After 120 years of manufacturing incandescent light bulbs, Toshiba announced last week its planned to switch solely to CFLs and LED light bulbs.
The Japanese electronics manufacturer said the phaseout is part of a strategy to ultimately concentrate on LED (light-emitting diode) lighting products, though it will continue to produce certain specialty incandescent bulbs.
Incandescent lighting has been dwindling in use over the last five years in large part to citizen and government phase-out campaigns that include laws for an eventual ban on the sale of the electricity-guzzling light source. Many countries have already passed laws with deadlines looming.
Australia was the first country to ban the sale of incandescent lightbulbs, which took effect in 2010. In December 2007, the U.S. passed a law phasing out the sale of the 100-watt incandescent bulb beginning in 2012 with a ban to take effect by 2014, as well as several regulations regarding bulb efficiency rates.
Many companies have responded to the changes by reducing production in favor of new lighting technology like LEDs and CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs). Even newer technologies like electron stimulated luminescence (ESL) lights and incandescent bulbs with ultra-fast short-pulse lasers are also on the horizon.
“Toshiba estimates that switching 60 percent of the world’s incandescent lights with LED lights would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 125.5 million tons in 2025, compared to 2000,” the company said in a statement.
It marks the end of a technology era. Since 1890, Toshiba–that is the company that eventually became part of Toshiba–has been manufacturing incandescent lighting.
Hakunetsu-sha & Company was Japan’s first electric incandescent lighting factory and produced its first bulbs in 1890 at a rate of 10 bulbs per day. The company was renamed the Tokyo Electric Company in 1899, and in 1939 merged with Shibaura Engineering Works to become what is today known as Toshiba.