Without light, we'd spend 10-12 hours a day unable to function (by modern standards at least). And sure, we've always had fire and candles, but it wasn't until the advent of electricity, and then the lightbulb, that man conquered the dark once and for all.
That's we went and dug up nine of our favorite bulb designs past and present. And we're not talking bulbs in the generic sense. We mean honest-to-goodness, spherically-shaped, filament-packing, glass objects. Ready? Good. Let's go.
Where else could one possibly start than with the original? The one that started it all. The one that first glowed on New Year's Eve in 1879. The one that jumpstarted the innovations found in so much of our technology today. No words could properly do justice to the Edison lightbulb's historical significance. [PHOTO]
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the LED, which shares little in common with the lightbulb as far as basic design goes. But in creating a light for the home, Panasonic merged the forward-leaning technology of the LED with the traditional design of the incandescent bulb to produce this: an object that is at once cutting-edge and familiar. [PHOTO]
For the most part, the traditional lightbulb form is unnecessary when dealing with anything except incandescents. We continue to use it because it's what we know. Somewhat aware of that fact, this bulb designed by Ryosuke Fukusada crams a bunch of LEDs inside a wooden shell, reminding us that form is not always function. [PHOTO]
I can imagine that when Sylvania unveiled the world's smallest incandescent bulb in 1959, a lot of nerds—nerds wearing actual pocket protectors—lost their shit. A fraction of the size of the penny, the Sylvania touted the ability to pass the lamp through the eye of a needle. We might shrug now, but something tells me it was a big deal back then. [PHOTO]
As something of a counterpart to the tiny lightbulb are giant industrial bulbs; the kinds found in warehouses and gymnasiums. Often the size of footballs, their guts are blown up to comical proportions, but proportions that allow you to really appreciate the inner workings of a bulb. [PHOTO]
It's hard to convince anyone in the 21st century that a lightbulb is cool or lustworthy. But when designer Kaws rolled out these lightbulbs a few years ago, I think he did exactly that. [PHOTO]
Given that this bulb was turned into a design piece, it's hard to tell exactly who manufactured it, but it likely came into existence as a 10,000-watt industrial bulb during the 1930s. It's really all about the filaments with this one. [PHOTO]
Here's another lamp that's bulb-shaped just because, but this one has a built in Wi-Fi chip that will allow you to control it from your smartphone. Where, exactly, do I sign up? [PHOTO]
Look, I know I said something about only including things enclosed in bulbs and/or packing a filament, but LOOK at this thing! It's the only time ever, in the history of CFLs, that anyone will want one for reasons other than energy conservation. [PHOTO]
Top Image via National Museum of American History