February 7, 2014
MIDTERM based on SCOT approach to the Who Killed the Electric Car?
The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting
• The bicycle study was a vehicle to introduce a series of concepts, step-by-step—these
steps were integrated to a larger framework with the Bakelite study.
• Fluorescent lighting study shows Bijker’s model in its fullness and revisits the issue of
the social impact of technology, as well as introducing power relations
o Takes on the notion of technological trajectory, part of technological
Negates the possibility of this trajectory, saying there is nothing natural
about the way technology develops over time.
FL took place during commercial release of this lamp, which was
developed by managers, not inventors.
o Explains why we used high-intensity and not high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs.
High-efficiency lighting suppressed for high-intensity due to a conspiracy
of the utilities.
• Short history of the light bulb;
o Incandescent light bulb; electricity that is created by a heated filament, defined
as glowing with intense heat. About 95% of the electricity supplied is converted to
heat, not light, making this form of lighting inefficient—especially in a world of
LED lights and Fluorescent bulbs are both viable alternatives, though
Fluorescents are preferred, requiring only 1/5 of the energy and lasting
FB already dominate industrial market and currently expanding into the
Edison created incandescent light technology, seeing the artifact as a
larger part of electricity production and distribution.
• GE was the offspring of a merge between Edison and electric
o GE had a situation of quasi-monopoly over electrical technology (90% control) Class A license; gave license to produce a certain output as well as
usage of the Mazda license that GE fostered—given only to
Westinghouse, which along with GE was known as the Mazda
• Mazda was named after Ahura-Mazda, the chief god Zoroastrians
of and god of wisdom and light.
o Fluorescent lamp;
Several inventors, including Edison, explored the use of fluorescent
materials but without progress.
Speed was important as there were European competition, as well as
other American companies like Sylvania.
In 1938, fluorescent lamp released by GE, marketed as the fluorescent
tint lighting lamp.
• Aimed at tint/color lighting market.
• Also much more efficient than incandescent, which GE realized
could create efficient daylight lamps.
o 6 months after released efficiency lamp.
Utilities were worried that high-efficiency lamps
would slash electricity consumption and they would
lose 50% in annual profit.
Lighting market controlled by lamp manufacturers
• Utilities promoted Mazda lamps, while
Mazda lamps would produce high-
o Utilities refused to have fluorescent