Electronic Halarc Lamp

Electronic Halarc Lamp

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Description (Brief)
The Halarc lamp was an attempt by General Electric to produce an energy-efficient replacement for the common, incandescent A-lamp. While other makers focused on developing reliable compact fluorescent lamps, GE decided to miniaturize its metal halide technology. Already successful for street lighting, large metal halide lamps provided good color and excellent energy efficiency. Unfortunately the miniaturized lamps had undesirable performance characteristics such as taking several minutes to come to full-power and changing color emissions. These issues combined with high cost made the lamp a commercial failure.
Object Name
discharge lamp
date made
ca 1981
Physical Description
glass (part material)
tungsten (part material)
brass (part material)
quartz (part material)
plastic (part material)
lamp: 5 1/2 in x 2 5/8 in; 13.97 cm x 6.6675 cm
package: 7 in x 5 in x 3 in; 17.78 cm x 12.7 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from General Electric Lighting Co., thru Terry McGowan
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Work and Industry: Electricity
American Enterprise
Energy & Power
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I managed a group of engineers that worked on the electronic controls and igniter system for this project. It was the successor project to Project100, a solenoidal electric field lamp that was eventually not pursued past early engineering stages due to the inability to achieve cost projections. Halarc was positioned as a much less expensive product since it was ‘simpler’ in concept, but that proved to have its own challenges and cost problems once engineering and pilot production began. Halarc eventually made it to market testing at two price points, $10 and $15. Neither were acceptable to the market at the time given performance issues and neither could be profitable given production costs needed to achieve economy of scale. Eventually, electroded compact fluorescent lamps CFLs met with some success for a period of years until LED technology proved to be a far superior technology. It is easy to make the mistake that these progressions were simple. They were not. And, behind the scenes there was much competition as well as internal politics as groups competed to push their ideas and projects. Just like most technologies now take for granted. However, the details of most of these developments in various global companies has never been published.
I worked at Edison Park in Twinsburg undet W.H. who headed the Halarc Lamp development.

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