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Light bulbs are an essential element in any home; they represent the most widely used artificial light source and have become part of our daily lives. Today, light bulbs are present in several domestic realms and in some cases have become genuine pieces of furniture, complements capable of changing the external layer of a setting with their mere presence. In fact, gone are the days when light bulbs were strictly functional. Nowadays, with the evolution of technology and various improvements we have at our disposal, light bulbs have earned a prominent place in home design decor, headlining layouts with their extravagant shapes and details. Functionality and aesthetics are combined into a single element, becoming the emblem of modern research and development, where everything has to be ever improving while at the same time, aesthetically pleasing. Light bulbs, having evolved considerably over the years, have moved past the days of copper wires and tungsten. Now LED has taken over at home, being your best bet for luminous efficiency, cost, environmental sustainability and overall looks. The History of the Light Bulb As evidenced by history, the first light bulb worthy of being called so was by Thomas Alva Edison in 1878. Edison was an American entrepreneur with a passion for discoveries, curious about the world and its potential. His thirst for knowledge led him to constantly read and experiment, eventually opening a research laboratory in Menlo Park. It was the first of its kind in the world, having been created with the sole purpose of producing innovation. As a matter of fact, he oversaw the work of his employees, although in many cases he took the liberty of creating abstract ideas alongside their more down to earth ones. His strong economic means allowed for Edison to buy patents from other inventors, which were then used and modified at the labs in Menlo Park to create something different and even more innovative, taking things a step further. In reality, the first light bulb prototypes had already been developed by other inventors in years leading up to Edison, but with his strong entrepreneurial skills he was ready to snatch up two of the most interesting patents and therefore work in complete freedom so as to produce something even more innovative. In 1875, with the help of the Evans and Woodward patents, he had some strong leads towards further improving what the two scientists had already accomplished. In particular, Edison wanted to come up with a more durable and functional metal to guarantee greater performance. The work was not easy, as it took several years of studies and experiments before he came up with a light bulb that could be marketed and appreciated by consumers. So what exactly did Edison invent? Essentially, we can say that he and his laboratories didn’t actually invent anything new but, while scientists who before him managed to create electric currents for pure scientific application, his business and scientific intuition combined led to a step in the consumer direction, bringing it to the market and making it accessible to the wider public, laying the foundations for the construction of an electricity distribution system in homes and offices. Thomas Edison was then the pioneer of the expansion of electricity on a large scale, as he is responsible for light bulbs becoming affordable consumer goods for everyone. Obviously, Edison dealt more with the commercial and industrial aspects, as the philanthropic goals weren’t exactly on his mind, so much so that in 1878 the New York headquarters was created for the Edison Electric Light Company. Funds from many bankers and wealthy entrepreneurs of the time all meshed together and the first world power company came about. It marked something between genius and madness, as Edison in 1879 endowed establishments in Menlo Park with the first fully lit plant around and only a year later he proceeded with the patent. The legal troubles were certainly in full throttle for Edison, whose handling of patents caught the eye of some judges. The biggest problem Edison had was in Britain with Swan, an inventor who had clearly came up with a very similar idea to Edison's light bulb, and much earlier in 1860. The legal battle ended in a stalemate, and the two companies decided to join forces in laying the foundations for what would later become General Electric. But was the first light bulb worthy of being called so? As a matter of fact, it was no different in shape from the incandescent light bulbs that we have come to know. Inside was a thin glass bulb, with a cotton-carbonised filament which easily ran the electric current. Obviously, the most important limitation to these bulbs was the quick destruction of the cotton filament, which was consumed very quickly. With this regard, many scientists worked on developing something more efficient, like Italian Arturo Malignani who came up with the idea to develop a system that was able to create a vacuum inside the bulb so as to minimise combustion triggered by oxygen. Arturo Malignani should also be credited with having developed the system of production in a series of light bulbs. They became much faster, cheaper and safer for those handling them, thanks to industrial production bulbs that have become even more common and widespread in the homes of families, helping to spread electricity everywhere. The carbonised cotton thread kept at it for over twenty years before being replaced by a much more resistant metal, which has been used until the incandescent light bulbs were definitively withdrawn from the market. It turns out tungsten metal creates high conductivity due to its low electrical resistance. The patent of the modern light bulb can actually be traced to 1910 by Lewis Latimer, one of the most important inventors of all time who, with his wit and extraordinary ability to see beyond what everyone else saw, revolutionised the world of the twentieth century. The history of the incandescent light bulb has been long and rather troubled: Europe said goodbye to the old and dear tungsten bulbs in 2012, just over a century since its patent. The reason for this stems from a pressing need to reduce consumption and create companies that are more environmentally sustainable: Alternatives to incandescent lamps are broad and vast. From halogen to neon, all the way to LED light bulbs, the electricity market has been rather buoyant in recent decades, creating solutions that fill the original prototype’s shoes quite nicely. The biggest limitation of incandescent light bulbs were their high fuel consumption compared to the amount of light produced, a serious setback when considering cheaper and more functional systems of artificial illumination, meaning tungsten bulbs were destined to disappear. As a matter of fact, after the boom the nineties saw with neon lights and subsequent large-scale dissemination of energy-saving lamps, a few years later we saw LED light bulbs play a leading role in the lighting scene. Why go with LED bulbs? In recent years there has been much talk about sustainability and eco-friendly solutions regarding the environment, especially in relation to the need to reduce emissions and create urban structures that can be more sustainable for our planet. Arising from such interest were LED light bulbs. So why are they are so popular? First of all, you’re guaranteed so save energy since a 3 Watt LED light bulb corresponds to approximately 20 Watts of a normal tungsten light bulb. The efficiency of this system results in a duration that’s 5 times greater, as well as a light up to 30 times more intense than your traditional bulb. Still keeping savings in mind, it is quite evident that reducing energy also has an economic edge, which comes from the low maintenance costs of LED lamps. Many are not big fans of purchasing LED lamps at first because their cost may seem higher, but by performing a more in-depth analysis of the matter, the initial cost is quickly made back due to the longer life of these lamps, making for remarkable medium to long-term savings. When it comes to technical features, LED light bulbs have proven to be more resistant to vibration and shock. Furthermore, their conformation and production technique makes them practically impermeable and resistant to thermal shock, even when at extreme levels. This gives the light bulbs a luminosity that other models simply can’t reach, as well as a capacity for resistance that has never before been seen. Among other important features of LED bulbs is undoubtedly the immediate power at maximum brightness. With other types of lamps you need to wait a few fractions of a second, or even several seconds before the light reaches its maximum power, while with LED even at the lowest temperatures this problem does not occur. While not being the most common of cases, studies show that the LED light bulbs are able to turn on immediately even when outside temperatures reach up to -40 °C. Another worthwhile feature of LED light bulbs is the low degree of overheating and the emission of so-called “clean” light, which means free of any ultraviolet emission. Low heating and clean light are elements of the utmost importance when you have to design lighting systems in the presence of valuable and delicate items, such as over paintings or extra sensitive fabrics. Finally, a special mention goes out to the LED light emission spectrum. These types of light bulbs, as a matter of fact, come in a wide range of colours, distinguishing themselves from other lighting systems for the high saturation of its tones. In addition to its classic bright white light, LED light bulbs are available in all primary and secondary colours as well as in multiple colours that vary depending on user settings. Light bulbs and lamps available on the market Among the most unique light bulbs are those available with the Twist Lamp by Seletti, a leading Italian company in the field that depends on innovative and fun design for products. Its vast catalogue of light bulbs as offered by LoveTheSign flaunts colourful and alternative solutions made of glass that recreate the stylised tungsten filament. It’s a light bulb that’s easy on the eyes, as it can be the ideal accessory for the modern home, where particular attention to design is a must while also keeping performance in mind. The twist lamps are available in yellow, green, pink and classic white, and they are certainly a hallmark for those on the prowl for a unique and original house. The brand Plumen, on the other hand, chalks up a vintage look with a collection of lamps that bring to mind the fifties with a simple yet sophisticated style. Plumen combines this appeal with energy-saving lamps with coloured light bulb holders, fitting for any environment and any type of furniture layout. The light bulb’s shape is the very essence of what makes this product stand out, as well as its most important trait. So what’s left to say about Flos lamps, one of the cornerstones of Italian design? This brand has been able to turn the tables with a simple flash of genius conceived by one of the company's flagship designers. Achille Castiglioni invented this lamp back in 1972 and since then it has become one of the brand’s best-selling products, now available in the LoveThesign catalogue. The Lampadina table lamp emulates the traditional incandescent light bulb with tungsten filament. As a matter of fact, given that this kind of light bulb is currently prohibited, Flos has revamped the project by equipping the lamp with an LED lighting system but without getting its main features caught up in the change. The result is a lamp with a vintage yet innovative flair, only accentuated by mild sandblasting on a side of the bulb allowing for an adequate amount of light escaping for an ideal living environment, without running the risk of overheating that you find so often in other lamps. On the topic of design innovation it’s also worth mentioning the Benshee desk lamp by Woud, where essential features lead the way. The straight lines, which are refined yet simple, make for the creation of a beautifully designed minimal lamp, where the bulb itself sits at the top of the piece. The lamp is composed of a series of 12 LED lights with high brightness, making it perfect for those who spend long hours writing or reading. The specification of each light bulb conforms to each Benshee lamp, all the while giving off a very straight ray of light; this feature may be a limitation upon first impact but, after becoming familiar with this particular type of light, there are some legitimate benefits when spending long hours reading those dull pages. Woud wanted to express the simplicity of its ideas through this project, along the lines of creating something beautiful and high performing without getting too complex, meaning simplicity is the key to success. While up to now we have mainly talked about table lamps, it’s worth delving into the Pinocchio floor lamp, made by Italian brand Valsecchi 1918. What is the main feature of this lamp? To put it simply, it’s the shape, which resembles the appearance of the most famous wooden puppet known to man, turning it into an innovative support for a lamp. The size of the stem of the puppet can be considered life-size, because with its 82 cm it follows suit with the actual size of a normal puppet. Valsecchi’s Pinocchio also features the puppets arms holding the lampshade, positioned in a way that it looks as if he’s wearing the lampshade as a hat. It is a very unique and original accessory, which will be sure to turn heads while at the same time fitting perfectly into any layout, as well as breaking the mould in an otherwise monotonous environment. The Pinocchio lamp is also an excellent piece of furniture for children's rooms, as well as in an office or a professional studio where you want to switch it up with original and extravagant design. Speaking of your little one’s bedroom, the Teddy Bear Lamp by suck UK is a doozy, where the head of the world's most famous teddy bear is replaced by a lamp with shade, a choice that could be considered daring, especially since it’s designed for small children, but when considered an accessory for children with a vivid imagination, a love affair comes about with their teddy. In reality, it is perfect for any dreamer out there who wants to add a witty touch to their living room or bedroom, placing the Teddy Bear on the bedside table, especially since his rather chubby figure prevents the lamp from tipping over, ensuring a certain stability in the structure. The lampshade is made of elegant black fabric that’s easy to clean. The fabric spreads light making for a very prosperously lit environment. The Teddy Bear lamp includes an LED light bulb, which can then be replaced with any sort of energy saving light bulb on the market. LoveTheSign is your home for lamps, light bulbs and lighting accessories for your home!