Rethinking LED Light Technology--From Geek to Chic

Posted by EJ Mehl on October 3, 2017 12:21:00 AM


Our Electrician, Time Zeek, paid us a visit yesterday to check out some issues in our home. He mentioned that we should get serious about LED lighting. It made us think that this blog would be worth a re-post. Enjoy!

According to an article in a September 2015 edition of The Wall Street Journal, these bulbs are making a big hit in residential and commercial establishments.

"More than a century after Thomas Edison created what would become the first practical electric light bulb, versions modeled after it are popping up in trendy Manhattan restaurants and restored Maryland farmhouses.

The bulbs’ long golden filaments, often fashioned into spirals, stars and hearts, add flair to the oft-overlooked light fixture. And the bulbs’ soft, warm glow is a welcome alternative to the harsh and uneven lighting of LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Vintage-style bulbs have had serious drawbacks. They were energy-guzzlers, sometimes using more than twice as much energy as incandescent bulbs for the same level of brightness. And they cost more to boot." (WSJ)


Craft Restaurant, New York City (Photo by Mark Jordan, published WSJ)

Somehow the LED folks came to understand that a vintage look had some real market potential and changed the shape from the familiar spiral to a more vintage style exposed filament bulbs. And, they did this without negating the economy and longevity of the product.

Now these bulbs, exposed to the bare bone are showing up in the trendiest of restaurants and are becoming a main staple to newly constructed homes and apartments. Although they seem to feel expensive, sometimes mounting a price tag of $30.00 to $50.00, the bulbs are expected to last 10 years or more, and consume much less energy.

Vintage bulbs were initially picked up by “industrial purists,” who often used them in cloth-cord fixtures out of a desire for historical preservation, not style, . In recent years, the bulbs have benefited from the mainstream popularity of deconstructed design, where pieces are stripped down to their “bones,” as well as a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Often referred to by the catchall term “Edison bulb,” the exposed-filament light bulb category covers those with long, looped filaments, like Edison’s light, as well as other vintage and antique styles, with filaments that might spiral or zigzag.

Industrywide sales statistics for vintage bulbs are difficult to track down. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association says the light-bulb industry classifies vintage bulbs as a niche product and doesn’t break out and track sales. The bulbs are exempt from efficiency standards that began phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs and promoting use of compact fluorescent and LED bulbs in 2012, according to Maria Northup, industry director for lighting systems at the association.

But, as far as we are concerned, these bulbs are really making their mark!