Fluorescent Lamp

In an earlier post, we studied the incandescent light bulb. Today we will examine one of its relatives: the fluorescent lamp.

According to Bulbs.com, fluorescent lamps are “gas-discharge” lamps that “use electricity emitted from cathodes to excite mercury vapor contained within the glass envelope, using a process known as inelastic scattering.” When excited, the mercury vapor emits ultraviolet light, which causes phosphors, also contained in the lamp, to glow, or produce visible light.

While Henrich Geissler is credited with creating light emitting tubes in the 1850s, it was Daniel McFarlan Moore who was able to develop the technology into something commercially viable, according to his bio at the Smithsonian Institution. Moore credited an improved ability to seal the glass tube, compared to that at Geissler’s time, with allowing this to happen.

The Smithsonian’s article on Moore reports that he spent some time working for Thomas Edison, prior to developing his “Moore Lamp” in 1898. Perhaps this is where he learned about contemporary glass sealing techniques that would allow his product to be a success. Edison inquired “What’s wrong with my lamp?” Moore is quoted as having said “It’s too small, too hot, and too red.”

Since our original post on the incandescent bulb, more (not Moore) of the CFLs that we have been using in our home have come to the end of their life. Encouraged by dropping prices, good sales, and even some manufacturers coupons, we have continued our transition to LED lighting, to which we will next turn our attention.


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