Lighting Design.

Essay by renee02venetisUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2005

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People have always lit their homes. Candles and oil lamps are a few of the devices used to light homes in previous centuries. Today, however, artificial lighting almost exclusively means electrical light. In little over a century, we have become so accustomed to its brightness, convenience, and practicality that it is almost impossible to create any interior space without it.

When the celebrated American inventor, Thomas Edison, patented his incandescent light bulb in 1879, the electric age had well and truly arrived. Edison was not the first to come up with the idea of electric light, nor was his bulb the first patented design, but he was solely responsible for making this inspirational and revolutionary invention a successful and practical product. It might almost be true to say that Edison created a demand for electricity itself, by creating an electrical product that everyone suddenly wanted. It is small wonder that the light bulb has since come to symbolize the quintessential "bright idea."

With the arrival of electricity, domestic life soon became much more comfortable and convenient. The light bulb rapidly transformed to other forms of artificial lighting, and by the early decades of the twentieth century, electric lighting was already an established feature in many homes. Its numerous advantages over other forms of artificial lighting were readily apparent. Electric light was much safer than burning animal fat, wax, oil, or gas indoors; it was easier to operate and instantly responsive to the flick of a switch; and, above all, it was clean. Over a century later it is difficult to appreciate just how dingy and dirty the old forms of artificial lighting (and heating) could be. Walls and ceilings, continually discolored by fumes from gas jets and smut from candles, had either to be decorated in such a way...