Toshiba says good-bye to incandescent era

Japanese manufacturer's 120-year relationship with incandescent lighting ended this week in favor of LEDs.

Toshiba chart shows incandescent lightbulb interest has been dimming since the company's production peak of 78 million bulbs in the 1973. Toshiba

Toshiba announced Wednesday it has produced its last major run of incandescent lightbulbs.

The Japanese electronics manufacturer said the phaseout is part of a strategy to ultimately concentrate on LED (light-emitting diode) lighting products, though it will continue to produce certain specialty incandescent bulbs.

Incandescent lighting has been dwindling in use over the last five years in large part to citizen and government phase-out campaigns that include laws for an eventual ban on the sale of the electricity-guzzling light source. Many countries have already passed laws with deadlines looming.

Australia was the first country to ban the sale of incandescent lightbulbs, which took effect in 2010. In December 2007, the U.S. passed a law phasing out the sale of the 100-watt incandescent bulb beginning in 2012 with a ban to take effect by 2014, as well as several regulations regarding bulb efficiency rates.

Many companies have responded to the changes by reducing production in favor of new lighting technology like LEDs and CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs) . Even newer technologies like electron stimulated luminescence (ESL) lights and incandescent bulbs with ultra-fast short-pulse lasers are also on the horizon.

"Toshiba estimates that switching 60 percent of the world's incandescent lights with LED lights would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 125.5 million tons in 2025, compared to 2000," the company said in a statement.

It marks the end of a technology era. Since 1890, Toshiba--that is the company that eventually became part of Toshiba--has been manufacturing incandescent lighting.

Hakunetsu-sha & Company was Japan's first electric incandescent lighting factory and produced its first bulbs in 1890 at a rate of 10 bulbs per day. The company was renamed the Tokyo Electric Company in 1899, and in 1939 merged with Shibaura Engineering Works to become what is today known as Toshiba.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Looking for an affordable tablet?

CNET rounds up high-quality tablets that won't break your wallet.