I just read that the incandescent light bulb that we’ve all been using since who laid the chunk is being phased out. After 2012, it will no longer be available. From then on, it will be the fluorescent bulb, or nothing.
The reason for this phasing out of the old bulb is to save electricity. The old ones created too much heat. Think about the shape we would have all been in without them. We would have been forced to watch TV by candlelight. Willie Nelson could never have written his song, “Turn out the Lights, the Party’s Over.” “Blow Out the Candle, the Party’s Over” just wouldn’t have been the same.
I think that most everybody, me included, has been under the misconception that Thomas Edison invented the Incandescent light bulb. He didn’t. A couple of Canadians from Ontario did. One was named Evans and the other Woodward. Didn’t they also discover Watergate?
One day they were messing with another invention they were working on which made a spark. They put the spark in a bottle and at that moment, invented the light bulb. It seems that Mr. Edison was, at that time, working on inventing the light bulb so he bought their patent for $5,000 and he got the credit. This was probably one of the first major business scams ever perpetrated.
The best I remember, Edison also invented the phonograph about 15 years before anybody ever invented a record to play on it. For several years, I owned one of his phonographs but sold it at a garage sale. I never could find any records.
I beat the government to phasing out the incandescent bulb by five years, my reason being that I could never find one that lasted over 20 minutes. These funny-looking fluorescent bulbs are known to almost last forever. I had one that was so old I had to shoot it down with my bb gun so I could replace it.
I well remember life without electricity. When the sun went down, it got dark. It stayed that way until the sun came up again. Of course, we had an old coal oil lamp that was so dim we had to strike a match to see if it was burning.
We had no refrigerator to keep things cold. We had more ice than we needed in the winter and none in the summer.
Sometime, around 1936, I think, we moved into a house in which the previous tenant had electricity. Having electricity in your house back then meant having drop lights in each room and no wall plugs. Dad signed us up. The minimum requirement for electricity was $1.50 a month.
We could now have a radio. Dad went to Firestone in Brownwood and bought one for a dollar down and a dollar a week. I was in hog heaven. Now I could listen to Bob Wills from Cain’s Academy in Tulsa every Saturday night for an entire hour. Life was good.
Then one day, a refrigerator was delivered. Life was getting better. The man who delivered the refrigerator told Dad the thing wouldn’t operate from that drop light. New wiring was needed. Dad told him, “I’ll take care of it.”
About a month later, I heard Dad tell somebody that our new refrigerator hadn’t raised our electric bill a bit. Being rather smart in such operations, I took a look at Dad’s wiring job. It was a neat job, the correct wire size was used but with only one glaring mistake. He had wired in on the wrong side of the meter. At that time, such action was illegal.
As far as I know, it still is.
Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.