Edison's lamp

The first electric incandescent lamps were invented in the XIX century. Even now they help to create a special atmosphere and transform the interior of any home. Reliable lighting fixtures not only serve as decor, but also do a good job with their main task - lighting the space. Let's talk about how to choose and properly use Edison bulbs and show how to bring more comfort to your home with their help.

Light bulb history

An incandescent lamp is the oldest electric lamp that is still used in everyday life. Its practical form was invented simultaneously in 1879 by Sir Joseph Swan in England and Thomas Edison in America. Over the past 130 years, it has undergone numerous changes in materials and production.

Electric light was not the first invention of Thomas Edison, and he was not the first to create an alternative to gas light. Electric lights already existed as street lighting. In 1879, Edison tested his first light bulb. Although he did not come up with the whole concept, his light bulb first proved to be practical and affordable for home lighting.

Thomas chose a thread that was durable but inexpensive, and the team at the Edison Invention Factory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, tested more than 6,000 possible materials before choosing carbonized bamboo.

During its existence, the bulb has undergone the following changes:

  • 1906 - General Electric was the first to apply the method of making tungsten filaments for use in incandescent lamps. Edison himself knew that in the end, tungsten would be the best choice for filaments in incandescent lamps, but at one time the machines needed to make wire in such a beautiful shape were not available.
  • 1910 - William David Coolidge of General Electric improved the manufacturing process to produce the longest tungsten filaments.
  • 1920s- the first matte lamp is produced, the high beam bulbs for car headlights and neon lights are tuned.
  • 1930s - Invented small disposable photography lamps and a fluorescent tanning lamp.
  • 1940s - the first "soft light" incandescent bulbs appeared.
  • 1950s - Made of quartz glass and halogen light bulb.
  • 1980s - created new halides of metals of low power.
  • 1990s - Debut of long lamps and compact fluorescent lamps.

Modern incandescent bulbs are not energy efficient - less than 10% of the electricity supplied to the lamp is converted to visible light. The remaining energy is lost as heat. However, these inefficient light bulbs are still widely used today because of the many benefits.

The legislation of many countries, including Russia, provides for the phased termination of the use of such energy-saving options as compact fluorescent lamps and LED lamps. This is due to the lower cost of incandescent bulbs, the ability to instantly receive light and problems with mercury pollution.

Features, advantages and disadvantages

Until recently, the incandescent lamp was practically in every home, despite the fact that it is a model of the least efficient technology for converting electrical energy into visible light. Recently, several significantly more efficient modified models have been developed, but until 2010 it still remained the record for the number of units produced and sold.

Perhaps the secret of the popularity of the product among consumers is that no other source of light has shown sufficiently strong technical characteristics to be able to really oust the proven competitor from the market.

The tungsten filament of the spiral coil is the heart of the lamp, this is where light is created. It is supported at two intermediate points by a thin molybdenum wire, which provides the necessary refractory properties. Electric current is carried by a pair of nickel-plated steel lead wires into which the filament tails are clamped. In one of these external wires there is a section with a safety wire, often with glass sleeves, filled with fine glass beads.

The cap is attached to the flask with special thermosetting cement, the copper wires pass through the holes at the end of the cap, where they are soldered to the brass contact plates. The terminals are insulated from each other by special black glass, which provides high electrical resistance even at elevated temperatures.

Compared with other light sources, incandescent bulbs have the lowest luminous efficiency. Technological progress, in terms of luminous efficiency, is compared with other light sources. But they have many other advantages.

The following are the advantages of these lighting fixtures:

  • produce a warmer color compared with fluorescent lamps;
  • generate relatively high light output;
  • they are easy to install and replace;
  • a wide range of shapes and sizes;
  • wide scope;
  • work directly from the mains without any requirements for a transformer or ballast;
  • offer an ideal indicator of color rendition - 100;
  • their brightness is adjustable;
  • low cost and availability on sale.

The main advantage of using incandescent bulbs is that they are ubiquitous. In areas that can not use more modern types of lighting, such models are readily available. Some models shine up to 4000 hours and are used both inside and outside buildings. Products instantly light up when turned on. Many other types of products, for example, sources of sodium lighting, inflame up to 10 minutes.

Edison bulbs provide excellent color reproduction and warm, attractive light. This type of lighting can be easily diminished, which is a feature that many homeowners use to add mystery and elegance to their interior.

In addition to the advantages, Edison bulbs have disadvantages:

  • short service life of about 1000 hours;
  • require air conditioning to cool the room;
  • have higher operating costs;
  • fragility;
  • produce from 5 to 20 lumens per watt. This indicates low efficiency.


There are three common types of incandescent lamps used in residential areas:

  • standard pear shaped models;
  • energy saving or halogen;
  • reflective or parabolic reflector lamps (PAR), sometimes called "spotlights"

Special characteristics of LED and diode lamps:

  • LEDs usually do not burn out, but the durability of light decreases over a certain period of time. This feature is called lumen bleaching. The lifetime of the LED product is determined based on the duration with which the light intensity decreases by more than 30% of its original strength.
  • LED lighting works on DC sources. When AC sources are used, special circuits are required to convert it to DC.
  • The heat generated by the LEDs must be derived from the LEDs. In LED products, a radiator is used to absorb heat emitted and emitted into the environment.
  • LED lamps do not require time to warm up: they achieve full brightness without any delay, unlike most fluorescent devices. But the light output power is less compared to other types of lighting, and therefore several LEDs are used together to form a single light source.

Decorative incandescent bulbs create light due to the resistance of electricity through a thin filament, which causes them to heat up when used. Most incandescent bulbs use tungsten as an incandescent element. Tungsten is an inexpensive metal that has a long service life as a filament. This is a suitable option because it has an extremely high melting point and is flexible.

Filmy tungsten filaments are easily formed and are well kept at high temperatures. Incandescent bulbs also contain other elements, such as argon and nitrogen in gaseous states.

Sizes and shapes

Modern light bulbs can be used in different lamps, and each lamp has its own specific requirements for the size and shape of the lamp with which it is compatible. The next time you go to buy a new light bulb for your lamp, you will know what you are looking for.

Basic notation:

  • A - standard household incandescent lamp (widely used for home lighting, universal);
  • B - in the form of a bullet tip;
  • BT is a convex or blown tubular shape;
  • BR - short reflector lamp;
  • C is a candle or cone shape;
  • CP is the crystalline form of the flask;
  • E - ellipsoidal shape;
  • ER - elongated reflective bulb;
  • F is the shape of a flame candelabra bulb;
  • G is a spherical product;
  • HK - hexagonal candle;
  • K - narrow reflective light bulb;
  • MB - halogen lamp;
  • MR - product with a quartz reflector (low power);
  • P - the shape of the cap of the pear;
  • PAR is a shape of a parabolic aluminum reflector;
  • PS - elongated standard form;
  • R - reflector light bulb.

However, only three of all forms are widely used for everyday purposes, namely:

  • A-shaped bulbs. Form for domestic lighting. Standard sizes are A19 and A60. The letter indicates the shape of the bulb, the number following it is the diameter of the bulb. For example, the A-19 light bulb means that it is of type “A”, and its diameter is 7.3 cm.
  • B and C-shaped bulbs. Bulbs with this shape have a convex base, which is attenuated to a rounded tip. C-shaped bulbs are very similar to holiday ones. Bulbs of this shape are very widespread in chandeliers, night lights and other lamps that do not require high power.
  • PAR-shaped bulbs. PAR bulbs use a parabolic mirror that focuses the whole world. For LEDs, PAR is used as a form definition, since most of them do not have a reflective bottom surface.

As for the diameter and length, the classification is much easier. Classification of basic diameters:

  • 8 = 2.54 cm;
  • 11 = 3.49 cm;
  • 16 = 5 cm;
  • 20 = 2.5 inches;
  • 30 = 6.35 cm;
  • 38 = 12.065 cm

As for the length, the bulbs are divided into S (short) and L (long) categories, but it is not always possible to see the length indicator mentioned in the product description.

Types of lamps

There are 5 basic types, differing by type of base:

  • screw,
  • castle;
  • special bases;
  • Bi Pin bases;
  • fluorescent pin bases.

Each of the basic types works differently, since their main function is to connect a light bulb to an electrical voltage, and the technology to achieve it is different in each case.

The two most popular types of bases are:

  • Screw bases. Screw bases are the most common base. In a halogen screw lamp, two contact wires connect the thread to the base where the electrical voltage is connected to the lamp. The bases for the screws are made in several sizes.
  • Pin bases. The principle of operation of the pin products is significantly different from the screw. While the screw base connects the lamp to the voltage using two contact wires connected to a metal base, there are two pins here that stick out from the base and connect the lighting device to the voltage. An electric current can then pass through the pins and flow into the bulb to excite the thread and produce light.


Traditionally, such lighting fixtures were hung from the ceiling with the help of laces or ropes. You can recreate the right mood today - just choose the right cords and use them in the floor lamps, wall lamps, chandeliers.

Unusual lighting - a bright detail of the interior of the house:

  • Decorate the window with a garland of light bulbs, so you create a festive atmosphere and comfort, add warmth and light to any room.
  • Replace the annoying floor lamps and reading lights hanging from the ceiling with a vintage light source.
  • Turn your bathroom into an exquisite spa: hanging lights and additional mirror lighting will help create a relaxing atmosphere and adjust the level of illumination based on your needs.
  • Add highlights: a scattering of bulbs of various shapes and sizes hanging from the ceiling in different parts of the room looks advantageous.
  • Choose large chandeliers in the form of incandescent bulbs and use several pieces at once to light one room in the house.
  • Create a warm festive mood in your home every day, the right light will help to recreate the right atmosphere. Remember that the lamps heat up, choose quality models and take precautions.

Style decisions

Transform the interior using unusual lighting:

  • In loft style. Austere style with industrial elements is well complemented by vintage Edison lamps. Hang two cord with cold light from the ceiling. Choose a chandelier without a lampshade with lots of bulbs emitting warm light.

To get more light, combine several products at once, collecting them in clusters. So you get not only good lighting, but also an unusual minimalist design.

The working area of ​​the kitchen requires additional lighting. Edison lamps hanging from the ceiling will create the necessary level of illumination and enliven the interior.

  • In retro style. Vintage products perfectly complement and emphasize the retro style in any room in your home. Combine modern wall lamps and vintage lamps. To enhance the effect, play with the shapes of products. The highlight of the room will be an exquisite floor lamp that imitates a vintage street lamp.
  • Minimalistic style villages of the last century: a rope lamp and a classic light bulb.

Operating rules

Some important recommendations:

  • It is important to correctly identify and connect the hot and neutral wires. In fact, the lighting will work anyway, the problem is security. Usually the power (voltage) is supplied through the tongue on the basis of the socket. Threaded socket is neutral. Therefore, when the switch is turned off, all “hot” parts are well protected. And when the switch is on, only the tab at the bottom of the socket is “hot”. But if the wiring is turned upside down and the power goes to the threaded connector, it is always hot, the switch is on or off. There is a much greater potential for electric shock, especially when changing light bulbs.
  • The situation in old lamps is aggravated when the cardboard insulating sleeve wears out and the outer metal sheath of the socket touches the threaded socket.If the threaded socket is hot, each metal part is heated.
  • Remember that when repairing lamps, the neutral wire in the cord is connected to the wide blade of the plug at one end and with the neutral screw (usually silver, but may have a different identification) at the other end.
  • The hot line for electricity must pass through the narrow pin of the plug on the wall socket to the hot terminal on the switch and to the hot button in the base of the socket when the switch is on. The neutral path must pass from the wide pin on the wall socket through the labeled (insulating) wire to the neutral terminal on the switch and to the threaded metal socket.

Beautiful design solutions in the interior of the apartment

Unlike modern designs, Edison bulbs, also called incandescent bulbs, have a simpler thread that is clearly visible and wound in different styles, which makes them ideal for decoration. Such lamps imitate vintage light, recalling the lighting of the 1880s. They are ideal for decorating and decorating the interior in the style of loft, retro and many others.

Variants of application of vintage lamps. Fashionable lamps in retro style not only give light to the house, but also decorate it. Due to its unusual style, such light sources have many uses.

Pendant lights. Regardless of whether you decorate a special event or your personal space, a series of simple hanging heads will transform the dining table and add zest to any room. To enhance the effect of alternate balls, pears, tubular and standard shaped bulbs.

Garlands. Add a bright, unusual background for your party or photo shoot, replacing the standard garlands with vintage-style lamps and hanging them on the wall.

Transform the mirror. Install Edison bulbs around your mirror, recreating the atmosphere of an old Hollywood glam. They have an ideal color rendering index of 100. This means that they accurately reproduce colors, so you will see the true color of the makeup. Try using spherical shapes for a more authentic retro look.

Chandelier. Replace traditional bulbs in your chandelier with carbon fiber bulbs to turn it into an unusual industrial detail.

Souvenirs. This interior element serves as a wonderful gift and decoration and has an attractive appearance even when the lights are off. To make your souvenir even more attractive, choose different shapes, for example, elongated, spherical or pear-shaped.

Postcards. Such unconventional posters are another bold, extraordinary way to use incandescent bulbs. You can use them as signs at events by writing the guest's name directly on the lamp.

Registration of events in the open air. Such light sources will be the perfect decoration for your garden party, they are a great alternative to traditional holiday decorations. You can simply enjoy their magnificent light all year round.

Sconce Enhance the effect created by unusual loft-style wall lamps: just add an incandescent lamp to it. Such accessory will decorate any interior, becoming a bright memorable accent.

An interesting example of the use of Edison lamps in a homemade chandelier awaits you in the next video.

Information provided for reference purposes. For construction issues, always consult a specialist.

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Living room