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The LED Lamp Development

As early as 70,000 years ago people burnt animal fats as a source of lighting. This form of lighting, such as candles, continued until very recently and in some countries is still an important light source. Other sources were developed such as gas lamps in 1792. They were followed by kerosene which remained a safe source of lighting until the 1930’s when it made way for electricity in the UK.

The first light we recognize as a standard lamp is the incandescent lamp. It was mass produced in the 1920’s and 1930’s after many years of research and development. Unfortunately the lamps produced more heat (~90%) than light and had a very short life span. Coupled with the increasing cost of fuel and environmental awareness the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) was developed as a solution to these issues. 

The first CFL with integral ballasts as a replacement for incandescent lamps was introduced in the 1980’s. Over time and with the help of governments who prescribed the phasing out of incandescent lamps, CFLs became a natural replacement. Although, in the beginning, they were critized for their colour output they had a much longer life span than incandescent, up to 15,000 hours and the return on investment was in the CFL’s favour. These advantages were short lived with the development and introduction of the LED lamp.

LED lamps have an even longer life span, up to 25,000 hours or more but suffered from high initial purchase costs. Yet there are many advantages of LED lamps over CFLs such asdimming capability, durability, accurate colour rendering and size as well as being cooler. As the market matures and LED prices drop further this form of lighting will become the norm both in industry and the home. 

LED is a new promising technology. The continued cost reduction, resulted from technological advancements and larger economy of scale, and the many strengths of LEDs compared to existing lighting technologies will provide designers as well as consumers with a wide range of options in creating new and interesting lighting possibilities.