Why arn't light bulbs in the US like the ones in UK?

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I was talking to someone from this area and he said that the household light bulbs in the UK (and most of Europe) are the bayonet type (similar to some automotive bulbs) where they have pins on opposite sides and are inserted in to the socket and given 1/4 turn (I think). The bulbs never have the problem of becoming loose due to vibration or whatever. It seems to me that this is a great idea. It would be much faster to insert, and more secure to have this type of light bulb/socket set up. Any ideas why this wasn't adopted in the US? Are there any disadvantages to this type of setup?
The Wobulator
*Please REMOVE the obvious for my correct email address*
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I don't know why the US uses screw-in bulbs, but one advantage of the UK ones is that they have both contacts on the end: the brass cap itself is not live, so there is less chance of somebody contacting a live conductor while removing or inserting a bulb without turning off the power (and with a two-way- or multi-way-switched circuit, who can tell whether the lamp socket is live or not?).
-=- Alan
On 11/04/03 07:32 pm The Wobulator put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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On Tue, 04 Nov 2003 19:46:14 -0500, Alan Beagley

You'd really have to be a dope to get seriously shocked while changing a light bulb regardless of switch position.
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wrote:

you don't get it. you have no guarantee that the socket is connected to the ground, and that the switch cuts the phase. if the hot is conencted to the socket and the switch is incorrectly wired to cut the ground instead of the hot, you can get electrocuted.
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<...previous quote snipped...>

I believe you meant "I can get electrocuted"
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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wrote:

no, my sockets and switches are wired the correct way and I know how to use a multi-meter to find out if there's current in a wire.
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Neither one should be connected to ground. The socket should be connect to neutral.
And the only way that the socket body could be connect to hot is if either the lamp or the outlet are wired backwards.
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sorry, wrong term, meant neutral

yes, exactly. I know how messy wiring can be (I'm redoing a whole floor in my house now and there are patches everywhere) and there's no guarantee it's wired the right way.
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Why are you touching any part of the socket or conductor on the bulb ? Hold the glass.
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wrote:

*I* am not touching any part of the conductor, however, there's metal all around it and it's not hard to touch it. I'm just pointing out that it's not so out of the question.
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OK, then you need these warnings too:
- Remove your fingers from the door jamb before closing the door - Don't stick your fingers in a moving fan - Keep your feet out from under the car when your wife backs out if     the driveway
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On Wed, 05 Nov 2003 00:32:55 GMT, The Wobulator

Might be hard to get out of a ceiling fixture with a pole extractor, otherwise I can't see a problem.
But the real issue is *change*... it always happens slowly.
...Jim Thompson
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| James E.Thompson, P.E. | mens |
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Same reason we aren't metric; too hard to change over. Sure, the rest of the world can do it...
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I've never known a lightbulb to get "loose" for any reason. Never.

By the time Europe stole er... borrowed our invention, the Edison base lamp was already the standard. They changed the base due to (reason below.)

Nothing insecure at all about a simple corkscrew thread and socket combination. I've never felt it took too long to screw in a bulb, or unscrew it for that matter. Nor have I ever witnessed or heard of one falling out due to vibration.

Because we didn't "adopt" the initial invention at all, Europe did - and changed the design to meet their particular needs, outlined below.

Europe went with the bayonet base because they went with a 240 volts to ground residential distribution system. Practically all household appliances, and lights, run on 240v.
If one tried to change a bulb with the outer screw shell hot (remember, no polorization there either for light sockets) you would be killed if you were grounded. In the USA you'd get a nice jolt from the 120, but probably not likely to cause permanent injury.
So Europe sunk BOTH lamp contacts to the bottom of the socket. They also added small fuses to every lamp and appliance cord, because they don't call their room outlets "mains" for nothin - they're at 240v and typically 30-40a can be had at any receptacle. At 240v any shock can be deadly.
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when I was young I lived in Europe. I spent about 30 seconds with the neutral in my right hand and the hot in my left, at 220, until someone unplugged me.
I'm still trying to figure out how come I'm still alive.
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Well JJ, that explains a lot!
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I was expecting that. Thank you for reinforcing my lack of faith in my "fellow" human beings.
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HA HA Budys Here wrote:

This is hilariously ignorant. In fact, Edison is widely believed to have read about the light bulb invented by Sir Joseph Swan, which was written up in Scientific American some 10 months prior to Edison's patent application for the incandescent bulb.
In truth, as with aviation, there were lots of people around the world all working on this cutting-edge "electricity" thing at the same time. Edison made some key innovations but was far from the only person to invent the light bulb. There had been less viable versions invented much earlier. What Edison achieved was a durable, manufacturable, and relatively inexpensive light bulb.
In fact, Edison lost patent fights both in the UK (to Swan, whom he was forced to take on as a partner in "Edison-Swan") and the US. He was a better businessman (founder of GE) and self-promoter, even if this didn't help him win the DC vs. AC fight.

"Nyet, Kepten, light bulb is *Russian* inwention!"
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Who chose tungsten?
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"HA HA Budys Here"
what happened to "Buddys Back"? next it will be "Buddy's still here"!
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