Modular Compact Fluorescent Lamp

After decades of constant decline, the cost of electricity in the U.S. began to rise beginning in the 1960s. The change occurred for many reasons, one of which was continually growing demand for electric power. During the 1980s electric utilities that had traditionally concerned themselves with managing the supply of power began adopting so-called Demand Side Management programs (DSM). The idea centered on encouraging the use of special pricing and greater energy efficiency to slow the need for new power plants and transmission lines.
While many DSM programs focused on commercial and industrial power users, some targeted residential consumers. One popular program involved utilities' swapping regular incandescent lamps for new, energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The participating utility purchased a large quantity of CFLs from a lamp maker at a discount and then provided the lamps to consumers at a reduced price, or sometimes for free. Some governments provided subsidies to help cover the costs.
Bulb-swaps introduced many people to energy-efficient CFLs. They also provided a market demand during the early years of CFL production when lamp makers were still paying for the new production lines needed to make the new lamps. As more lamps were produced, prices began to decline. This "Super Q'Lite" modular lamp from Lights Of America was offered by Washington, DC utility PEPCO in 1994 as part of a DSM program. Using only 27 watts, it replaced a regular lamp that used 100 watts.
Lamp characteristics: A modular compact fluorescent lamp with two parts—a tube assembly and a base-unit. The original package and coupon book were collected with this lamp. The tube assembly consists of a four-tube glass structure with two electrodes, mercury and an internal phosphor coating. Plug-in style base. The base-unit has a medium-screw shell and houses the ballast and starter equipment. A receptacle on top accepts the plug-in base of the tube assembly.
Object Name
fluorescent lamp
discharge lamp
date made
ca. 1992
Date made
ca 1992
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
glass (overall material)
mercury (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 8 1/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 20.955 cm x 6.985 cm
Place Made
United States: California, Walnut
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Energy & Power
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Potomac Electric Power Company
Manclark, Bruce. Of Sockets, Housecalls, and Hardware
similar type referenced
Polsby, Emily. Putting Energy-Efficient Lighting in Its Place
Trombly, Jeanne. Mixed Results from Traer's Light Bulb Retrofit
Related Publication
Lighting A Revolution
Publication URL
Additional Media

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