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The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting

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Stephan Larose

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 determinism.  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 limited resources.  LED lights and Fluorescent bulbs are both viable alternatives, though Fluorescents are preferred, requiring only 1/5 of the energy and lasting 20X longer.  FB already dominate industrial market and currently expanding into the domestic market.  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 company. 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 Companies. • 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 and utilities. • Utilities promoted Mazda lamps, while Mazda lamps would produce high- consumption lamps. o Utilities refused to have fluorescent
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