Monday, May 28, 2007


In a New Yorker article about Richard Branson (May 15), it's reported that the average American home has 45 (incandescent?) light bulbs. Here's a tally for us: living room, 11 (5 in original ceiling fixture, 1 a reflector); dining room, 4 (3 in original ceiling fixture, one halogen); pantry, 1 (bare, in original fixture); fan room, 8 (1 bare in Zelco Eddie lamp, 5 in twisty-armed pole lamp, 1 halogen, 1 in ceiling fan); fan-room closet, 1 (bare, in original fixture); kitchen, 2 (1 is a compact flourescent and it's dim and unlikeable, but we hope it lasts a long time, because it's tough to get up that high); sleeping porch, 1 (original ceiling fixture); pink study, 2 (in original ceiling fixture); interior hallway, 1 (in original ceiling fixture); bathroom, 2 (1 tube flourescent, 1 globe); boys' room, 2 (in original ceiling fixture); stair-hall, 1 (bare, in original ceiling fixture); upstairs, 3 (1 in ceiling fan, 1 halogen, 1 bare and in original wall fixture); side porch, 1 (a globe); and, finally, in outdoor fixtures, 4, very seldom used. This should have been done in columnar form, but I make the total out to be 44 (or, if halogen and flourescents are subtracted, there are fewer). Every time I try this tally, the result is different, but this household seems to be about average. The house is more windows than walls. So long as there's daylight, one room or another is excellent for reading. I very much dislike flourescent light and my workspaces, when indoors, have always enjoyed natural light (and nearly always real windows that admit fresh air). I'm one of those conscious of the spectrum, the on-and-off flickering, the noise, and whatever it is that makes flourescent lighting tough on the eyes. Rather than use them, should incandescent bulbs ever be outlawed, I'd gladly return to the friendly yellow light emitted by lamps using kerosene.


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