Canada Science and Technology Museum
Ontario Hydro acquired this artifact for its Museum of Electrical Progress in the late 1960s, transferring it to the national collection in 1992.
The design of the incandescent unit was based on a principal assumption that heated conductors placed in a high vacuum emit light. Enclosed in a glass globe, conductors did not use oxygen to produce light; incandescent lamps were therefore safer and cleaner than arc lamps. The first incandescent bulbs, like this one, were composed of a carbon filament, a glass stem, and a Thomson–Houston metal base that fitted tightly in a socket. This bulb had an output equivalent to 16 candles, or 50 watts.
For residential use, incandescent light bulbs were more suitable than arc lighting. Arc lamps were simply too large and gave too much light. The incandescent system illuminated small, closed places better and allowed precise control over the distribution of light. In addition, since the filament was resistant and had a low rate of evaporation, incandescent lamps lasted longer than arc lamps.