Centennial Light 💡steemCreated with Sketch.

in life •  10 months ago

Yesterday when I was changing my rooms burst bulb I got interested about why these stupid products burst that often.
Then my deep digging started 😊

You believe or not there is a bulb which is working for more than 117 years. Yes, you heard it correct. The bulb is working since 1901. Place is a fire department in California.

You can watch the bulb on line from here

This bulb is entered to Guinnes World Records as longest burning light bulb.

Think about that when they first plugged that bulb to socket there is 13 years to start of World War 1. World Wars passed, new countries born and dead, new generations came and passed away. But this bulb didn't stop working.

Grandchildren of grandchildren who plugged that bulb has celebrated birthday of bulb. Perhaps we lost some people who attended to that party, bulb keeps working.

Do you interested about the company who produce it? Yes, everybody wants to buy that bulb instead of changing the burst bulbs every 2-3 years. Unfortunately the producer company has been already closed. Company named Shelby produced these bulbs starting from 1895.


Inventor name is Adolphe A.Chaillet. He passed away long long time ago. Secret of the bulb is also disappeared with his death. Think in this way. Bulb patent belongs to Thomas Edison who invented it in 1880. In short time like 15 years almost non burstable bulb is invented. Imagine what can be invented after another 15 years passed. Isn't it? However it is not working in that way.

You can see a part of newspaper advertisement from 1925. If they put these lamps to fire department it would be burnt in 41 days. In spite of technology was evolving why bulbs life were decreasing?

Short answer of this question is Planned Obsolescence.

This is an industrial design concept. You can already heard about it as in gentle wording "Product Life Cycyle". When a product is designing whole life of that product is also designing. It make more sense if we say industry is designing weakness of product rather than designing of its life.

Have you ever noticed that your mobile phone stated to hang when new model of your phone has just been released? It is due to your phone is closing to complete its life.

Here is an example:

IPhone6's CPU frequency is 1400 Mhz when it is first bought.

After 3 years passed it's CPU frequency decreased to 600Mhz.

Apple apologized for this problem and made an announcement. Announcement was mainly about it was done to increase life time of batteries and performance of phone. It is easy acceptable answer for regular consumer. However with changing the battery of the phone, problem can be solved. But battery is embedded to chassis, it is not easy operation. So, being a regular consumer is more easy. Then let's buy a new model phone 😊

If we look to history of Planned Obsolescence we saw that it started in 1920's. Maybe you have noticed the year of newspaper advertisement at above.

Cartel called S.A. Phoebus created in 23 December 1924. Creators were the world's greatest bulb manufacturers. Cartel's first decision was to decrease every bulb life to 1000 hours. It is recorded in reports. Penalties were defined in reports. If any bulb life was more than 1000 hours then producer company got punished. So, when we arrived to 1940's bulb life has already decreased to 1000 hours.

When we arrived to 1940's world met with another new invention.


World's first synthetic textile product. Nylon was very strong material. It is being started to use in women socks.

In 1946 production was 160 million nylon women sock per year. But demand was too much. In Pittsburgh 40.000 people got in queue to buy 13.000 nylon socks. Demand behind of nylon socks was its durability and strength. It can be worn for years and years. It was that much strong that you can even pull your car with it.

It's like a joke. So, why we are facing with holes in nylon socks now? It is same nylon sock. Because inventor company of nylon named Dupont started to make R&D to make nylon socks weaker after they saw market was close to saturation.

These are all Planned Obsolescence. Is it bad to have less life time for bulbs, phones or nylon socks that we are using. In the other hand costs for these products keeps economy live. Demand never ends for these kind of products. Demand brings offer. It makes prices get down. This can be sound good. But thing in this perspective. Making a product which has 1 year life team means producing a waste for 1 year after. In this manner we are continuously producing a technological waste which is getting bigger and bigger.

Production, economical growth, development words sounds like a positive and innocent. Maybe we need think on them again. If we think on bulb, of course it is essential product in our life. If we have a burst bulb we need to change it to not live in a dark room. But what if every product is not essential and what if high offer on these products. It cause to keep prices low and lead us to make luxury shopping rather than required shopping.

In this way we will grow in short term. In long term we transform the World to a waste.

BTW if you watched the bulb from web cam I want to give you a dip note. 2 web cams have been changed. It looks like bulb will see more web cams recording itself :)

I hope you enjoyed while reading :) Have a nice day folks.

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