Everything comes back into fashion eventually, and filament light bulbs are no different. If you’ve been to a bar, restaurant, hotel lounge or swanky fashion boutique recently, you’ve probably seen bare filament LED bulbs hanging from the ceiling, recreating the vintage retro look of old-fashioned tungsten or carbon filament bulbs.
The sparse, classical look of filament bulbs is now firmly in vogue, even entering the realms of industrial Steampunk fashion, but filament bulbs have had a rough ride back into the mainstream.
Vintage filament bulbs never really went away, but by the 1990s, they were discarded for being energy-inefficient and costly. However, the LED lighting revolution has now brought them up to date with more efficient designs and at a much lower cost than their traditional counterparts. Around 80% of electrical energy is lost through the heating process, whereas LEDs use semiconductor chips to achieve the same illumination levels at around a quarter of the energy expenditure.
Retro Lights Back in Fashion
The most common style of these filament LED lamps is the “retro” style – clear glass lamps which display the filament inside. They can come in many shapes and sizes, including flame-tip chandeliers and candle bulbs.
What’s more, the filament inside the bulb can be shaped in whatever way you want, to create exactly the kind of effect you want. It can be twisted, looped, spiked, or just kept straight, giving you lots more creativity than other styles of bulbs. They also come in dimmable versions for extra control and creative conceptuality.
The new generation of filament LED bulbs aren’t just an energy-efficient style of retro lighting for hotels, bars and homes, they are also a design focal point in themselves. Many interior designers are now combining these bulbs with industrial-style pendants and ceiling arrays to recreate a timeless and classic lighting effect.
The first generation of filament LED lamps was first launched in 2008, with the aim of preserving the look of the classic Edison light bulb. However, due to poor heat dissipation, the product did not gain mass market uptake.
The next step was to use a single large LED chip or chip matrix, with the addition of large heat sinks to combat the heat dissipation issue. But these bulky heat sinks impacted on the light dissipation (or flux geometry) of the bulbs themselves.
It wasn’t until 2014 when advances in technology and manufacturing meant that the new generation of filament LED bulbs could be made without large heat sinks and configured for 360-degree omnidirectional light – perfectly emulating their incandescent predecessors and at a much lower cost.
So how do these stylish lights recreate the look of old-style filament bulbs? The new wave of filament lamps use several tiny LED chips mounted on a transparent substrate instead of a metal substrate, known as “Chip on Glass”. This allows the light to be dispersed evenly without any interference. The LED filament is then enclosed in a silicone and phosphor resin that transforms blue light into white light. The end result is less heat, better colour temperatures, better efficacies and more stylish and sleek designs with no need for a heat sink.
You can find a wide range of filament LED bulbs in stock here at Simple Lighting to suit your interior design ideas.