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Light bulb’s fate looks dim

Andy Ouriel • Dec 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM

It’s time to turn off the lights on Milan native Thomas Edison’s greatest achievement.


Come Wednesday, coinciding with a new year, no type of incandescent light bulb can be made nor imported into the United States.

A 2007 federal law on energy efficiency calls for a permanent power outage of all incandescent bulbs.

The first of Edison’s renditions to burn out were 100-watt bulbs in January 2012. The 75-watt bulb then faded in 2013. And now the 40- and 60-watt bulbs will forever dim in 2014.

Retailers can still sell off their orb-shaped bulb stock until they’re gone.

After that, however, people must buy more energy-efficient lighting sources, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LED) or halogen lamps.

Incandescent bulbs zap significantly more electricity than the newer technology sources, creating more poisonous greenhouse gases, said Nicholas Hennessy, Bowling Green State University’s environmental consultant and sustainability coordinator.    Also, incandescent bulbs produce three times as much heat compared to the light they produce.

“The more electricity you’re using, the bigger carbon footprint you are producing,” Hennessy said.

The lasting blackout of light produced by incandescent bulbs, seemingly unchanged in appearance since their inception, ends an impressive 130-year-plus run started by Edison.

Edison developed the first practical incandescent light in 1879 and later introduced a safe electric lighting system for home use.

Before 1879, people only illuminated areas with oil, fire or natural sunlight.

Despite the incandescent bulb’s modern-day shortcomings, its still the most popular home lighting source in America.

“It’s a shame it’s going, but that is how life proceeds forward,” said Robert Wheeler, president of Milan’s Edison Birthplace Association and the inventor’s relative. “Edison changed the world like no one in history”

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