Yes it is true, an old incandescent light bulb could waste as much as 80/90% of electricity converting watts into heat rather than light, but were those watts really wasted???

It was 1938, I was eight years old, the country was deep in the Great Depression, it was a sunless cold dreary Sunday in December, I was shivering cold when Pete our Italian neighbor invited my father and I over, we joined Pete and his young daughter Virginia at their small kitchen table, I was immediately engulfed in a warm glow sitting close under a simple lamp reflector containing a single, maybe 100 watt, incandescent light bulb. As Pete and my father enjoyed their conversation and Pete’s homemade table wine (served of course in the popular wine glass of the time, small jelly glasses) Mary, Pete’s wife brought snacks and for us kids a few fresh baked Italian cookies to go with our own small glasses of watered down wine. That simple light bulb made for a warm pleasant afternoon. For many people, meaning those that had electricity during those jobless Depression years, a single hanging kitchen light bulb was the only light and heat in the house and the whole family found comfort and companionship sitting under it. Wasted energy! I think not.

Skip ahead 35 years, Another cold dreary December day, I’m at a restaurant having lunch with two important clients, we are talking about the emerging LED technology when  I notice both men suddenly are looking up over my shoulder, I turn and see a beautiful vivacious Italian gal broadly smiling and walking thru the large crowded dining room toward our table, she says “Manfred I’m Virginia”, I recognized your laughter from across the room and had to confirm if it was you, I quickly stood up and while she was giving me a warm hug she went on to say, speaking to my clients, that as a young girl she had a terrible crush on me and that I just ignored her.  We all laughed and chatted a few moments and she returned to her table where she was lunching with a couple of girlfriends.  My clients were very impressed, asked me if she was a movie star or what. A very successful business meeting, when we emerged from the restaurant the sun was shining. And yet another reminder that I married the wrong woman, but that’s another story…

More technical stuff: Light from an incandescent bulb appears and feels similar to the sun. The warm noontime sun, as opposed to a sunless winter day, provides health benefits and a soothing physiological affect, a person just feels better on sunny days. The old kitchen’s incandescent bulb sun-like feeling conveyed a similar effect. For more info on Health and Light see:

http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=20000102232127