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There Really Was A Light Bulb Conspiracy

Planned Obsolescence

This act to kill the incandescent light bulb is un-American and is not a fundamental American value. The objective is Planned obsolescence. The producer or manufacturer gains when the consumer is pressured (or conned) into buying another product prematurely, which may involve product engineering. It seems that we have become a throw-away society by design. Traces of this story can be discovered in The Light Bulb Conspiracy, a very informative documentary.

The Centennial Bulb

Maybe you’ve heard of the Centennial Bulb, which is located in Livermore, California. If you’re aware of Fire Station #6, then you’ll know that the bulb has been burning since 1901. Why, there’s even a Bulbcam to honor it!

They tried to say that the Centennial went out, but this proved to be another conspiracy, titled World’s Longest Running Lightbulb Goes Out In Livermore.

The Death of the Incandescent Light Bulb

So, the Death of the Incandescent Light Bulb is just another conspiracy provoked by the gang of 535 in Washington. This isn’t completely true though.

We salute the gang in Shelby, Ohio who made this bulb around 1895. This is the age when Americans actually made something and value mattered. The standard light bulb has been a staple of the American economy.

The Phoebus Cartel

Now for the interesting part of the story. The Phoebus cartel formed a secret plan and “from December 23, 1924 until 1939 that existed to control the manufacture and sale of light bulbs.”

You’ll never guess what the names of these companies were: Osram, Philips and General Electric.

Reduction of Bulb Life and the Elimination of Competition

The Phoebus cartel “reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs.”

In fact, fines were levied for bulbs that lasted more than 1000 hours. The bulb that Edison invented lasted for 1500 hours.

The 2500 Hour Light Bulb

Before the cartel landed, manufacturers boasted of the 2500 hour light bulb. The Phoebus cartel decided to limit the bulb to 1000 hours. Within a period of two years, the lifespan was deliberately shortened from 2500 hours to 1000 hours.

There was one patent applied for a bulb that lasted 100,000 hours. It never reached the market.

Definition of LAMP LIFE

A document of the cartel reads:

“The average life of lamps for general lighting service must not be guaranteed, published, or offered for another value than 1,000 hours.”

It is supposed that the original Phoebus agreement was intended to expire in 1955.

There has to be a Light Bulb Conspiracy somewhere today.

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