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#Efficient & Effective Kitchen Lighting

T here’s a critical missing element in most American kitchens, and it’s not a $10,000 range or a stainless steel French door refrigerator. No, it’s simply good lighting. Most kitchens not only do not have enough lighting, they have the wrong kind of lighting.

Electrical Discharge (Arc) Lamps

Electrical discharge lamps create light by jumping a spark across two electrodes surrounded by inert gas.

The most common house hold in car na tion of this type of lamp is the tubular fluor es cent lamp found in just about all workshops, garages and basements.

Other types of electrical discharge lamps include sodium and mercury vapor lamps used only for street lights and other outdoor applications and xenon-arc lamps used in special applications such as movie projectors, search lights and headlights for luxury cars. These collectively are sometimes referred to as High-Intensity Discharge HID lamps. Your kitchen is more than just a place to cook and eat. It usually serves as the administrative and the social hub of the home. Because it typically opens for business before dawn and closes long after sunset, a kitchen uses a lot of energy for lighting. That makes this room an important place to use efficient lighting. While remodeling your kitchen, you have the perfect opportunity to create an effective but also highly efficient lighting system.

Designing a lighting system that provides just the right light yet uses very little electricity is the goal of lighting design. It is not a trivial process. And it requires an intimate understanding of how light works.

More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Lighting

If you have ever seen a welder at work, you know that arc welding produces an amazingly bright light so bright that special eye protection is required. This was the first electric lamp: the carbon arc lamp. The 1860 Republican convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president was held in a large wooden building in Chicago lit by carbon arc lamps. The fact that it did not burn down, eliminating the newly formed Republican Party, is a testament to careful and constant vigilance. Temperamental, dangerous, expensive and requiring constant adjustment, these lamps were not practical for everyday use.

A few years later Thomas Edison developed the practical incandescent lamp, the first relatively safe source of electric lighting.

There have been huge improve ments in lighting since the 19th century, but almost all the lamps we use are still of the two types: incan descent and elec trical dis charge (the new name for arc lamps). The only new kind of lamp developed in the past 100 years is the light emitting diode (LED) which works on an entirely new principal.

How Electricity is Converted to Light

Light is composed of photons very small particles that our eye can see. Photons move very quickly. In fact they travel at, ahem, the speed of light. They also vibrate. The rate of vibration, or frequency, determines the type and color of light they produce. We see in only a small portion of the total light spectrum. We can see only "visible light." The rest of the spectrum including infrared and ultraviolet, is invisible to us, although other animals can

Almost certainly not.

Sir Joseph Swan, a British inventor, first patented a workable incandescent light bulb in Britain 10 years prior to Edison's patent.

Sir Joseph Swan Swan published his work in Scientific American where Edison presumably read about it.

Swan sued Edison in English courts for patent infringement and won. Edison was forced to give Swan a substantial interest in Edison's British electricity venture, renamed Edison and Swan United Electric Company, coloquilly known as "Ediswan" Electric.

On this side of the Atlantic, Edison fared no better. The U.S. Patent Office invalidated Edison's patent, ruling in 1883 that Edison had based his patent on the earlier work of William Sawyer.

While some give Edison credit for inventing a practical filament that could be mass-produced inexpensively, in fact, the filament used in manufacturing for years before the tungsten filament was discovered, was a cellulose filament also invented by Swan. see this light very well, which is why they appear to see in the dark. It's actually not dark to them.

Converting electricity into light requires adding energy to an atom until one of the electrons orbiting the nucleus of the atom jumps to a higher orbit. It then starts losing energy, and when it loses enough energy, it drops back down to its former orbit, and in the process emits a photon. Then the cycle repeats itself. It all happens very fast the entire cycle of electron movement to a higher orbit then back down to the lower one takes just a tiny fraction of a second and to a lot of atoms at the same time. The result is the steady flow of photons that we see as a stream of light. Some materials do better at producing light than others. In incandescent lamps, the material most commonly used is tungsten.

The Edison Screw is not, as you might think, the hosing you get from the Electric Company every summer on your air-conditioning electricity rates. It is the standard light bulb base used in North America and most of Europe.

The screw base was invented by Thomas Edison at the end of the 19th century. By 1909 it had become the defacto standard in North American, supplanting other bulb bases including the Westinghouse spring clip base, the bayonet mount and wedge base.

Its chief competitor in the world of electric lighting is the bayonet mount used as the standard light bulb base in many former members of the British Empire including the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Ireland, and New Zealand, as well as parts of the Middle East and Africa. In the rest of the world, the bayonet base is a fringe player used mostly in automotive lamps (because it better resists loosening from vibration), flashlights and certain appliance lamps. The wedge base is found on small bulbs such as mini-lamps used on Christmas trees and some halogen lamps (see photo below).

Screw bases are designated with the letter "E" followed by a number that indicates the diameter of the base in millimeters (i.e. E26 has a diameter of 26 mm.)




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