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Lamp History
As we sit here in the 21st Century, there are many different types of light source. The last 150 years has seen amazing developments in light. Everybody is talking about solid-state LED lighting being the future of lighting, but how did electric lighting originally come about?
In the mid-late 19th Century, artificial light was provided by either Candle or Gas-lighting. Englishman Sir Joseph Swan and American Thomas Edison are both credited with developing the incandescent light bulb. In 1878 and 1879, respectively, they both managed to develop a light source which was affordable and suitable for domestic use. At the same time, Edmund Germer was conducting work on the mercury vapour fluorescent lamp.
However, it wasn’t until the 1940’s that the first practical and viable fluorescent lamp was launched; General Electric had bought the original patent and improved on the original design to make it suitable for the US market.
From 1950 onwards, various new light sources were invented. The following graph shows the development and improvement in light output for given electrical light sources. Note that luminous efficiency is markedly different for different lamp types.
The LIA Lamp Guide has been compiled by the Lighting Industry Association to help users in the choice of appropriate types of lamps for lighting commercial, institutional and industrial installations (special lamps, such as for vehicle and photographic use have not been included).
The principal types of lamps are reviewed within the LIA Lamp Guide and their different characteristics are explained. It is important to understand the various lamp characteristics not only when dealing with new installations, but also when older installations are up-dated to an improved lighting standard or in order to save energy. Good lighting, using the latest lamps and luminaires, can pay for itself in reduced running costs as well as improving working conditions.
NB. The LIA Lamp Guide is only intended to help users make their initial decisions. Once more precise technical information is required (e.g. up-to-date values of light output) it is essential to consult the latest technical literature from LIA lamp manufacturers.

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