Fun Facts on the Light Bulb
Wild and wacky truths you probably didn't know about light bulbs
So far we've indulged you with a history of the light bulb, the kind of lighting best for romantic encounters and the best choices in the market for automotive headlamps. Want to learn more? Here are a few unexpected and widely unknown tidbits of information.
Fun Fact #1
Sure, everyone knows that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, right? Well, not the British. In many schools across the pond, children are taught that Joseph Wilson Swan is the true inventor of the light bulb. He patented a way to bring a filament to a white-hot state without causing a fire at least one year ahead of Edison (in 1878). So, who do you have to thank for not sitting in a dark room right now? The answer just might depend on which side of the Atlantic you call home.
Fun Fact #2
The average elephant weighs about 6 tons, or 12,000 pounds. Sounds like a lot, right? Do you know how many greenhouse gases we could keep out of the air if we all switched just five of our household fixtures to energy-efficient bulbs? You might be surprised to hear that if every American home changed five lamps from traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient CFL bulbs, the country could prevent one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases from polluting our air. That's about 83 million elephants.
Fun Fact #3
Energy-efficient light bulbs don't just save the environment and your wallet. They also prevent your house from becoming an oven (especially in the summer) by drastically reducing heat emissions. The average energy-saving bulb emits 70 percent less heat than the incandescent kind.
Fun Fact #4
A little bit goes a long way. If one in every 110 million Americans replaced a standard 60-watt bulb with a super-efficient CFL bulb, the power saved would be enough to electrify a city of 1.5 million people. Now that's brilliant.
Fun Fact #5
Need a few extra bucks? If every household in the United States switched just five of its lighting fixtures from incandescent bulbs to those of the energy-saving variety, a startling $6 billion could be saved collectively every year by Americans. With the current U.S. population at 295,734,134, the potential savings for every American is over 20 dollars. Andrew Jackson would be proud.
Fun Fact #6
Think the fluorescent light bulb is a new technology? It seems that an early ancestor of the fluorescent bulb actually predates Edison's or Swan's patent. In 1856, Heinrich Geissler contained a blue-hued gas by sealing it within a tube, and then excited the gas with an induction coil. Looks like Geissler's invention was just taking its sweet time!
Fun Fact #7
Those sneaky Canadians! Thomas Edison was so worried about owning the rights to the incandescent light bulb that he patented the technology in both the United States and Canada . The reason? A pair of Toronto scientists developed a light bulb using a carbon structure with nitrogen gas in 1874, and soon after attempted to commercialize the product. Although it failed, Edison deemed their efforts worth purchasing.
Fun Fact #8
Talk about an unfair race. Not only do light-emitting diodes (LEDs) require far less energy than incandescent light bulbs, but they're also much faster to physically light up. An LED can electrify in 0.01 seconds, or 10 times faster than the average incandescent light bulb (which takes 0.1 seconds to glow). The traditional bulb is just a moment slower, but it's yet another reason that LEDs might be worth the upgrade.