See F. W. Robins, The Story of the Lamp (1939, repr. 1970); T. Szentléky, Ancient Lamps (tr. 1969); J. Paton, Lamps: A Collector's Guide (1979).
Any of various devices that produce light by heating a suitable material to a high temperature. In an electric incandescent lamp, or lightbulb, a filament is enclosed in a glass shell that is either evacuated or filled with an inert gas. The filament gives off light when heated by an electric current. The first practical electric incandescent lamps were independently produced in the late 1870s by Joseph Swan and Thomas Alva Edison. Edison has received the major credit because of his development of the power lines and other equipment needed for a lighting system. Inefficient in comparison with fluorescent lamps and electric discharge lamps, incandescent lighting is today reserved mainly for domestic use. Seealso halogen lamp.
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Lighting device consisting of a transparent container within which a gas is energized by an applied voltage and made to glow. After practical generators were devised in the 19th century, many experimenters applied electric power to tubes of gas. From circa 1900, electric discharge lamps were in use in Europe and the U.S. Fluorescent, neon, mercury, sodium, and metal-halide lamps are of the electric discharge variety.
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Type of electric discharge lamp consisting of a glass tube filled with a mixture of argon and mercury vapor. A current of electricity causes the vapor to produce ultraviolet radiation that, in turn, excites a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube, causing it to fluoresce, or reradiate the energy as visible light. Fluorescent lamps are cooler and more efficient than incandescent lamps. They are commonly installed with diffusers as part of a suspended ceiling system. Seealso fluorescence.
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