Q&A: Edison Lights

Today’s lighting fixtures range from practical recessed lamps to beautifully illuminated works of art. But it all started with the bulb, the Edison bulb to be more exact. Named after Thomas Edison, inventor of the incandescent bulb, the Edison light is a nostalgic nod to the design aesthetics of the original 1879 lamp. Ferguson Lighting Specialist Stefanie Stroud shares the emergence of this lighting trend and how to incorporate the bulb into many lighting plans.

Tech Lighting_Beacon_pendant fixture in amber
Tech Lighting Beacon pendant in amber

What makes an Edison bulb unique?
A. It’s all about admiring the beauty and glow of the filament, the wire element inside the bulb. While you can see the filament in a clear incandescent light bulb, you also see a lot of glare. An Edison bulb has a lower Kelvin temperature (1800K – 2400K), than an incandescent bulb (2700K). This low light temperature emits a soft glare, allowing you to focus on the amber glow of the filament. Today’s bulbs are also more interesting with a wide variety of shapes and filament designs.

When did Edison style lighting become popular?
The trend started about eight years ago, as designers and homeowners became fascinated with the nostalgic look of the bulb. As interest grew, manufactures began creating lighting fixtures to prominently showcase the beauty of the bulb.

Satco_A19_LED Filament Bulb
Satco A19 LED filament bulb

What are some alternatives to the traditional incandescent Edison bulb?
A. LED Edison bulbs are growing in popularity. They provide the same vintage look of the incandescent bulbs, but they consume less energy and have a low heat output.

Where could you use an Edison light bulb in the home?
A. The Edison bulb can work in many different designs – whether it’s a modern eclectic look – a rustic farmhouse vibe – or a streamlined transitional design.  One great application of the Edison bulb is in a foyer, clustered together. The bulb also looks stunning in a simple single ring chandelier over a dining table. Clear glass pendants over a kitchen island also seems to be a popular choice. The only location to steer clear of using these bulbs is in a main bathroom. Since the color of the bulb is more amber, it is not the best light for applying makeup or shaving. Stick with a regular incandescent bulb or better yet, an LED.