Monday, June 19, 2017
The BBC recently pointed out our prehistoric ancestors needed to gather and chop "wood 10 hours a day for six days ... [in order to] produce 1,000 lumen hours of light ... That is the equivalent of one modern light bulb shining for just 54 minutes, although what you would actually get is many more hours of dim, flickering light instead." Even when better alternatives, such as candles, became available, it was still prohibitively expensive to light the house for the common person. Further, the first candles were produced from animal fat and not from the clean burning paraffin wax we use today, producing a flickering smelly flame. ... George Washington calculated that five hours of reading per night cost him £8 yearly - well over $1,000 in today's dollars.
The light bulb changed everything.
By 1900, 60 hours of work could provide 10 days of light. The light bulbs would burn 100 times as bright as a candle, steadily and inodorously. By 1920, 60 hours of work could already pay for 5 months of stable light. By 1990, that increased to 10 years of light. Today? 52 years.
And progress has not stopped yet. LED lights continue to become cheaper and cheaper.
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