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Promoting 20th Century Lamps:

Bracketed information [xxx] does not appear on the label.

[SL23 - Section #3 introduction label]

Step 3: Promotion

"It's one thing to develop a product, but somehow you've got to market it. We develop products now with specific market applications in sight."
William Roche, engineer, OSRAM SYLVANIA, 1996

Most of Edison's inventions were also aimed at particular markets. He knew that products had to be promoted. And, as he found out, sometimes even the best promotion couldn't guarantee success.

[CL24- information label]

A hundred years after Edison, fairs and trade shows continue to play a role in the introduction of new products (D). Both tungsten-halogen and metal-halide lamps were introduced to the public at the 1964 New York World s Fair. As seen on the cover of Life, national capitals were marked by tungsten-halogen lamps on the Unisphere. (A)

Large public demonstrations, like relighting the Statue of Liberty (B), also give makers an opportunity to show their product. Lamp 2, below (in three pieces) is similar to the lamps Philips used to light Big Ben in 1995.(C)

Advertising, however, has become increasingly important with the development of mass media.

Webnote 8-1
[promotion information]

[L25.1 - credit label]


  1. Compact fluorescent-shaped key-chain fobs, 1996 [1997.0389.23.01], from Philips Lighting Co.
  2. Philips 55 watt "QL" electrodeless lamp, 1996 [1997.0389.41], from Philips Lighting Co.
  3. Rebate coupons for compact fluorescent lamps, 1994, from Potomac Electric Power Co.


  1. Unisphere at the 1964 New York World's Fair, 1964, from the cover of Life
  2. Statue of Liberty after relamping, 1986, from General Electric Lighting Co.
  3. Big Ben lighted by "QL" lamps, 1995, from the cover of a Philips catalog
  4. Trade-show newspaper, 1995, from OSRAM SYLVANIA INC.
  5. Information catalog for "GreenLights" program, 1996, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  6. Retail point-of-purchase sign for rebate program, 1994, from Potomac Electric Power Co.

[L26.1 - information label]

The Halarc Adventure

"All of a sudden it was a big project and we had all kinds of meetings and inventions-of-the-week and, ah, just terrible."
Elmer Fridrich, former GE engineer, 1996

"It was a disaster."
Gilbert Reiling, former GE engineer, 1996

GE's metal halide lamp was being used successfully for high-intensity outdoor lighting at the time of the energy crisis of 1973 so they decided to develop a low- intensity version for home use. But there were a lot of technical problems. By the time the Electronic Halarc lamp was introduced in 1981, some, but not all, of the difficulties had been solved. It still had a warm-up time of about three minutes; it came in only one size; and it cost about $15. Equally important, public concern about conserving energy had abated. GE spent millions of dollars on promotion. The lamp was no longer available three years later.

But as Edison often said, failure is part of the learning process. GE applied the knowledge gained from the Electronic Halarc project to later products such as compact fluorescent lamps.

Webnote 8-2
[Halarc information]

[L25.2 - credit label]

"This was the first electric light to be sold with an instruction manual."
Lee Anderson, Lighting Program Manager, Department of Energy, 1996

The Electronic Halarc was a complex technology, as you can see in the different developmental stages shown here.


  1. Owner's manual for Electronic Halarc lamp, about1982 [1996.0084.02], from Gilbert H. Reiling
  2. Experimental Electronic Halarc bulb, about 1980 [1998.0050.06], from the General Electric Corporate Research & Development Lab
  3. Pre-production "First Light" Electronic Halarc lamp, about 1981 [1996.0080.01], from Ernest C. Martt
  4. Production "Miser-MaxiLight" Electronic Halarc lamp, about 1982 [1996.0084.02], from Gilbert H. Reiling
  5. Press-kit folder for Electronic Halarc, 1980, from the U.S. Dept. of Energy
  6. Press release printed on special letterhead, 1980, from the US Dept. of Energy, ©General Electric


  1. Structure of the Electronic Halarc lamp, 1980, from the US Dept. of Energy, ©General Electric

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