Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End of the Light Bulb

Transparentised version of Image:Gluehlampe 01...Image via WikipediaTechnology evolves. The abacus evolved to the super computer and the Wright Brothers flyer in to the jumbo carrier and the space shuttle. Technology reaches another ones of those important evolution milestones today. This one was comes after 140 years of very little change. In 1870, Thomas Edison found a way to make a long lasting filament within a glass encasement glow with light. Since that time, the light bulb has changed very little. Today's light bulb shape is about the same as it was in Edison's day but the filament last much longer. This week, the GE company closed the last of its plants making incandescent light bulbs.  Although the incandescent bulb was the reigning electric bulb across the world for close to century and a half, it is no longer the best technology in terms of energy consumption. To save energy, the incandescent bulb will be virtually outlawed within 4 years and will be replaced by compact fluorescents which consumes 75% less power. 

If Edison were alive today, he would not be able to identity a CD as the evolution of his phonograph but he would still be able to recognize the light bulb. I cannot think of another technology that lasted so long in its almost original form.
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