Edison’s Light Bulb: Why Are We So Sentimental

Modern Man is the most successful species ever to walk this planet thanks to technology. From the steam engine to the iPhone we have built a modern society built on technology advance. Nothing symbolises man’s step into the modern world more than the Light Bulb. Can some people not stand the new energy efficient light bulbs because they are sentimental?


The industrial world was revolutionised by the light bulb. It improved our flexibility, and ability to work longer hours. We were no longer controlled by the sun.  We gained the ability to further control our built environment, we worked longer, and we grew richer. This was all made possible by a simple filament in a glass bulb. So simple, so ingenious why would you ever need to improve it?


The Edison light bulb may seem perfect, but it is actually extremely inefficient. 95% of the energy is not turned into light but rather heat. Although this is expensive long-term it is something that does not upset the average consumer, especially in the age of cheap energy.

A Developing Technology

The advances in light bulb technology have mainly been on the efficient front. Energy Saver bulbs use around 80% less electricity.

The problem has been that as with all new technologies there has been teething problems.

Many people have been put off by the new bulbs because of the cold light, the bulbs take a long time to reach full capacity and the initial cost.

These teething problems have been largely ironed out, however many of the original sub-standard bulbs remain on the market. Therefore it is currently a bit of hit and miss whether the bulbs are good or not.

Modern man loves technology, but it must be an advance. The first efficient light bulbs were no massive advance (except for their efficiency).  Light as something precious is seen by many as a no go. Not everyone bought the first computer, mobile or television, but as the technology improves people soon jump on the bandwagon.

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2 Responses to “Edison’s Light Bulb: Why Are We So Sentimental”

  1. Quiet-Environmentalist says:

    Light Bulbs also have been mutated by modern capitalism and the idea of Planned Obsolescence. This idea has artificially shortened their wasteful little life.

  2. [...] The Edison bulb has become seemingly ubiquitous throughout Brooklyn restaurants and small design shops for a good reason: it evokes nostalgia and is a classic, enduring design. Maybe it’s the exposed filament, the dim lighting, the historic significance it embodies, whatever the reason, the Edison bulb is beautiful, although not too efficient. [...]

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