The story of the light bulb

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison's first public demonstration of the light bulb happened 134 years ago on the 6th January and up until 2009, the technology remained relatively unchanged. Today's light bulb is 85% more efficient than it's incandescent equivalent and this is the story of the humble light bulb has evolved.

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The Ordinary Light Bulb

The is the ordinary, incandescent light bulb. As of September 2013, under EU directive, manufacturing of the ordinary (incandescent) light bulbs have been banned, making way for the new more energy efficient types. The average home with all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs.

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Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen Light Bulbs we're first patented by General Electric in 1959. These lower wattage incandescent bulbs have a tungsten filament like standard bulbs, but are surrounded by a halogen gas, rather than argon or nitrogen, to provide bright light with better efficiency. These are 25% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and will last three times as long.

CFL Light Bulbs

This is a CFL light bulb, they are 80% more efficient than an ordinary bulb. If you were to change all your light bulbs to 'A' rated CFL light bulbs, an average home could save up to €143.88 per year.


LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are the most energy efficient light bulbs to date and are 85% more energy efficient than their incandescent equivalent. This light bulb, the Osram LED 7 Watt light bulb would replace a 50 watt halogen light bulb and it is 85% per cent more energy efficient. The Osram lasts 25 years and whilst a little more costly than your average light bulb, you would make your money back in one year through energy savings and each light bulb would save you €178 over its life time or €1,424, for the average kitchen.

So now you have the (abridged) story, here's some extra information that's good to know when buying a lights bulb..

The wattage label is being phased out, all the terminology is now in lumens, so that it can be made standard across all light bulbs. Here's a quick cheat sheet:

  • A 100 watt bulb is equal to 1600 lumens.
  • A 75 watt bulb is equal to 1100 lumens.
  • A 60 watt bulb is equal to 800 lumens.
  • A 40 watt bulb is equal to 450 lumens.


Look at the colour too

Another new option you’ll see is colour temperature. Because few people are fond of the harshness of fluorescent lights, most CFLs now come in colours designed to mimic the warmth of an incandescent bulb. Colour is measured in Kelvins, ranging from 2,700 K (the warm light of a typical incandescent) up to around 5,500 K (proving a daylight or natural tone).