Friday, September 28, 2007

Lead, Kindly Light.......

In 1878, an English chemist, Joseph Swan (sometimes Swann) developed the first practical incandescent light bulb. In America, that fertile inventor, Thomas Edison, had been trying to do the same without success and had consoled himself with reciting “Mary had a little lamb” into his newly invented phonograph.
Always one with an eye for the main chance, he claimed the bulb as having been his invention, a myth that has endured until this day. However, he was pragmatic enough to go into business with Swan and the Ediswan company was formed.
Now, it seems, they are being held responsible for global warming (well, some of it) and their invention will shortly be banished from the marketplace.
We shall be forced into buying those expensive, but apparently ecologically acceptable substitutes, that give an eerie glow when they finally decide to strike up the band.
Their hesitation when one flips the switch is, I suppose, a measure of their prudent desire to save the planet. Perhaps they are considering whether we should be entitled to see or not to see, that is the question.
Since the light they produce is useless for reading, I shudder to think what it will do for the literacy rates but anyway the planet will be saved, if not the libraries.
I'm told that, in spite of their inflated price, they will last twelve times as long as the Ediswan variety. Well, I've got news for them. Not in our household they don't. In fact their life expectation seems, if anything, less than the old fashioned, planet wrecking variety.
I'm all in favour of saving the planet, who wouldn't be, but my suspicions are aroused when supermarkets, not notorious for their love of humanity, eagerly embrace the idea.
Could it be that there's more profit in selling the new bulbs?
More Tesco friendly than Eco friendly, perhaps?


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