Fluorescent Lights: A History Of Lamps, Patents And Sockets

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Dec, 2015


Fluorescent lighting systems appear everywhere. This has been the case for several years, if not decades. In fact, entire industries and sub-industries focus on the manufacturing of fluorescent lights and components such as replacement sockets. Yet, the advent of this new type of lighting system was not greeted with great excitement. Although it has its origins in the late 19th century, it was not to develop cohesively or make an impact until later in the 20th.

The Beginning of Fluorescent Lighting

Edmund Germer (1901-1987) is considered the inventor of the fluorescent light. This form of lighting is more complex than that of the incandescent light. The manufacturing process was also more complex. It was one reason why the production of this product with its unshunted or shunted sockets was slow to become a reality. Despite a variety of experiments designed to improve the lighting system, nothing was to take off until Germer, Meyer and Spanner came up with and registered a patent.

At the same time, the patent for this high-pressure vapor lamp was registered, General Electric (GE) was working on their own type of fluorescent light. George Inman, working for GE (1895-1972), was the major engineer behind this patent. He did not, however, register it before Germer and al, had. Nor was GE alone. Other companies were claiming sovereignty over the fluorescent lamp.

A battle erupted over the various patents. In the end, GE blinked first but then seized the moment. They decided to buy the patent of Germer et al. This patent that had preceded all others in this field. With this problem out of the way, they launched into production. Their plan was to introduce the fluorescent light in the 1930s. Other companies eventually began to manufacture lights and necessary components such as replacement sockets.

Developments in the Field of Fluorescent Lights and Replacement Sockets

Yet, the road to popularity did not begin in the 1920s or even the 1930s. It was not until the mid to late 1960s that large fluorescent lights began to take over industrial complexes and various educational and commercial institutions. It was only in the 1990s that the 32-watt, T-8 lamp made its entry into the United States market and the consciousness of its business and industrial members. It was to then become the standard, replacing the older and less energy efficient T-12 lamps.

With the change in wattage and lamp type, changes also occurred in the components. The new T-8 lamps required the proper component parts. As a result, companies manufactured replacement sockets suitable for the new product. Today, replacement sockets are available for T-12, T-8 and the newer T-5.

Replacement Sockets

In an ever-changing world, technology acts as a catalyst, pushing inventors to arrive at even more efficient and better solutions. Energy efficiency, decreased costs and environmental protection are also driving forces in every aspect of our lives. In the manufacture of fluorescent lighting, companies and individuals are striving to create better bulbs and systems. An integral part of an effective system is improvements in all aspects including the replacement switches.

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