I just replaced a light bulb. How ordinary, you might think. And you would be right, except for one thing – I just used my very last 100 watt incandescent light bulb.
My mother must have liked bright light because when I was growing up there were always plenty of 100 watt light bulbs in the closet. Anything less was sort of considered inferior in our house. Perhaps this is why so many of her lamp shades eventually developed brown spots from the ungodly heat those things put out through the decades.
Maybe others considered 100 watts as the standard. How many times have I heard someone of less-than-stellar intelligence described as “short of a hundred watts”? And anyway, doesn’t more mean better? It certainly was when my Mom was growing up. I lost count of the times she would walk into a room where I was reading and say “For Heaven’s sake, turn on a light!” I wonder if my report cards would have been better if I had listened more often.
But anyway, the 100 watt light bulb has finally gone the way of the dodo bird at my house. For a long time it was mostly 60 and 75 watt incandescent bulbs that lit our home. I suppose this could mean that I am not as bright as my mother was. On the other hand, our lamp shades have aged better.
I stubbornly stuck with my trusted incandescent bulbs when the world (briefly) embraced the compact fluorescent bulb. You remember – those twirly things that started out dim when you first flipped the switch and slowly brightened to a harsh light that made every room look like an insurance claims office. If you have not been able to tell, I developed an active hatred for those things.
First, I don’t like harsh fluorescent light. Second, it developed that those things were not really any better for the environment than Edison’s brainchild – they just traded one set of environmental concerns for another.
There is actually one still in service here, in a seldom-used room in the basement. It irritates me tremendously every time I flip the switch to turn it on. But that occasion is so infrequent that I have forgotten all about it when I am anywhere near a light bulb aisle at my friendly neighborhood superstore.
Anyway, nobody was happier than me when the LED bulb began to reach commercial viability. We spent what seemed like waaaay too much money on one in our house early on and have never looked back. Bit by bit they have advanced to the point where there is a viable LED choice for almost every lighting need in our casa.
But not my mother. She continued to maintain a stock of incandescent bulbs in her utility room. That was simply her way – there was no sense in ever running out of something. And her beloved 100 watters were always well represented.
When it was announced that higher wattage incandescents were going away, she did what any good senior citizen would do – she went on a light bulb binge and bought dozens of them. They did in fact prove to be a lifetime supply, one that my sister and I inherited after she was no longer able to live at home.
I am not a Luddite (not fully, anyhow) and see the many benefits of modern LED lighting. Yes, they are silly-expensive up front, but they pay for themselves by their long lives and minimal electric consumption. I am, however, left with a box of incandescent bulbs. And, not being inclined to start The JPC Museum Of Obsolete Lighting (because there are so many other obsolete things I would first start a museum for) it seems wasteful to throw them away. So, they continue to be used in certain spots that are not terribly difficult to access. And the outdoor post-top light is one of these.
Old-school 100 watt incandescents don’t seem to care how hot or cold the weather is, and burn brightly and reliably until they (suddenly, and with an often dramatic “pop”) don’t. But now I am going to have to come up with a new solution.
In truth, I look forward to the energy savings (and the rarely achieved environmental smugness that comes along with it). But for now the nighttime outdoors in the environs of our front yard will continue for the near future to be lighted by the last old, reliable, 100 watt bulb I expect I will ever own. One that has the added benefit of making me smile and think of my Mom.