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What are Edison bulbs?

Author: Richard Bevan
Published: April 4, 2018

Edison light bulbs - also known as decorative filament bulbs, or vintage light bulbs - describe an incandescent style of lamp made popular by the Edison Electric Light Company at the turn of the 20th century. Edison bulbs are easily recognised by the intricate designs of their internal filaments; and for the warm golden-yellow light they emit. Designed to be on show, these bulbs are best suited to exposed fittings such as lanterns, open wall lights, and hanging pendants.

Edit Spider ceiling pendant with decorative bulb

The earliest Edison bulbs housed a carbonized bamboo filament, which was later replaced with a more efficient and longer lasting tungsten filament. Extremely long and winding filaments were used to ensure a sufficient amount of light emission from the bulb, and this remained the case until more efficiently wound tungsten filaments were incorporated into the designs. The introduction of a neutral gas to the bulb also helped to increase brightness and lifespan.

In the 1980s, these antique-styled bulbs were extremely popular amongst collectors and prop houses. This remained the case up until the 21st century, when a new Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) placed a ban on low-efficiency lighting, and pushed for alternative fluorescent bulbs. Edison-style light bulbs were not included within the ban but were listed under “specialty lighting”. For those who didn’t appreciate the shape and cool light light produced by fluorescent lamps, the Edison bulb provided an attractive alternative.

Today, Edison bulbs continue to grow in popularity due to the fact they look great and can be utilized in any style of interior, from industrial-styled spaces, to sleek and contemporary homes. Whether you are looking to create an eye-catching lighting feature or simply add a comforting and cosy glow to a space in your home, Edison bulbs are the perfect choice.

Lucide Cubico table lamp paired with decorative filament globe bulb

LED Edison bulbs

In more recent years, the rise of LED technology has led to the production of LED Edison bulbs, which boast similar aesthetic appeal, with the added benefits of lower power consumption and a longer lifespan than their traditional alternatives. These decorative LED bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and styles, including popular squirrel cage, globe, and candle designs.

LED squirrel cage bulb with decorative criss-cross LED filament

LED Edison bulbs are more than a passing trend - their warmth and vintage appeal make them the perfect choice for any interior space. With a variety of shapes, sizes, and colour temperatures to choose from, LED Edison bulbs deliver the best of both worlds: the stunning vintage style and warmth of an incandescent, met with the energy savings of LED. Click here to view our full range of decorative filament bulbs.