A Brief History of Indoor Lighting
The history of lighting is fascinating. Although it has taken centuries to get to where we are today in terms of the sheer number of lighting choices we have to illuminate our buildings with, lighting technology has rapidly evolved within only the last century.
One hundred years ago, we had only just mastered using electricity for our means, and even then we were limited to just a few wall lights per home. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In today’s article, we will be discussing the brief history of indoor lighting and how lucky we are to possess such a scope of options in our contemporary society.
Where did it all begin?
The history of lighting began with our ancient ancestors, who used light to keep their homes illuminated at night, keep warm, and cook food for survival. Gas and electric lighting had not yet been invented. So a fire was the only option we had.
The history of indoor lighting remained entirely dependent on fire until as late as the 1700s when candles were still being used as the primary light source inside the home. These were used by the rich and made from beeswax, whereas the poor used only dimly-lit tallow candles.
These methods are very inefficient and are a far cry from the technologically advanced and colourful selection of indoor lights we have today.
Gas and Electric Lights
The history of indoor lighting starts to get interesting once gas and electric lights are introduced. The first widely available methods of gas lighting were only released at the end of the 18th century, with electric lights following in the mid-19th century.
These lighting methods were far from perfect, though, as fumes, smoke, blackened walls, and occasional explosions were reported, making them undesirable in the home.
Electric lights were used more commonly outside in the street than in the home at this time, as their power was simply too intense to be used indoors. Known as “Arc Lamps”. These powerful street lights could read several thousand degrees Celsius. So, although the technology was evolving, it wasn’t quite ready for domestic use yet.
The Incandescent Light Bulb
The incandescent light bulb is the first truly recognisable method in the history of lighting just far. Using a durable filament paired with the best possible vacuum to prolong the life of the filament, the incandescent bulb, patented by Thomas Edison in the 1870s, became the most famously produced and commercially viable lamp bulb.
Unlike the Arc Lamp before it, the incandescent light bulb could be used indoors.
20th Century Electricity
As electric light bulbs became more efficient, traditional methods of indoor lighting became far less desirable and eventually faded out altogether. Gradually, over the 20th century, lightbulbs evolved to be capable of withstanding over a decade of regular use before needing a replacement.
Presently in the 21st century, we have many types of bulbs available. For example, incandescent bulbs are still used, but they’re controversial due to their lack of efficiency. There are also halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps, and LEDs.
The first yellow LED lights were invented in 1927, with the blue following in 1994, and presently, every colour you can think of. LED lights are incredibly efficient and have changed the history of lighting forever. Thousands of gas lamps would once be used to achieve the illumination just two LED bulbs can match.
Although they do look artificial and don’t provide a natural warm glow, they’re incredibly efficient and inexpensive.
Here at IOS Lighting, we have the largest choice of light fittings in Northampton. Whether you’re looking for a pendant, wall, kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor, we have everything you need to illuminate your home. We also have a selection of variously shaped LED bulbs for use as replacements for your old bulbs.
Browse our range today, and call to order at 01604 717315! Alternatively, you can send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!