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Toshiba Ends Incandescent Bulb Production After 120 Years 430

angry tapir writes "Toshiba has stopped production of mass-market incandescent light bulbs, putting an end to a 120-year manufacturing history of the products. The company, which is one of Japan's largest makers of lighting products, had planned to halt production next year but brought up the date by a year. It will now focus on more energy efficient products, including LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which contain a handful of white LEDs and draw a fraction of the power of incandescent bulbs."
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Toshiba Ends Incandescent Bulb Production After 120 Years

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  • Re:Flashlights (Score:5, Informative)

    by jaymz666 ( 34050 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @09:45AM (#31507652)

    Mag makes LED torches too

  • Re:Flashlights (Score:3, Informative)

    by polar red ( 215081 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @09:50AM (#31507720)

    indeed, I have one that's already 3 years old. Still working fine. 10+ Hours of light with 1 set of batteries.

  • Re:so long... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BeardedChimp ( 1416531 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:01AM (#31507864)
    And now for the entirely predictable posts claiming low power lighting causes cancer, are crap, and cause global warming...

    The first argument goes the mercury in CFLs is going to kill us. This argument comes up and is destroyed every time. It will suffice to say there is little mercury, isn't that dangerous and burning coal puts out a lot more.

    Then we attack the lights. They are crap, taking too long to turn on, not being bright enough and so forth. Arguments that might have been true 10 years ago but have been entirely overcome unless you insist on buying the cheapest pos you can find.

    I titter when I hear that because incandescent bulbs warm your house it means you don't need as much heating so you are saving energy and helping the environment! This argument is so weak all I'll say is heating in summer?

    Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

    This time instead of continuing to spout discredited crap, do a bit of research.
  • Re:Go, go LED (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mashdar ( 876825 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:03AM (#31507898)

    There has been dimmable LED lighting for years. Good luck finding quality LED fixtures for under $400, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:24AM (#31508136)

    The commercial units of the major bulb brands (Philips, GE, Sylvania) sometimes cross-purchase and rebrand bulbs for retail sale. I would not be surprised if rebranded Toshiba bulbs were available under another name in the US.

    We (Philips) have written down our incandescent production assets and we're preparing to write down most of the halogen assets as well. Incandescents are not permitted for retail sale in most of the western world now, and halogens are about to be phased out in Europe. Halogena will stick around for a while because it passes the US efficiency standards, but we've been moving toward all LED for a while. The business is moving from production to luminaires (installation and design, computerized light management and efficiency systems). It's kind of funny because that's basically our original international business (the first international contract for Philips was lighting a museum in Russia). You should see some of the cool shit that Philips Color Kinetics is doing these days, and we've been buying up smaller "boutique" luminaires businesses lately.

    Another possibility is "fashion" lighting with replaceable light components. There are models for a continued lighting business in the absence of bulb production. The reality is that bulb production has become even more commoditized over the last ten years or so than it was. Incandescents were moved to Mexico, then to China, and the same has happened with CFL. TL might be next (we still have TL production in the US, but we also have it in China). Halogen/HID could be the last man standing.

    You can argue about the quality of the jobs in the production vs the luminaires business, but the reality is that the production jobs have been centered in less-developed parts of the country, often rural, with a less-educated workforce (the original "offshoring"). The luminares jobs require more education and are primarily centered in urban areas (the jobs are located near the customers). It's a major change for us.

    Break over, back to the real job.

  • Re:Efficiency (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:28AM (#31508220)

    Come on, this is Slashdot! Using Google for a few minutes you get you the answer?

    A 13 W LED produces the same amount of light as a 40W incandescent bulb. According to studies, LEDs have an expected lifespan of roughly 50 times that of an incandescent bulb (1000 hours), albeit with reduced efficiency. Apparently the US Department of energy uses a factor of 25. (sources: and so lets go with 25000 hours for a 13 W LED to be conservative.

    So your LED will last at least 25 times as long and use a third of the electricity.

    You will need to factor in your local electricity costs, but using an average of 12c/kWh (source, you will save 0.027(kW)*25000(hours)*12(c/kWh) 8100 cents over the lifetime of the LED. Add to that the fact that you would have bought $25 dollars worth of bulbs in that period as well, you will have been $56 better off over the lifetime of the LED. This of course does not include any environmental costs saved by the two thirds reduction in energy requirements or incurred by the higher production costs of the LED.

    And to try to answer your question directly: taking 3.4 hours a day average light use (just picking a number here, fill in your own if you want) means you save 3.4(h/day)*0.027(kW)*12(c/kWh) = 1.1 cents a day. That means you earn back the extra $49 in a bit over 12 years. This does not factor in the fact that your normal bulbs will have needed to be replaced several times during that period, adding to the savings, nor the fact that we can pretty much count on electricity getting more expensive over time, not cheaper.

    So how many decades? 1.2, using these numbers.

  • Re:so long... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Algan ( 20532 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:29AM (#31508246)

    Get CFLs that provide light with a color temperature of 2700K. That's approximately the color temperature of an incandescent bulb, and, to my untrained eyes, the color seems identical.

    Make sure you look for 2700K on the package. "Soft, warm white" might be 3000K, and you will notice the difference.

  • Re:I love LED lights (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mashdar ( 876825 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:31AM (#31508266)

    I work in the lighting field and have a few comments:
    1)The reason you can't find bright LEDs to go in your A19 fixtures is that they cannot be properly heat-sinked. Shedding heat is really important for LEDs, and requires some very nice heavy duty fixtures to keep the lamps at full output (heat wears the LEDs out faster, and they dim gradually rather than burning out).
    2) I refused to use CFLs in my house for years. You should buy several varieties and try them out, though. Some are actually very pleasing now. Sadly the choices for non-standard bulbs are still mostly terrible (I have yet to find a cheap R20 CFL I don't hate). Some of the Fiet lamps are for sale at walgreens for cheap and look pretty good. Seek lamps that say 3500K for the color temperature. (5000k will be very blue, 3000k or less will be reddish)
    3) Reading is an activity which ideally should have good lighting. Don't strain your eyes :)

  • Re:so long... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:34AM (#31508304) Homepage

    Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

    While I don't get headaches directly from CFLs, if I do have one, I typically find that some CFLs will make it worse (When I get a headache, I'm typically very sensitive to light. The fact that some bulbs make it worse than others leads me to believe there may be something about sensitivity to certain light frequencies) The difference, is that it's only SOME CFLs that cause it... The light output varies from model to model, and while I wouldn't avoid CFLs because of it, I may avoid certain models... EM sensitivity I think is largely psychological, but I do think that light sensitivity is a very real effect (But definitely does have some psychological effect)...

    As for the mercury argument, it only plays if you break a bulb. Sure, coal may put out more, but what's the average effect on each person with coal? I'd bet it's less than if you broke a bulb (and were directly exposed to the mercury). However with that said is the amount that's contained in a CFL dangerous? Is it beyond the LEL? The amount of mercury in a typical CFL is around 4mg ( [])... Based on the MSDS [], that amount is WELL above the airborne exposure limits (40 times the OSHA upper limit). So the dangers of mercury are real, but the flip side of that argument is how many bulbs are broken? If you have a habit of breaking them, then perhaps it's a real concern. If you've never broken a bulb in your life, perhaps it doesn't concern you (Since exposure one time isn't nearly as bad as a repeated exposure)... But to say that it isn't dangerous is extremely short sighted and blatently ignoring the facts. Sure it's not a mitigate-able danger (just don't break the bulb), but it still exists...

    This time instead of continuing to spout discredited crap, do a bit of research.

    Ummm... No comment...

  • Re:so long... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:45AM (#31508482)

    ...has effectively outlawed incadescents and replaced them with CFLs, has the EU power demand dropped?

    You can still buy regular light-bulbs here in Sweden, the first step was apparently only to outlaw the sale of certain lightbulbs (not the common 25, 40 and 60W bulbs that are the most common ones).

    It'll probably take a couple of years before the results (if any) can be seen.

  • Re:Go, go LED (Score:3, Informative)

    by N Monkey ( 313423 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:49AM (#31508538)

    Are they making dimmable LED lights yet?

    A quick search turned up this []. I'd imagine there are other makes.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:00AM (#31508702) Homepage Journal

    From my experience, the lifetime of the energy-saving bulbs in -15C frost doesn't exceed 2 weeks. They are okay indoors, but I still use a standard bulb for the garage light. After replacing three supposedly "survives 20 bulbs" energy-saving ones in matter of two months.

  • Re:Flashlights (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:32AM (#31509142) Journal
    If you "like the feel" of a 6D cell Maglight you should probably consider switching to an LED emitter anyway. Conventional lightbulbs are slightly better for blinding people; but when you go all Rodney King on somebody, they tend to break(unless you are very careful about which end of the flashlight you are using). LEDs, by contrast, are substantially shock resistant.
  • Re:so long... (Score:3, Informative)

    by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @11:45AM (#31509332)

    Now with more identity!

    Your lights are on only an hour a day? That's astounding!

    Let's do correct numbers:
    60W incandescent: 60W * 3.13hrs * 30 days = 5.6kWh
    13W CFL(60W equivalent: 13W * 3.13hrs * 30 days = 1.2kWh

    That's a difference of 4.4kWh/month or $4.77/year/bulb. That means my CFL will pay for itself in a only few months.

  • Re:so long... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:31PM (#31510086)

    There are CFLs with a CRI of 96 (CRI of 100 is real daylight). So much for that.

  • Re:so long... (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:44PM (#31510374) Journal

    (60 watt equivalent bulb vs. bulb)
    40W laser-produced incandescent: 40W * 3.13hrs * 30 days = 3.7kWh
    13W Compact fluorescent light: 13W * 3.13hrs * 30 days = 1.2kWh

    >>>That means my CFL will pay for itself in a only few months.

    Assuming your CFL does not die within a few months, as many of mine have done. And don't give me a load of crap about "buying poor quality" or "maybe you have bad electric". It was the enclosed fixture causing the internal CFL componenent to literally dryout and die. Furthermore the old incandescents I had in there worked perfectly for YEARS.

    This is nothing more than a WASTE of money.
    - Why should I settle for a netbook when I really need a full-sized laptop or desktop?
    - Why should I settle for Linux that won't play games or run Word, when a Windows or Mac works near-perfectly?
    - Why settle for an inferior CFL when the incandescent does the same job, and much much better?

    I'm not the type of person to settle unless there's good reason to do so (my $15 DSL is not as fast as $30 DSL, but it still lets me watch online tv). Especially when the reward is so small (pennies), or the hassle too great (prematurely dead CFLs), to be worth it.... it's like worrying about a speck of dust in a mud-flooded basement. It makes zero sense.

    Basically I'm not Californian. (just joking)

    We should be focusing our efforts on the big energy users like heaters and air conditioners (measured in 1000s of kilowatthours), and not trivial crap like lightbulbs which clearly don't work as well as the old technology.

  • Re:so long... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Algan ( 20532 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @12:57PM (#31510658)

    True, but unless you're a professional that cares about the spectral composition of your light sources, it doesn't really matter. 99% of complaints about CFL light are related to color temperature, since most people grew up accustomed to the warm yellowish light provided by incandescent bulbs.

  • Re:so long... (Score:3, Informative)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:26PM (#31511332) Homepage

    Right, but these are designed for use in enclosures. I was simply disputing the assertion that you can't use CFLs in recessed lighting - you can if you use the right bulbs, and further, they're not expensive. The ones I have are similar to these [], but I paid about half the price quoted there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:34PM (#31513818)

    While I'm not going to give you a lecture on aerosol effect, I will point out how readily mercury evaporates [].
    To quote: "Mercury exposure can occur by breathing vapors, by direct skin contact or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with mercury. Many people are exposed by breathing vapors, which are readily absorbed by the lungs. Mercury can enter the body through the skin, especially if it contacts a cut or wound. [...] Spills from the breaking of a blood pressure device [with the same amount of mercury as a CFL bulb] can produce airborne levels high enough to cause serious poisoning and even death ." (Emphasis mine)

  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:26PM (#31516378)

    I like how you cut out what they actually said, and replaced it with your own nonsense. Pretty slick.

    In fact, a CFL bulb has nowhere NEAR as much mercury as a blood pressure device. That's why the phrase that you quoted - and changed - actually says:

    "Spills from the breaking of a blood pressure device or larger sources can produce airborne levels high enough to cause serious poisoning and even death.

    In fact, the mercury content in a blood pressure device is likely to be measured in multiple grams, which is orders of magnitude higher than the 4 milligrams present in a CFL.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson