11 September 2013


Ee-by-gum, when I were a lad, you could only get two sorts of light bulb. Both had bayonet fittings and both were incandescent. You could choose between 60 watt pearl and 100 watt pearl so buying light bulbs was very straightforward. 

Not so today. The range of light bulbs verges on the ridiculous. There are general bulbs,  LED bulbs, GU10, energy savers, fluorescent, halogen, spotlights, compact fluorescent, There are bayonet fittings of different sizes, screw-in fittings of various sizes and that's all before you start looking at the different wattages. With energy savers the wattage is no guide to the strength of light you might expect. Manufacturers claim "lumens" equivalents which are considerably higher than their bulb's apparent strength but unless I am going blind I suspect they massively talk up the lighting power of these bulbs.

Nowadays bulbs can be very expensive. Keeping a reserve store of bulbs to cover any domestic failures would involve taking out a bank loan and filling a space equivalent to a medium-sized garden shed. In the past you could have one spare 60 watt sitting in a drawer alongside one spare 100 watt.

Getting back to these energy-saving bulbs: I have never been fond of them. They take a while to "warm up" so the light you want isn't instant. They tend to be heavy and ugly in appearance and they cost a lot. Once I heard Germaine Greer - the radical Australian academic -  ranting on TV about energy-saving light bulbs in hotel rooms around the world. She was moaning because very often the light these bulbs provide is insufficient for reading which is a complaint I happily support. Often a candle would provide better light.

I am sure that political and profit-hungry corporate strings have been pulling along the changes we have seen in the light bulb industry. In this area, as in so many others, Great Britain has suffered from European Union legislative interference. Last year they prohibited the sale of all incandescent bulbs in this country, causing massive confusion in thousands of British homes. It is a confusion that continues to this day.

A greener world is something all intelligent, caring people desire and forcing energy-saving bulbs upon us might be okay if these damned bulbs emitted the quality of  light we require at a fair price but they fail on both counts in my judgement.


  1. I agree, YP. I really wish the wretched EU would turn their attention to something other than making our lives more difficult. I have a secret stockpile of incandescent light bulbs. For the right price .......!

    1. Ha! Ha! I am not tempted Jenny as I also have my own private store of old-style light bulbs! We've got enough to keep us going till about 2053 when, God-willing, I shall be a hundred years old.

  2. YP, I sympathise and wouldn't hold truck with the low energy fluorescent bendy tube things. I do like the LED ones. Horses for courses.

  3. YP I am with you. I recently spent a small fortune on light bulbs, only to have them keep blowing. So I called an electrician thinking it was a problem. Only problem seems to be the light bulbs were wrong type for cheap fittings in the building. Which means the average person can no longer just buy a light bulb at a reasonable price and know it us going to last ~ especially when they are supposed to be energy saving and last longer. The secong problem us that it now takes AN ELECTRICIAN to change a light bulb. Who would have thought?

  4. Good evening good sir. I have just done a post which mentions light bulbs myself co-incidentaly, the older style being my preference as well.


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