So long, Mr. Edison. It was great seeing you.

Years ago when we were hunting for a condo to rent in Singapore, I noticed that the ceiling light fixtures hadn’t been installed in the kitchen of a newly constructed unit we looked at. When I asked the agent why, she said that the landlord was waiting to see if a Japanese or American expat rented the unit. If a Japanese family rented it, they would install fluorescent lighting; for Americans it would be incandescent lighting. It was the first time I’d realized that the type of lighting one prefers has a cultural dimension.

Even before then, in film school (and I mean old-school celluloid film), we were taught to distinguish the color temperature differences between dawn, dusk and midday despite the eye and brain conspiring to make all colors look the same.

So, having been brought up on incandescent lighting and being sensitized to the color temperature of the light around me, I dreaded the coming phase-out of incandescent lighting in the US. Sure, I think it’s a great way to save energy. But I hate fluorescent lighting. It’s greyish-blue light makes everything it illuminates really fugly.

And try as I might, I couldn’t find a CFL I thought came close to incandescent. I tried, I really did, to find a CFL I could live with. But after years of buying CFLs, I gave up. Now, in my home CFLs are relegated to the basement and the garage.

So, in anticipation of the law phasing out my favorite (100-watt power hog) bulbs first by the end of 2011, I did what anyone would do: I started hoarding them. If I had another reason to be in a Lowe’s or BJ’s or equivalent, I bought every 100-watt bulb I could find. By mid summer, I noticed that 100-watt bulbs were getting hard to find, leading me to conclude others were doing the same thing.

Then, I read an article about LED bulbs and the progress being made with them in Wired. The story talks about a start-up that’s making a bulb they hope to have on the market later this year. The article also mentions the Philips AmbientLED, noting that it was first on the market with a 60-watt equivalent bulb that was instant on, dimmable and was supposed to look like an incandescent.

Despite the $40 price tag, I had to try two. So, I ordered them and while they were being shipped to me I received the October, 2011 issue of Consumer Reports which rated the AmbientLED tops. I was psyched. It may seem odd to get excited about light bulbs, but have you thought about many bulbs there are in your life? And what’s so strange about wanting to be the first on my block to try out these expensive new gadgets?

Well, they arrived and, ahem, a light went on for me. Now I sit here, writing this blog post by the wonderful light of an LED. What a relief! I won’t be able to afford these in any quantity, but at least I am no longer condemned to a lifetime of seeing things by CFL light that casts the color of spoiled, uncooked McDonalds burger patties.

Mr. Edison, it was a long love affair. Good-bye and good luck.

P.S. Anyone interested in a wide variety of new 100-watt incandescent light bulbs?








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