Its true that there was a formal agreement to limit the
life of the bulbs produced with fines for those who
made them last longer than what had been agreed to.
Sure, but if that was all that was involved, there wouldn't
be any need for any collusion on what was produced, let
alone fines for those that produce bulbs that lasted longer
but which produced the same amount of light.
The revelation of the lightbulb cartel was a little misleading in
failing to mention that there was, in this case, a sound technical
reason for designing to a 1000 hour lifetime rather than a 2000 hour
The industry does offer a 'long life' 2000 hour rated lamp for use
where the extended lamp replacement costs reduction outweighs the
higher electrity costs involved with using lamps of lower luminous
Obviously, the cartel preferred the more efficient 1000 hour rating
since it effectively doubled demand. You could make a tungsten
filament lamp that would last 100,000 hours if you were prepared to
pay for the tenfold increase in electrical consumption for the same
percieved colour temperature by use of filters incorporated in a lamp
of one fifth or so luminous efficacy of the 1000 hour lamp.
I was rather surprised that the cartel had decreed self imposed
penalties for departing from the 1000 hour life rating by relatively
small deviations from the ideal. It rather begs the question as to how
would they find out? Presumably, random purchasing and life testing of
each other's product.
Compared to the tricks by the likes of Apple (and Microsoft who,
notably, were ignored) and Ikea and Swatch, this Lightbulb Cartel was
positively benign. The treatment of the Lightbulb cartel was a little
unfair to say the least. True, it was a very early example of a cartel
driven form of 'obsolence' but of a product that was (and is) accepted
as being a 'throwaway consumable' in the first place.
Apart from that less than accurate treatment of 1920s light bulb
manufacturers, the rest of the program seemed to pretty well sum up
the the way that big business/retail has taken PT Barnum's truism that
"There's one born every minute' to heart. Global marketting(sp?) has
always been about manipulating populations into becoming 'dutiful
consumers', after all, it's what makes the world go round.
The push for clean and safe nuclear power (LFTR) might actually come
from these same companies when they realise that such levels of
'consumerism' will become unsustainable once the fossil fuels run out.
I can imagine them running re-education programs to rectify the false
beliefs held by the 'eco-green warrior' class of deluded fools (not
all delusional beliefs are good for global business enterprises).
Our salvation as the dominent species on this planet might well come
from these 'evil companies' once the penny has finally dropped' as to
which industries (eg. Oil Industry) to penalise for their
counterproductive activities to the scheme of an everlasting
exploitation of the consumer class.
Market forces might indeed prove to be the way forward, especially as
such industries seem to be taking more of an interest in 'foreign
policy' than our current 'democratic' governments seem to be doing.
I'm sure these companies would rather see less conflict and more
political stability worldwide to further their ambitions.
I'm not claiming that this will actually happen, just suggesting that
a solution to the global problems could, logically speaking, come from
the most surprising of sources (assuming that global nirvana is at all
Its going to be interesting to see how that sort of thing pans
out with china being the main place that stuff is made now.
Corse it may not change much with the design stuff being
done in the west by those majors and the only difference
is where they choose to have it manufactured and so can
do what you propose anyway.
They did mention that - they implied it was a "ruse".
And in any case coming up with a "system" of fine for exceeding the 1000
hours doesn't allow the manufactures to provide a "commercial" choice.
for which, under the above agreement they would have been "fined"
I don't agree
It was an industry wide agreement. Such things are the worst cancer of all.
Individual companies "encouraging" you to buy more of "their" product using
marketing "tricks", when you have perfectly acceptable alternative choices,
is the benign case here.
Not sure about that. I'd have thought going back a lot longer than that one
can trace the throw away thing. It was when they stopped repairing consumer
electronics and priced stuff so low you just threw the old one.
Anyone for a transistor radio form the 60s?
From the Sofa of Brian Gaff Reply address is active
"Jabba" < email@example.com> wrote in message
No, I don't buy it either.
It was cheap manufacture in China that did that.
I've never heard of anybody throwing away a Swatch on a regular basis. I
only know one person who has one and for her it was a "one time" special
And whilst people might replace IKEA furniture more frequently than others I
don't think many people throw it away on an annual basis (or even when they
move house). The inconvenience of having to have large stuff delivered (and
dumping the old one), stops most people from doing that.
And the idea that the miners (and others) when on strike because they
"thought that they were being excluded from the consumer society" is just
made up nonsense.
They went on strike because they "wanted more money" - end of. They were
just as likely to want it to spend on extra beer, than a proliferation of
Lamp efficiency wasn't a big factor back then from the energy cost
perspective, indeed some people were still paying for electricity by
the number lampholders rather than actual usage.
So whilst what they did actually makes perfect sense today (and lamp life
should probably have been reduced to 750 hours here, as it was in the
US for many types of lamp), it wasn't done for those reasons back then.
However, that was a different time, and cartels were not frowned upon
as much as they are today.
Cartels still exist today, but they work differently. With the number
of lamp manufactures significantly reduced, they put pressure on the
regulators to ban the types of lamp they can no longer make a good
margin on, as a means to keep their high margin products selling.
The cartel tends to be between a manufacturer and a regulator now -
it's easier than actually competing in the marketplace.
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
UK 240 volt bulbs used to work in France on 230V, and lasted longer but
gave out less light. The reverse also took some people by surprise when
they bought cheap bulbs on the shopping cruises that used to be popular
25 years ago. Gave out lots of light (here) and went pop very quickly.
Since about last November, the voltage where I live in west sussex has
definately dropped. My plug-in watt-o-meter always showed 242 volts, for
years and years. For a brief period in ?2011 it was showing 187 volts
(*) and then recovered. Now it shows 230 volts, but I can't remember the
exact date when it changed. I believe it was late last year. I thought
harmonization just resulted in the upper and lower limits being altered ?.
There is a Woolworths 60 watt bulb in my bathroom, that was there when I
moved here in 1991, and it is still going strong. Maybe not on for very
long, but it still gets switched on/off regularly.
(*) And about 6 months later the electro-mechanical thermostat in my
Liebherr fridge failed - ?connection.
I have an IKEA bed bought in 1980 - in Switzerland. Subsequently it
went to California and came back with me to the UK. It has been dis-
and re-mantled a number of times as a result of all these moves. I
bought a second such bed 20 years ago and that is going strong, too.
These are perfectly good and comfortable beds, which are able to be
moved easily from house to house (whether the designers had that in
mind at the time, I neither know or care).
"Freedom is sloppy. But since tyranny's the only guaranteed byproduct of
those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do." -- Bigby Wolf
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