Light bulbs have been around for over 150 years. The invention of the light bulb changed things from how buildings were designed to how long businesses stayed open. Some even credit the invention of the light bulb to the extension of the average work day.
Since its initial invention, the light bulb has taken on many forms and served many needs.
How did we get from arc lamps to LEDs?
The electric arc lamp was invented in 1802 but never made it to commercial use. It never produced a lasting light and the light it did produce was too bright. The vacuum tube came onto the scene in 1840 via a British scientist, Warren de la Rue. He placed a coiled platinum filament in a vacuum tube and then ran electricity through it. This was efficient because of the high melting point of the platinum allowed it to operate at high temperatures and last longer. However, it never made it to the commercial market either. The cost of platinum was too high to make it practical.
After a couple more trial and errors over the decades, we ended up with the incandescent light bulb by Thomas Edison. The first commercially marketed light bulb. During the early days of its existence, the incandescent bulb was great. However, in modern times, they are not energy efficient. Only 10% of the energy they consume is actually used to produce light. The other 90% is lost in heat.
Improvements were made to the incandescent bulb and we ended up with halogen light bulbs. The use of halogens instead of inert gas helped increase the life of the filaments.
After the halogens came CFLs (compact fluorescent light). With CFLs came colored lights, thanks to the different colored tubes used. It was much more energy efficient than incandescent and halogen bulbs. It used up 25% less energy compared to its earlier counterparts.
Eventually, many countries began phasing out incandescent bulbs in favor of fluorescent lamps and LED bulbs. LEDs have become the future of light bulbs, they are currently the most energy efficient bulbs on the market right now. LEDs are 100 efficient in converting energy into light.