The Lightbulb Conspiracy

By Anupum Pant

Rising technology brings with it a series of strange quirks and cartels, in this case. It’s important that we be aware of these things, not to save ourselves from them, but just for the sake of knowing how strange secrets remain secrets for decades. Wonder what all must be happening out there right now.

In 1924 a group of people from around the world met in Geneva to make a decision that would shake the whole world for years, without it even having a tiny idea about what had happened. These were representatives from the world’s top lightbulb making companies, Osram, Phillips, Compagnie des Lampes and General electric who had met to decide on the life of an electric bulb – To shorten the life of a lightbulb to such an extent that their profits would be optimised and their bulbs would still remain the best ones in the market. According to them 1000 hours would have been a perfect lifetime for the filament of their bulbs.

As you know lightbulbs don’t last for ever, their filament gets burned at some point. But fixing a lifetime for it isn’t very easy. Especially shortening the lives of already technologically advanced bulbs, to a certain time-limit was a massive engineering feat.

Their bulbs were doing 2,500 hours at that time. And that wasn’t very profitable for them. So this had to be done. Deciding on something too less would have made their bulbs inferior. And engineering of this shortening had to be done as seriously as the research that had been done to make it bigger, to shun competition in the past.

Now we know why there’s this bulb which has lasted for a century and it still keeps glowing, and at homes our bulbs get fused all the time.

via [IEEE]

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