Category Archives: General

The Incandescent Light Bulb Strikes Back…

An incandescent light bulb

Following the EU ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs, we all thought the future was based around LED lighting. But it seems that the clever people from MIT in America have given the incandescent light bulb a reprieve thanks to a technological breakthrough.

Incandescent lighting and its warm, familiar glow is well over a century old yet survives virtually unchanged in homes around the world. It is a simple design that everyone loves. But that has been changing fast, as regulations aimed at improving energy efficiency have been phasing out the old bulbs in favour of more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and newer light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).

Incandescent bulbs, commercially developed by Thomas Edison, work by heating a thin tungsten wire to temperatures of around 2,700 degrees Celsius. That hot wire emits what is known as black body radiation, a very broad spectrum of light that provides a warm look and a faithful rendering of all colours to the human eye.

But these bulbs have always suffered from one major problem: More than 95 percent of the energy that goes into them is wasted, most of it as heat. That’s why country after country has banned or is phasing out the inefficient technology. Now, researchers at MIT and Purdue University have found a way to change all that.

Three MIT professors have made major breakthrough with what they call – light recycling. The key is to create a two-stage process, the researchers report.

The first stage involves a conventional heated metal filament, with all its attendant losses. But instead of allowing the waste heat to dissipate in the form of infrared radiation, secondary structures surrounding the filament capture this radiation and reflect it back to the filament to be re-absorbed and re-emitted as visible light. These structures, a form of photonic crystal, are made of Earth-abundant elements and can be made using conventional material-deposition technology.

That second step makes a dramatic difference in how efficiently the system converts electricity into light. One quantity that characterizes a lighting source is the so-called luminous efficiency, which takes into account the response of the human eye. Whereas the luminous efficiency of conventional incandescent lights is between 2 and 3 percent, that of fluorescents (including CFLs) is between 7 and 15 percent, and that of most compact LEDs between 5 and 15 percent, the new two-stage incandescent could reach efficiencies as high as 40 percent, the team says.

The first proof-of-concept units made by the team do not yet reach that level, achieving about 6.6 percent efficiency. But even that preliminary result matches the efficiency of some of today’s CFLs and LEDs, they point out. And it is already a threefold improvement over the efficiency of today’s incandescent light bulbs.

The team refers to their approach as “light recycling,” since their material takes in the unwanted, useless wavelengths of energy and converts them into the visible light wavelengths that are desired.  Put simply “It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted,”

Here at we think this is a brilliant step forward. The majority of people still love the light from incandescent bulbs and the ease with which it works with all dimmers. If incandescent light bulbs are suddenly as efficient as LED’s then we will be able to bring them back into the UK and Europe for our customers.


Why light bulbs may soon be as thin as an atom

If you think that some of the light bulbs stocked by Easy Light Bulbs are a little on the thin side, you may be interested to know about a new type of bulb – one that is as thin as a sheet of paper, yet stronger than any other material on Earth. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction movies, but that hasn’t stopped a group of scientists creating it.

Admittedly, we don’t have it in stock here at Easy Light Bulbs just yet – and you may have a few years to wait. The light bulb in question was developed by scientists from Columbia University, Seoul National University and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, and is made from graphene, which – despite being as thin as an atom – is also regarded as the strongest material on the planet.

The scientists combined the very recent idea of making a light bulb from graphene with the infinitely more traditional one of mimicking the way the glowing filament works in traditional incandescent light bulbs – albeit, on a microscopic scale. Electrical currents are put through strips of graphene that have been connected to metal electrodes and suspended over the substrate. The resultant heating up of the graphene produces light.

The light that is produced isn’t microscopic, though – indeed, it is visible to the naked eye when the graphene is heated to 4,532 degrees Fahrenheit (2,500 degrees Celsius), which is about on a par with the temperature required for an incandescent light bulb filament. However, with graphene proving an ineffective heat conductor at such temperatures, the heat did have to be concentrated in a small part of the material. Varying the distance separating the filament from the substrate also changes the colour of the light.

Team leader and Columbia research scientist Young Duck Kim said that it was four years ago when he discovered graphene’s light-emitting properties, a surprising finding among others who had not imagined that graphene would be able to produce light, given that unlike an LED, it is not a semiconductor.

Kim added that we may only have to wait two or three years for graphene to begin to be attached to windows or walls for use as a light, and that within about five years, it may be used for the manufacture of transparent displays. These are intriguing possibilities for sure, and here at Easy Light Bulbs, we await with interest whether graphene could just be the future of light bulbs.

The Lamp Company quoted in Telegraph story about banned bulbs

Buyers of halogen light bulbs have a real dilemma potentially coming up over the next few years as the European Commission continues its drive to make our light bulbs more efficient, longer-lasting and gentler to the environment, by banning increasingly outdated alternatives. Next up are halogen spotlights, which have been slated for a September 2016 withdrawal.

Who could possibly guide us through the minefield of the latest light bulbs that are being banned, and how we can best replace them in our homes and businesses? Why, no one other than our own Ian Fursland, of course, of The Lamp Company – us! He was quoted in a recent Telegraph story on the prospective ban and the often tricky decisions that buyers of light bulbs will be forced to make in response.

The demise of halogen spotlights still leaves the average buyer with options, although these may not be ideal for one reason or another. LED light bulbs are one possibility, for example, but they aren’t always compatible with current halogen dimmer switches or fixtures. Such doubts have led to the suggestion that any halogen bulb ban could be delayed until 2018.

The current situation with the now under-threat halogens mirrors that for traditional incandescent bulbs some years ago, these having now long been phased out. Since incandescent bulbs disappeared from store shelves here in the UK, it is halogens, LED bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps that have replaced them in homes and workplaces.

That it is halogens that have easily gained the most popularity of those options here in the UK, with an average of 10 in every home, has only added to the concern about a ban on this type of bulb as soon as next year. They are infinitely more affordable than LED lights to buy, the about £1 price tag for a single halogen spotlight bulb comparing to the £5-£10 that one could expect to have to pay for the equivalent LED.

However, there are – of course – longer-term savings to be enjoyed if one switches to LEDs. According to the Energy Saving Trust, around £60 a year could be shaved off household expenditure as a result of such a switch.

As Ian Fursland observed, “Most people don’t buy LEDs because they can’t afford them. There are also problems with fitting them – they don’t always fit into the socket, and have issues fitting the transformers that run the halogens.

You can read the full article here

Amid reports that halogens are already being stockpiled by customers in readiness for such a ban, he added: “There is still huge demand for old-fashioned technology.”

Whichever decision you make about your own home or workplace’s future lighting needs, we’ll support you all the way up to any halogen ban, with our considerably in-depth stock right here at Easy Light Bulbs. 

Celebrating the 168th birthday of Thomas Edison


Last Wednesday 11th February was a significant date for any supplier of light bulbs like ourselves here at Easy Light Bulbs, given that it was the birthday of Thomas Edison, who was born on that date in 1847. The American inventor and businessman was responsible for the development of so many devices that continue to greatly impact on our lives today, from the phonograph to the motion picture camera.

But of course, Edison’s biggest ‘hit’ will always be the electric light bulb, even if it’s true that the man widely known as ‘The Wizard of Menlo Park’ certainly did not invent it – rather, his great achievement was in making it practical and long-lasting enough to become a widespread fixture in the average person’s home. Edison’s first commercially practical incandescent light simply built on a series of earlier – but much less cost-effective – incandescent lights developed by the likes of Humphry Davy, James Bowman Lindsay, Moses G. Farmer and William E. Sawyer.

Indeed, the history of incandescent lamps went right back to Alessandro Volta’s demonstration of a glowing wire in 1800, but despite all of the advances made since then, by the late 19th century, many incandescent bulbs still suffered from such problems as expensive production costs and a short lifespan that made them far from commercially feasible. Following experiments with platinum and other metals, Edison returned to his earlier work with carbon filaments, eventually filing for US patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using “a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wires”.

Several months after the granting of this patent, however, Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament capable of lasting more than 1,200 hours. Back in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company had been formed by the inventor alongside several financiers – including J. P. Morgan – in New York City, with the first public demonstration of the incandescent light bulb taking place on 31st December 1879. It was a key step on the road to realising Edison’s ambition to “make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Edison, who died aged 84 in 1931, is now nothing less than light bulb royalty, and we certainly can’t say that Easy Light Bulbs would exist if it wasn’t for him. Browse our complete range of light bulbs today to see the endless possibilities that now exist for Edison’s remarkable ‘greatest hit’.

It’s easy to find the right light bulbs in our online store

There’s such thing as a wide range of light bulbs – and then there’s the in-depth range that we can offer here at Easy Light Bulbs, which we are proud to say is simply at another level. We have more than one million light bulbs and lighting solutions in stock at any one time, encompassing everything from the most general and obvious household lighting to more specialised units like medical lamps, miniatures and floodlighting lamps.

To that long list of our available items, we could add halogen bulbs, LEDs, compact fluorescents, halogen G9 adaptors, marine navigation bulbs, projector lamps, UV lamps… it goes on. We even have our own brand of lighting, Cassell Lighting, which is known for its combination of great quality and competitive pricing. More and more people are turning to us for light bulbs on account of not only our broad product range, but also our keen prices, ease of ordering and swift delivery.

But what if you’re new to shopping online, having always trusted your high street electrical supplier, only to find that a certain type of bulb is out of stock? In that case, just come to our website and begin your search. If you have a decent idea of the exact bulb that you are looking for, you can enter a keyword or part number into our homepage search box and click the accompanying ‘search’ button. Otherwise, feel free to browse by category.

The range of categories of light bulbs that we offer here at Easy Light Bulbs is truly vast, including general household lighting, antique filament bulbs, car bulbs, LED lighting, halogen lighting, medical bulbs, marine navigation bulbs, infra red bulbs, UV lamps, projector lamps and so many more. Even within these categories, there may be further categories to sift through and if you are unsure as to the best choice of lighting for you, you are welcome to read our informative online lighting guides.

It all adds up to the complete website for finding whatever light bulbs you require – but don’t be misled into thinking that our on-site range is the limit of what we can supply. Indeed, if you have trouble identifying the exact bulb that you need or finding that bulb on our website, you’re welcome to send us a photo of it via your smartphone or tablet, and we’ll do the rest. After all, Easy Light Bulbs is all about providing our customers with the most complete possible service.