light bulb as idea
I just returned from ICFF where I fell in love with not on, but two new light bulbs. Go figure. It’s a testament to human ingenuity that we’re still improving on something so iconic. Both are LEDs and they couldn’t be more different in approach. The first, Tala, replicates the original incandescent but now high-tech and energy efficient. (As soon as they’re available in North America in July I’m getting one.) The other, Nanoleaf, completely reinvents the form (who decided light bulbs have to be round?)
Well sort of. The amazing thing about light bulbs is how recognizable they are no matter the shape. Iconic. The history of the light bulb of course involves Edison (who usually gets most of the credit) but it was actually, and continues to be, an iterative process. At what point did a light bulb coming on over your head come to symbolize an idea? There seems to be some disagreement: the term enlightenment predates the light bulb, there is an iconic image of Edison (who was a master of marketing) with a light bulb, and Felix the Cat might have something to do with it (although I can’t find proof).
The symbolism sticks though because it fits so well. One of my favorite light bulbs is actually not a light bulb at all. Just a really good idea.