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Know your bulbs

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

One of the questions we're frequently asked is "What bulbs do you use?" Let's take a brief look at the history of the light bulb followed by some of the bulbs we use, and why we use them.

Edison Vintage Light Bulb

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America's greatest inventor.

He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. These inventions, which include the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and early versions of the electric light bulb, have had a widespread impact on the modern industrialized world.

Though he didn’t come up with the whole concept of the electric light bulb, his was the first that proved practical, and affordable, for home illumination. The trick had been choosing a filament that would be durable but inexpensive, and the team at Edison’s “invention factory” in Menlo Park, New Jersey, tested more than 6,000 possible materials before finding one that fit the bill: carbonized bamboo.

Thomas Edison 1847 - 1931 and the first electric light bulb.
Thomas Edison 1847 - 1931 and the first electric light bulb.

How things have changed

Things have come a long way since the old incandescent light bulbs, and with todays modern technology we're now able to have LED bulbs in the classic vintage style of some of those early light bulbs. Gone are the days when light bulbs were manufactured to only last a year or so, these modern LED bulbs could last for decades! Another advantage of LED bulbs is that they use far less energy (up to 90% less with some bulbs) meaning they don't get as hot and are far better for the environment.

Modern energy saving LED bulbs in the style of classic vintage Edison bulbs.
Modern energy saving LED bulbs in the style of classic vintage Edison bulbs.

The design can make a difference

Most vintage-style LEDs achieve their looks by stringing the light-emitting diodes together into fake filaments inside of the bulb. The way those filaments are arranged can make a big impact on the way the light actually looks when you turn it on.

For instance, vintage-style bulbs that arrange the filaments into tidy columns can lead to a more industrial look, whereas we prefer to use vintage style bulbs that twist the filaments into decorative spirals or double helices as these make for a bulb that's more artful in appearance. The bulbs with the spiral filament are also good at dispersing light evenly and without shadows, since the design leaves each diode shining straight outward. Other vintage-style bulbs with multiple filaments can cast ugly-looking shadows when those filaments get in the way of each other.

Dimming is another design concern. Many of the less expensive options available on the high street do not work well when used with a dimmer switch. Thankfully technology is constantly improving and although not always easy to source, most of the vintage bulbs we use in our work are of a higher quality and are dimmable.

Comparison of Edison light bulbs
Comparison of Edison light bulbs

Choose your style

So there you have it! Your brief guide to vintage style decorative bulbs. All of our lamps come complete with bulb, but should you require additional bulbs you can buy them from our Accessories page.


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