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The History: Fluorescent Lighting

Todays Date: January 16, 2019

Fluorescent lighting has been around for more than 150 years. The research and development of the technology is due to the hard work of many brilliant inventors and scientists. If you’d like to know more about the history of fluorescent lights, then read onward.

19th Century

Heinrich Geissler was the man who first developed the fluorescent light in 1856 and it was something he didn’t do on purpose. He filled tubes with gas that produced light after they were stimulated by electricity. This invention had a major part in the future developments of fluorescent light technology and by the end of the century there were many who were doing their own experiments which were based on the findings from Geissler. Thomas Edison was one of those who experimented with the technology and he was able to invent the first light bulb that lasted a long time.

Early 20th Century

The first fluorescent light was successfully made in 1901 by Peter Cooper Hewitt. He created a bulb that contained a tube on the inside that was filled with mercury and the low pressure mercury was then excited by electricity, resulting in UV light. This invention never made waves due to the strange light produced by this bulb. However, in 1926 the technology was improved upon by Edmund Germer who managed to stabilize the bulb and make the emitted light look more attractive. Success came fast after these changes.

Mid 20th Century

As World War II was approaching, General Electric, or GE, purchased the patent for fluorescent light from Germer. This was the beginning of worldwide promotions for this new type of light bulb and it was even showcased at the World’s Fair in New York during the year 1939. Only during the war did energy efficiency become a priority and as a result incandescent lighting was being replaced with fluorescent lighting which was more energy efficient. The use of this bulb in businesses caused the demand for fluorescent bulbs to increase dramatically.

End of the 20th Century

After the war and up to the 1960s the fluorescent light bulb was often used by businesses and even many organizations. Although a great alternative to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lighting wasn’t compatible with residential light fixtures because the bulbs did not fit. GE changed that during the 1970s when the company developed the Compact Fluorescent Lamp, or CFL.

In the Near Future

Starting in the mid 1990s, the Green Movement has been increasingly popular and has made fluorescent lighting a major option for people who want energy efficient products in order to reduce negative impact on the environment. More recently, US President Barack Obama has been pushing for the Green Economy proposal which strives for more energy efficiency and therefore will make fluorescent technology even more important.

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