Light bulb’s fate looks dim

Incandescent bulbs to be obsolete.
Andy Ouriel
Dec 28, 2013


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”



Incandescent bulbs aren't obsolete. They've been made illegal instead. Unfortunately, their replacements are a LOT more expensive, and the CFLs contain mercury (a deadly poison). In the main, the lighting also isn't as nice. I suspect I'm not the only one who's stocking up on incandescent bulbs...!

JudgeMeNot's picture

I have incandescent bulbs ten years old and still going. I've thrown away 6 CFL bulbs in the past 2 years. 1 of them actually started on fire. CFL's are a rip-off. All the CFL's I bought said MADE IN CHINA.

From the Grave

It doesn't matter what kind of light bulb you use six feet under.

Raoul Duke

I was going to, but what's the point. I may go back to my oil lamps...


Sorry, but oil lamps use oil. You know, that stuff the ecoterrorists LOVE to hate? Try lighting a fire instead. Oh, wait. That uses up wood AND it makes smoke! Hmmm...maybe we should just all sit home in the dark! If Washington keeps it up, that's where we'll end up anyway!

Raoul Duke

They want us in the dark, that's for sure. Savages.


Progressives are killing the US! Thanks Bush for another stupid law!!! Please remember to call hazmat when you break a cfl. Also be aware they can catch fire. We had one that started to smoke and the base was chard black. Thankfully we saw it and killed the power to the light.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Democrats introduced the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promoted the Act as a way of lowering energy costs to consumers.

Raoul Duke

Sure, blame the greenhouse effect on inefficient light bulbs, ignoring the the 1000's and 1000's of jet planes and millions of cars emitting far more pollution.

Really are you ...

A 60 watt incandescent light bulb takes 1,000 hours to use 60 watts of power. As they are rated in kilowatt hours. 60 kwh. 1,000 hours! 41.6 days of continuous use for 60 watts of power to be consumed. A watt is the product of amps and volts, not much actual power needed compared to what is coming in your house.

Raoul Duke

I am really sad about this...


"Really are you..." ... confused much? Other than the definition of a watt, you have your units so messed up that you cannot be understood. A 60 watt bulb will use 60 watt hours every hour and will consume 1.44 kWh (a unit of ENERGY, not power, and the billing unit of the electric company) in a day.

I do not like this ban on light bulbs that work, but misinformation like this will not win the argument.

Really are you ...

In one hour, one 60 kwh lightbulb will consume .06 Watts of power. A 60 Watt lightbulb will consume 1.44 Watts of power if it were on for 24 hours of continuous use.

Amperage without Voltage is nothing, and Voltage without Amperage is nothing. Multiply Voltage with Amphere's and you get Wattage. Watts is power, and power is the ability to do work.

Pterocarya frax...

Wow. Just wow!

thinkagain's picture

Power can be calculated with current as an unknown. W = V2 / R

2cents's picture

I like this conversion site, I keep it on my desktop : )

thinkagain's picture

Georg Ohm and James Joule just rolled over in their graves.

"Watt" is a unit of power consumption.

"Joule" is the unit of energy.

A watt is a flow of one joule per second.

A kilowatt, a thousand joules/second, times 3600 seconds in an hour, is 3,600,000 joules - 3.6 megajoules.

2cents's picture

You mean our president flying around for golf outings :)


LED light bulbs give me a headache, the light seems less than helpful when trying to read for me.



2cents's picture

So why is it that you can buy all the beer, cigarette's, gasoline, lottery tickets and on and on you desire. But if you want to take a long shower or flush a toilet with more than one gallon of water you are as restricted as you are buying the electricity to light a incandescent light bulb?

Do not get me wrong, I am using a lot of LED technology, halogen and compact florescent as well. Should I not have the option to choose how I light a particular area in my home or business? I am an avid believer in good insulation and it is amazing how much energy can be saved for a very long term there without fancy lamp technology!

Pterocarya frax...

It never ceases to amaze me that people would purposely waste their money on products that cost them more money (like incandescent bulbs). I have saved a lot of money by using CFL's. Some of the newer daylight CFL's have a much more pleasing color rendition than any incandescent.

Yes I have broken a CFL, and no I didn't die from it, and no, I didn't call a hazmat crew. I spent more time reading at the EPA website about cleanup than I did actually cleaning it up (about 10 minutes), despite what World Net Daily and Fox News want you to believe.

By the way, I bet WND and Fox didn't mention that those straight fluorescent tubes you use in your garage and kitchen and almost every commercial building you walk into, also have mercury in them as well.

I bet they didn't even tell you that you get more mercury exposure by using incandescent bulbs than CFL's because of the dramatic increase in fossil fuel use to power the power plants.

I guess this is just more proof of the dumbing down of Americans.


Re: "more proof of the dumbing down of Americans."

Agreed; because Americans increasingly desire to be told WHAT to do as opposed to making decisions based on individual choices and personal responsibility.

“Americans have limited attention spans yet crave spiritual certainty; they love to be told that what they consume makes them better people; they respond to emotional appeals in politics and prefer their candidates packaged as neatly as cleaning products.”

- Christine Rosen

Pterocarya frax...

One more attempt to deflect peoples' attention from the factual information I posted.


Re: "factual information,"

Regardless of how you choose to view it, your OPINION as largely stated in the previous post is NOT fact.

Your hatred of free markets and free minds and your love of big govt. authoritarianism is obvious.

Pterocarya frax...

It is my opinion that I have saved money, or that fluorescent tubes have mercury, or burning fossil fuels releases mercury into the environment? None of those are opinions. They are facts.

I love fair markets and I love the fact that this country is free enough that you don't get arrested for calling me a fascist, and our president "Dear Leader", even though you don't know your a** from a hole in the ground.


Re: "I love fair markets ,"

An ambiguous term.

FREE markets. Let the consumer decide, not the govt.


Re: "It never ceases to amaze me that people would purposely waste their money on products that cost them more money (like incandescent bulbs)."

Why shouldn't it be an individual's choice?

People wasted money on a lot of crap during Christmas. Who are you to judge?

Looking forward to buying all those inexpensive LEDs imported from China. How about you?


Most of you are missing the point. The critical question is not which type of bulb is best, but whether the government should be intruding into our lives in this manner. The genius of the free market system is that it allows these types of decisions to be made by the people who use the product - not some nameless bureaucrat in Washington with an agenda. If CFL's are in fact an improvement over incandescent bulbs, then consumers will figure this out; buying habits will change; and the manufacturers will then adjust their production lines accordingly. This is how things are supposed to work in this "free" country.

2cents's picture

Ohio, in a world where all people take personal responsibility to heart your theory is correct. Unfortunately we have so many people living off the tax payer who could care less about energy or anything else then there are flaws. I have lived next door to homes that are supplied to people by local governments for free and in the dead of winter you will see windows wide open for no reason.

Personally, I am a cheap SOB when it comes to energy and anything I build will have at least one inch of high density foam under all concrete living areas to separate mother nature from the living space. the return is four years and a 20% temperature differential from ceiling to floor comfort gain. Like I said, simple insulation can save more energy than any bulb change. I am sure that the Washington decision makers probably never even considered the heat value of an incandescent bulb in the cooler months, nor factor the averages of savings. They probably only see the Watt difference at the fixture. This argument could go on forever because HVAC is a hobby of mine and I am always looking at new technologies for fun!

Pterocarya frax...

No, the problem with ohioengineer's argument is that the government didn't ban any type of light bulb, just inefficient ones. If you can make an incandescent bulb that meets efficiency standards, you can get rich.

Also, we don't truly have free markets because of "news" sources like the ones I mentioned earlier contaminating peoples brains with false information to sway them to a certain political perspective.

Yes the heat put off by incandescents does add a few btu's and therefore make your furnace work a little less in the winter...just like it makes your AC unit work harder in the summer. I would say that argument pretty much fails.

Your points about insulation are very valid, but my point is that we should use every method we can to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

2cents's picture

"news sources like the ones I mentioned"

Why may I ask in your arguments do you keep referring to news sources, the bottom line is not what any media source says. If you are serious about your lighting choices please visit this page. I order these by the case, they are preforming well and emulate a 3000K color temperature similar to a incandescent lamp.

Pterocarya frax...

Fox News (and others) relentlessly ran false stories about having to call out a hazmat team to clean up broken CFL's, thereby convincing millions of lazy, low information people that CFL's are bad.

Fox is the propaganda arm of the Republican party, devoted to convincing people to vote know...the party that will abolish the EPA and stop taking away our freedoms to destroy our planet.

So yes, "news" sources very much influence buying habits of people. Very few people pay as much attention as you do. Mention T5 v T9, or T12 to the average person, and you will get a blank stare.

JudgeMeNot's picture

So that must make MSNBC the propaganda arm of the Democratic party?

2cents's picture

"Mention T5 v T9, or T12 to the average person, and you will get a blank stare"

It is not my fault the far left pushed for such tort law and has made something once called a shop class in schools obsolete due to lawsuit abuse.
The far left wants people to be stupid and run by the government agenda machine and they are getting their way it appears. Don't get me started on the EPA, they are like big unions, they had a job assigned to them, they have done a great job and at this point they are now over stepping their need. If you want them to do something, get them involved internationally, a friend just came back from China and he said he could barley breath from all the smog. Guess what the prevailing winds are from west to east and I have read that their are complaints about acid rain in the Pacific northwest, air pollution has gone global.

2cents's picture

"does add a few btu's"

Forgot, they are 100% efficient to adding heat, so a 100 Watt bulb places those BTU's in the environment. I have relit my factory with T5 lamps and ballasts as well, much brighter and a great deal less energy. Did you know the T5 was an accident? The typical T9 was designed with more surface area to provide more light per square inch of lamp. It was almost accidental that someone thought of reducing the surface area, thus less coating and wow, it produces more light. Sort of like the chemist that spilled a fluid he was working on for some other project on his tennis shoe and it did not get dirty (Scotch Guard)


Re: "Also, we don't truly have free markets because of 'news' sources like the ones I mentioned earlier contaminating peoples brains with false information to sway them to a certain political perspective."

The FACT that there is an allowance for differing opinions helps to demonstrate an appearance of a free mkt.

You are comforted by authoritarian diktats.


The only eco-friendly thing about CFL and LED is the fact they save energy. The incandescent bulb is still the cleanest, non-toxic form of lighting on the planet-UCI. UCI conducted a study on CFL and LED bulbs; LED bulbs tested contain arsenic, lead, and other toxins.

China has about 30% of rare earth metals, and accounts for 90% of production. China also said they would (if not already) re-open idled mercury mines. That will equal more dead rivers and pollution. The price of rare earth metals will continue to increase.

Seems the Greeners (lazy low information people that quote MSNBC) love to exclude information such as the details of the mining process, manufacturing conditions, and clean up of these “green” products. On the bright side, you can use the money saved from your electric bill and send it to Rev Al Gore.


Heard that tungsten is like copper in America...a limited resource. Since pennies now have zinc in them I have collected pre-zinc pennies, similar to my father's collection of 64 & under dimes,quarters, & half dollars. Back to the filament in light bulbs...are not they made of tungsten?