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?
*Please REMOVE the obvious for my correct email address*
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?).
On 11/04/03 07:32 pm The Wobulator put fingers to keyboard and launched
the following message into cyberspace:
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.
Neither one should be connected to ground. The socket should be connect to
And the only way that the socket body could be connect to hot is if either
the lamp or the outlet are wired backwards.
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
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.
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.
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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