Home / Congress / A $2 Gadget That Triples Incandescent Bulb Life
Print Friendly and PDF

A $2 Gadget That Triples Incandescent Bulb Life

Written by Gary North on April 5, 2012

Congress in its wisdom passed a law in 2007 that led to the banning incandescent of the sale of light bulbs, beginning on New Year’s Day, 2012. By 2015, all of them in between 40 watts and 150 watts must be gone from the shelves.

The 100-watt lights  go first, by law.

Maybe you don’t like fluorescent bulbs. Maybe they give you headaches. Tough luck for you, peon. You have no say in the matter. Your liberty got flushed down the Congress-mandated 1.6 gallon-tank toilet.

Incandescent bulbs are cheaper than fluorescent bulbs. They use less energy. That’s right — less energy. For proof, click here. Yet Congress banned incandescent bulbs as an energy-saving measure.

The British government passed a similar law. Result: hoarding on a massive scale.

Black markets ahead? You bet!

I have a partial solution. In fact, I have several dozen of them. My goal is to keep my incandescent bulbs shining until voters persuade Congress to repeal the law. (Sadly, the law is not being repealed anywhere else.)

But how? Let me introduce you to the fabulous Bulb-Miser.

Here is the original ad that sold them. It’s all true. I have used them for years.

Bulb-Miser You probably have noticed that most
light bulbs fail when you flick on the light switch.
That’s because the initial impact of the full
current is too much for the cold filament. A new
product called the Bulb-Miser* provides the
answer to a problem for large quantity bulb
users. It acts as a thermal shock absorber and
lets the filament heat up slowly to prevent
burnout. The result: an average increase in bulb
life of 300 percent.

The Bulb-Miser was developed during
NASA’s Apollo program to protect the Saturn
launch vehicle from electrical current surge.

Technically known as a “temperature
compensating thermistor,” the Bulb-Miser is a
simple, inexpensive device which looks like a
washer about the size of a quarter. It is slipped
between bulb and socket and can be used with
any incandescent bulb that screws into a standard
socket. In addition to delaying burnout, the
Bulb-Miser also offers some reduction of electrical
energy. But the economy of the device goes
beyond energy use or bulb cost; to big users of
bulbs, it makes possible substantially lower
maintenance labor costs. One field test involving
an apartment complex showed that it took
two men 30 man hours monthly to replace light
bulbs; after Bulb-Miser installation only nine
man hours a month were needed.

These are thermistors. When a thermistor gets hit by electrons, it doesn’t let them get through until they heat up the material. As it heats, it lets more electrons through.

It take 45 seconds to bring a bulb to full output if you use a Bulb-Miser.

What kills the bulb is the sudden impact of all those electrons in a fraction of a second. Show them down, and the bulb triples its life span — maybe more.

There is only one thing wrong with Bulb-Misers: the company went out of business about five years ago.

I bought dozens of them for my home in Texas in the late 1980’s. I took them with me when I moved.

If they want to take my Bulb-Misers, they will have to pry them out of my cold, dead hand.

I bought a pile of 20,000-hour incandescent bulbs for about $2.50 each. I use them with Bulb-Misers. They will last longer than I will.

Sadly, the stupidity of Congress will outlast even this combination.

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

48 thoughts on “A $2 Gadget That Triples Incandescent Bulb Life

  1. Gene Poole says:

    The Communists in Congress are even taking away our freedom to choose what kind of light bulb we use – and when science has proved (I know I can trust you on that!) that they use *less* energy! Liberty's light is going out – I hope she's got a Bulb-Miser in there. Why would they do that? Not due to payoffs from the electrical industry – Commies don't believe in free enterprise and they'd never help out industry. So why? Just because they want to control our lives! Just like the Churches. With one on each side of you, each one constantly pouring out their propaganda on the news, reality-TV, radio, movies, books, etc., we're really between a rock and a hard place. And the real tragedy is, you can't even buy a Bulb-Miser anymore!

  2. I thought that the average florescent light bulb, put out about five times the amount of light, as the it's incandescent counterpart,
    Example- 20watt florescent bulb puts out about as much light, (lumens) as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. How can the 100 watt be cheaper to run, than the 20 watt ?

  3. This law was a bone to General Electric. Crony capitalism at it' finest. Also China who makes most of our cheap lightbulbs. Time to repeal this stupid law.

  4. Scott Todd says:

    Well, there goes the advantage of incandescents- full light output when you turn them on. Plus by lowering the voltage the light quality goes to pot. Never liked so-called long life bulbs just for that reason. They're actually operated below their design voltage and thus the light is heavy in the red and orange part of the spectrum. I do partially agree with the article referenced that at least some CFLs don't put out nearly as much light as claimed. But that same article also assumed incandescents didn't lose light output over their lifespan unlike CFLs- major balderdash.

  5. @rulken There are a couple of problems with the CFL bulbs we are being forced to use.

    1st, CFLs cost many times more than incandescent bulb they replace.

    2nd florescent bulbs flicker. The flicker causes many people to suffer from headaches and can cause an episode in those who suffer from migraines.

    3rd CFLs need to be disposed of in a special manner as they contain mercury. Most folks don’t bother with the elaborate disposal requirements. This causes a bigger environmental threat than the original bulbs ever caused.

    4th Where in the Constitution does the Congress have the power granted to it to force us to purchase a specific type of light bulb?

  6. Gary Cook says:

    5th I find I have to replace them at least 3-4 times per year.

  7. http://www.petition2congress.c... Go to this website and sign the petition to vet Obama and check into his eligibility to be president. Send this to everybody on your mailing list. Ask them to do the same. We must keep up the pressure on congress till they do the right thing. If the link doesn't work, cut and paste.

    Congress in it inimitable wisdom, passes a law that helps GE, China and hurts Americans; is that a surprise? One more thing to repeal after we get rid of obama.

  8. Super Nutmegger says:

    Pres. Barack Obama is promoting our dire energy crunch. Theis is another example of "the curse of Obama" —
    but "our brain-dead voter segment will " will again vote this danger to our country, back in office "to finish off this once great country"

  9. Think maybe money talks and "sheet" walks in this world we live in. Light bulbs legistrated out and another in, what was it a slow day and then hey some money said got something to vote on to make it like we care "light blubs". Who the hell do these few hundred people, that work for us, think we are dolts. Well guess what "WE THE PEOPLE" are not stupid. Stop the distruction of our country by the people of our government employees. Need to start repealing regulations and laws rather than making more that distroy us on step at a time.

  10. Citizen "Bill" says:

    What ever happened to the company in the Cleveland, OH area that manufactures incandescent light bulbs ? They are going to have to lay off 105 employees because they are going out of business. Oh well, that gives GE more business (Imelt is Obama's buddy), they go to China and have the new fancy bulb manufactured, then it is sent back to America and the price is 10 to 12 times more expensive (and you have to call in Hazmat if you break one), the excess monies go where ?
    It is true that when government gets involved ,,,,, THE EXACT RESULT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE STATED INTENT !!!
    Citizen "Bill"

  11. I am still mystified as why this guy is still in office??? I have read so much on Oboma's birthday certificate and so many are hollering about his being a so called citizen. Why is he able to pull the wool over every one's eyes and still hole the highest office in the land and not be made to prove his citizen ship.????? How did he get on the ballet in the first place with out official proving his citizen ship?????

  12. So sorry you have not been in a Church that teaches the Truth. I certainly would not lump all of them together along with commies. Haven't you been able to understand that the Communists hate the REAL churches, also. Sounds like, maybe you have some of those leanings, also. However, He loves you, even if you reject Him and hate Him. JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND NOW LIVES, after He died for you.

  13. Congress is the culprit! A bad tree (congress), cannot produce good fruit! Full of RINO's and Commies (dumbocrats), resulting from people walking into a voting booth withput a clue! These types of ignoramuses are bringing this country down, and they do not deserve to live in a blood purchased free country!

  14. What's the point of this article if bulb-misers are no longer available? This is in reply to the article, not Gene Poole as it was the first place I could enter a comment.

  15. It isn't just the light bulbs. Now it is our washing machines. No one will be able to find a top-loading, agitating, plunger-type washer soon. Now the law is front-loading washers or top-loading washers that do not have a plunger but rather spin like front-loading washers. And we are not allowed to have a warm rinse either….only cold water is available. At least we still have a warm wash available.

    I also just heard that a small toddler drowned in a top loading washer. Please make sure your washers are drained and the tops are down and perhaps with something heavy enough to keep a toddler in a home safe. A toddler can lean I to a top loading washer and lose balance and fall in without a way to get back out.

  16. Jim Park says:

    You're living in a dream world, if you think someone else can take responsibility for your sins, e.g. Jesus. Everybody can die for me, if they want to, but that doesn't absolve me from my own actions. It's a great con-job and it keeps people under a lot of control from the phony churches, though. And Jesus never said he was dying for anybody else's sins; he knew better, having spent his early years in India studying the Vedic Hymns, which he was preaching when people got to know him. And the Vedic hymns are 10,000 years old, not 2000. Gene Pool tells it like it is, but most people can't confront the real truth; too low of a responsibility level.

  17. we the people are not stupid, but their voteing record says otherwise!

  18. JudyM239 says:

    See http://newcandescent.com/ for a new American company that makes incandescent bulbs.

  19. I was wondering the same thing. What's the point ? Did the writer forget to tell where you could get them ?

  20. William 1 says:

    Not new been around for say 15 years????

  21. For those with an electrical/electronic background, simply placing a diode in series with the bulb will also provide longer life. The thermistor does have an advantage, though: After the warmup period, the lamp is near the full brilliance of a normal bulb. The diode in series will cause the bulb to burn at a lower brilliance so a 60 Watt bulb will be closer to a 40-50 Watt bulb. Also, the initial shock of applying the voltage is not like a thermistor but the cost of a 1-Amp diode is far less than a thermistor and the bulb will last about twice as long. Pros and cons…

  22. redd_dale says:

    Glen, I hear you. Our sheriff proved (Az) that his BC was a fraud. The lame stream media is to blame. Only a small percent of the media is fair. With that in mind they don't stand a chance againest the larger percentage. Another is voter fraud. Look at what the media has done in the Trayvon Martin case. Obama should be removed by the cops and taken straight to jail, no recall just straight to jail. I for one can not wait for Nov. to arrive. Only thing in the way of a fair election is, media, voter fraud and a canidate that does not quailifiy to run.

  23. Folks,
    There is another way, not as cheap but I have been using this idea for years and 100 watt bulbs or higher because of the heavier element. Just get a "Dimmer" and replace the switch, never turn the bulb totally off, (don't push the dimmer in, just turn the dimmer all the way down and don't turn it up and down in a hurry, Take a few seconds to turn it up and down, this will work and will extend bulb life at least 100 times). I am sorry the dimmers are about 10 to 12 bucks each but takes not real talent to install, directions comes with it. Do not connect a dimmer to a light involving a ceiling fan, you will burn the fan out. Hopes this helps others like it did me. It really does work.
    D. Eubanks

  24. Realrepublican says:

    William, I purchased 4 of them back in the seventies! They worked well for nearly 20 years. I sold my house and neglected to take them from the sockets. I could not find them again; darn! sure would like to though…..

  25. Joe Carson says:

    Wouldn't this turn the AC into pulsating DC? What would the effect on the filament be?

  26. Realrepublican says:

    Does anyone know where to obtain these mentioned, Thermistor inserts?

  27. The CFL bulb doesn't generate but the ballest unit DOES. Back in the 70's I saw 2 ballest unit blow a circuit breaker because it got RED HOT enough to glow through the metal covering. I used to buy diode discs FOR 3 @ $1.00. To this day I use diodes from RADIO SHACK& have ran 2 100 watt lights on my porch for the last 15 years. Diodes cut the power in half & let the lights last 8 times as long.

  28. Also CFLs do not work with TRIACs which are used in motion sensors & electronic timers

  29. shavager says:

    I thought the repeal to this legislation had been passed by Congress just a few months back? On Thursday December 15, 2011 Congress passed a 1200 page spending bill with the repeal of the incandescent light bulb ban in it, signed by Owebumbler. While it did NOT effectively REPEAL the 2007 law, it did BAN any funding of the repeal bill, so effectively the incandescent bulb BAN is NOT IN EFFECT NOW OR IN FORSEEABLE FUTURE. Vote for ANYBODY BUT OWEBUMBLER IN NOVEMBER–REPEAL THE HEALTHCARE, THE BULB BAN, HELL—THIS WILL BE THE VOTER'S OPPORTUNITY TO REPEAL OWEBUMBLER!!!

  30. It would be like turning the switch on & off 60 times per second—although the light does not actually blink it only runs at 50% of full power.—A 100 watt light puts out 1/2 the light & 1/2 the heat.

  31. I purchased 130 volt bulbs in 40 watt, 60, watt, 75 watt and 100 watt. I used one 100 watt buld from 1972 till 1993 and when I left it was still burning as needed.
    They absorbed the 120 volt shock with no problem each time it was cut on and off. It was in a bathroom where I worked. I went back 3 years later and it was still working. The same bulb was there when I went to work there. So I bought some for house and have many still in use.

  32. “Just like the churches”? Geez, gullible, braindead hysteric. What churches, when? Oh yeah, there aren’t any facts – just a friend of a friend of a friend told you once while you were smoking weed together… Typical.

  33. Jim and Gene… How do you even function with such brain damage?

  34. Wapitiman says:

    This goes beyond light bulbs. The so-called nanny state is intruding into our lives in an unprecedented rate. Unless somehow stopped these hubris-filled idiots in congress will have clipped away all our rights as free citizens. Little by little, inch by inch we are being cheated out of our God-given freedom! (The operative word here is: God-given).

  35. Scott Todd says:

    Motion sensors would do best with LED type lights since they can handle repeated on/off cycles better than any other.

  36. Scott Todd says:

    I've got one over my basement stairs that's been going strong for over five years. What brand are you using, and are they in an enclosed fixture? That more than anything will shorten their life.

  37. Gloria Wedemeyer says:

    I hate the new light bulbs. Is congress stupid or what. At least this is something we can't blame O for unless he voted this in in 2007 but I doubt it as he running around the country campaigning. In fact, if you look up his record on voting, it was very dismal

  38. I can attest to that. Diodes do cut the light output significantly. I installed diodes for all of my indoor incandescents, about 20 total. In 25-years, I replaced only two bulbs to burnout. I only removed them when we changed to different fixture designs. Most of the diodes are still good.

  39. They claim they put out more light but I seem to have trouble reading with them. I get migraine headaches from them. So I imagine that I will just be burning 10 15 watt bulbs instead of one 60 watt bulb eventually just so I can see what I am doing. And yes the florescent bulbs do give people migraines. I worked for 15 years with florescent lighting and the only time my headaches went away was when I was home where I didn't have florescent bulbs burning. Besides which I detest the government telling me what I can and cannot buy whether it's light bulbs or insurance.


  41. Hey NoCrud, Because I can no longer find the inserts, I use Dimmer Switches. We turn on the switch and SLOWLY increase the volume. We have them in every room, including my Studio and rarely have to replace the bulbs. Thought you might want to know this. In addition, I did them all around 10 years ago, when they ALL were made in America! I have noticed they are made in, (guess where?) CHINA!!! Teke care sir, and, God bless America!

  42. It's time for a U.S. Black Market. For light bulbs, for ammo, for raw milk, other foods, and for buying or selling without "sale tax".
    Now that the greedy, going-bankrupt States are finding ways to collect sales tax on everything from online sales to garage sales and flea markets, it's only a matter of time before that big, bloated hog,the Feral Gummint, gets in on the act. If they get a National Sales Tax, it will be in addition to, not in place of, income or other taxes.

  43. jim shipley says:

    Cfls can't be dimmed, they make a high pitched buzz that gives me headaches. I don't want congress to tell me what to buy.

  44. KansasKahuna says:

    GPM…You left out that below a certain temperature (in unheated garages, i.e.,) they fail to light, or will not work properly!..KK

  45. CFL's look terrible in fixtures where the bulb is exposed. Can you imagine a crystal chandelier with CFL bulbs. I bet the Whitehouse chandeliers do not have CFL's. They also will eat your lamp shades if left on for an indeterminable period. Lamp shades are not cheap!

  46. Are you kidding?? Obama's gang says, "We don't need no steenking constitution!!!"

  47. I am not advocating the government has the right to make us buy ANYTHING, They don't !
    I really wasn't aware of all the medical consequences that could be gotten from them.

  48. Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my site so i got here to return the want?.I’m trying to to find things to enhance my web site!I guess its adequate to use a few of your ideas!!