by the old manufacturers. They cost a bit more, and are a little less efficient, but they last longer because of their tougher filaments.

    Chinese Capitalism appears to be smarter than the US Gummint. (Yeah, I know, that’s not saying much.)

  • I seem to remember that a lot of US union members lost their jobs when American manufacturers closed those plants. But I don’t recall any squawking from them. Wonder what they got out of the deal?

  • Well, I hope they don’t ban Vacuum Tubes, which are essentially light bulbs with extra stuff in them!

    I’m skeptical how much energy the new light bulbs save; in colder climates people will have to heat more to make up for less heat emitted by the bulbs.

  • I have no problem believing the ban on incandescent bulbs was pushed somewhat by the light bulb industry.

    Here in my little town, a company came in and because they were “green” and said they were going to make high efficiency bulbs, the city government voted them a huge tax break.

    The company promised to be good neighbors and to increase employment when their R&D on lights were done.

    Politicians smiled. Pictures were taken. Hands were shaken.

    After the R&D got up and running, the company announced they were going to start hiring for the manufacturing jobs – in Mexico.

    So the city did get some benefit as it is seen as having a neat “green industry” within its boundaries, but the citizens are paying for the company’s existence and the large majority of promised jobs not only went out of town, but out of the country.