Vintage Power and Light: The Coolest Thing to Happen to Tungsten Since Edison!


If you’ve been to an architectural lighting, entertainment lighting, or decorative lighting trade show lately, you should notice an interesting trend:  the lack of attention to incandescent light sources.  The light emitting diode has overtaken the world, and like myself, I miss the days of the warm tungsten filament in a room, bathing everything in its reach with a wider spectrum of color than its LED counterparts.  Tungsten filaments, at least decoratively, have become the fine wine of our lighting generation — only those with the intelligence and artistic knowledge in using tungsten and other incandescent sources have continued to do so.  The rest of the world is convinced, at the behest of excellent marketing and often regardless of price, that LED illumination is not only the way of the future but also today’s only way to appropriately design lighting.

It’s a fact that in many applications, including modern high bay methodologies and architectural applications, LED light sources are winning hearts and minds over their higher-energy-consuming incandescent cousins.  Sooner than later we’re going to see higher output automated fixtures giving their HID counterparts a run for their money, too.  ETC’s LED Source Four ellipsoidal, Chauvet’s Ovation LED ellipsoidal, Altman Lighting’s ME3 ellipsoidal, and Robert Juliat’s Tibo and Zep LED profiles have taken the market by storm — and have begun pushing back on the use of tungsten-halogen sources, arc sources, and even halogen sources!

On the whole, energy costs when dealing with a large facility or venue are where LED and non-incandescent sources make a monster difference in energy costs.  But what about where energy costs are negligible, like in your home?  If saving comparatively a few dollars here and there in your home is less important than the feeling and artistic appreciation that something like an incandescent lamp brings to you, can you put a price on your happiness?  I’ve owned many a compact fluorescent lamp-based fixture in my home, and frankly I replace every single CFL with its halogen or incandescent counterpart.  It’s my decision, and I do what makes my eyes and my brain happy.

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On that thought, I introduce to you the work of Vintage Power and Light out of Austin, Texas — creator Lowell Fowler (of High End Systems fame) has started a new hobby art venture based on utilizing the beauty and intrigue of vintage lighting and electrical equipment tied with the warm glow of incandescent sources.  Even better than just the sexiness of a glowing filament structure, Vintage Power and Light takes the beauty of an Edison filament wrap source and melds it to gorgeous finished old-world wood components, then adds stunning copper and brass connections and controls.  My favorite parts of Vintage Power and Light’s work are their use of Consolidated Design glass insulators — there is nothing quite like a multi-petticoat glass insulator on a fixture with an artistic incandescent filament turning that glass into a mystical piece of glowing jewelry.  GAH!  This stuff is amazing!!!

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Lowell and York Fowler have put an interesting new spin on the idea of Steampunk-esque design by bringing old-world components and combining them with early 20th century incandescence.  The result is a stunning and refreshing take on using incandescence as not only an artistic statement, but a comfortable, familiar, and heartwarming addition to your house, office, or anywhere else that LEDs just don’t cut it.

Check out a series of gallery images below, click on any image for a light box of that gallery for your perusal!
Just make sure that you give credit where credit is due, and all of these photos are courtesy of Vintage Power and Light with photography by Tim Grivas.

First things first, Vintage Power and Light’s Table Lamps:

Vintage Power and Light’s Chandelier and Pendant series:

Got a Steampunk jones?  Vintage Power and Light does that too!

Last but not least, a gorgeous offering of sconces for your collection:





JimOnLight says HELL YES to Vintage Power and LightAwesome offerings, guys!  We hope that the whole world sees your work and loves it as much as we do!


GE Invents A CFL/Halogen Lamp?! Wait, What?

I just got a press release on a new upcoming lamp from GE.  This image was in the press release:

Everybody, I think we just saw the results of a drunken lamp party in which compact fluorescent lamps and halogen lamps learned how to be sentient and mate, producing the above (and below) results:

I am so confused and curious.  Let’s hope I see this at LDI.  Apparently the 15-20W CFL/Halogen hybrid lamp is supposed to replace the output from a 60W incandescent.  The halogen capsule inside?  It apparently only lights up until the CFL is at full output.  Oh, also – they claim a low percentage of Mercury (or HYDRARGYRUM, for those in the know).

The press release from GE – and since I don’t normally post press releases, you know that I find it interesting if it makes the site!

CLEVELAND, OH (October 20, 2010)–Consumers searching for the latest hybrid can soon look beyond their local car dealership. Starting in 2011, GE Lighting brings hybrid technology to the lighting aisle in the form of a unique, new incandescent-shaped light bulb that combines the instant brightness of halogen technology with the energy efficiency and longer rated life of compact fluorescent (CFL) technology.

The initial product launch will bring U.S. and Canadian consumers GE Reveal® and GE Energy Smart® Soft White varieties that offer significantly greater instant brightness than current covered CFLs, while preserving the energy efficiency and long life attributes that have elevated CFLs as a lighting staple in many households.

“When you look at our prototype incandescent-shaped bulb with that little halogen capsule nestled inside our smallest compact fluorescent tube, you’re seeing a byproduct of our intense customer focus and our innovation mindset,” says Kristin Gibbs, general manager of North American consumer marketing, GE Lighting. “We’ve constantly improved the initial brightness of our CFLs but customers haven’t been wholly satisfied. This is a giant leap forward.”

The halogen capsule inside GE’s new hybrid halogen-CFL bulb comes on instantly, allowing the bulb to operate noticeably brighter in less than a half a second. The capsule shuts off once the CFL comes to full brightness.

GE scientists engineered the bulb to operate with an exceptionally low level of mercury: 1 mg. Currently available CFLs range from 1.5 mg to 3.5 mg. The hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs will be RoHS compliant and offer eight times the life of incandescent bulbs (8,000 hours vs. 1,000 hours). Less frequent replacement due to longer light bulb life can reduce landfill waste.

First to launch will be 15-watt and 20-watt hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs that are considered viable replacements for 60-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs, respectively. Retail pricing and specific retail store availability will be announced in the coming months.

Old Halogen Torchiere Conversion to Compact Fluorescents

It’s not like these things have disappeared, but do you have any of those halogen torchieres hanging out in your house?  For some reason when I was single, I always had three or four of these things hanging out.  The light is indirect, it creates a soft glow in your house, and they’re usually fairly bright – the halogen lamp inside is typically a couple hundred watts, maybe three hundred.  The bummer of these fixtures – besides the power consumption of the halogen, is that if you knock one over, you might catch something on fire as it shatters, even with the guard in place atop the lamp.

Instructables user “bben46” has posted an Instructable about converting one of these fixtures from halogen to two compact fluorescent lamps, for under ten bucks’ worth of parts, and with an energy cost savings of $260 using both lamps.

Check it out – Bben46’s Halogen Torchiere Retrofit to CFL on Instructables.


Thanks, Make and Instructables!

The Frankie: Table Lamp or Wife Scaring Device

Brazilian designer Fernando Akasaka has released “Frankie,” a big heavy table light that is in the shape of a skull that was apparently subject to some kind of superhuman mouth surgery.  The thing is freaky:


It’s eleven pounds, it comes in several metal finishes, and it’s also so pricey that you can only get a quote by emailing the designer.  Hmm.  Oh – and the eye socket light can either be a halogen or an LED.  That’s exactly what I need – a big hot skull with a messed up mouth sitting on the living room table to freak out my Beagle in the middle of the night.

Someone likes this, right?


Thanks, Cool Hunter and Gizmodo!

ET2 at CSN Lighting – The Starburst Collection

A few nights ago in my insomniac-writing-posts-late-into-the-night frame of mind, I discovered a collection by a company called ET2 on CSN Lighting‘s site – the collection is called “The Starburst Collection,” and is a collection of pendant fixtures.  The sources are small frame halogens, and the pendant configuration can be acquired in groups of 1, 6, 7, 9, 19, and 37.  I wonder if these random groups of numbers will bring some kind of luck to the end user.  I would also like to see these in an LED source configuration too.

What just floored me about these simple pendant fixtures is the configuration of the actual source within the pendant element of the design – the halogen source is covered with a sculpted glass “star,” if you will, that is surrounded by a glass diffuser.  It is truly a pendant style lamp, and the glass star that envelops the glass envelope of the source adds another element of visual interest to the piece.

My wife and I are constantly on the lookout for new fixtures to add into our home or replace an existing fixture with which we’re not quite pleased.  Our last home was filled with cheap Ikea fixtures that either had terrible distribution, tried to perform a function that it failed to perform, or was just very large and clunky.  As you know, I’m a lighting designer – and perhaps it’s post-event justification on my part, but I am a huge proponent of luminaire design that serves not only an illumination function, but that also has an attractive form.  You know, crazy lighting designers and their wanting to make their world as “illuminated” as possible.  Yuk, yuk.

I’ll be adding a review of ET2’s “Solara Collection” soon.  It’s another fixture that accomplishes its function by having a visually appealing form.

Check out a few more images from the Starburst Collection below.  I love that 37-piece pendant grouping!