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The life and death of a faithful friend.

Posted by Chris Thompson on 3rd September 2009

The Government has this month begun a “voluntary phase out” of 100 watt light bulbs in major stores, claiming it could slash carbon emissions by around five million tonnes a year.  

Britain has also signed up to a separate EU proposal which will see all traditional bulbs banned by 2016.  

It is only fitting that we at Trade Skills 4U write this eulogy and share with you the life and times of the humble incandescent lamp.

I’m not one to cast aspersions on the moral integrity of its mother, but many men were involved in the conception of the humble incandescent lamp.   

1809. Englishman, Humphrey Davy created the first electric arc lamp using two strips of charcoal and high powered battery.  

1820. Warren De la Rue made the first known attempt at producing an incandescent light bulb. He enclosed a platinum coil in an evacuated tube and passed an electric current through it.  

1840. Englishman, William Robert Grove succeeded in lighting an auditorium with incandescent lamps. The lamps were constructed of platinum coils encased in an inverted glass sealed by water. The platinum coils proved two expensive and the idea was impractical for commercial use.  

1841. Frederik de Moleyns, received the first patent for an incandescent lamp. The design involved mounting a powdered charcoal filament between two platinum wires in a glass bulb under vacuum.  

1845. American, W.E. Staite patented a second incandescent electric lamp in England. Thomas Wright obtained the first patent for the arc lamp.  

1846. John Daper patented a platinum filament incandescent lamp. This allowed the filament to operate at higher temperatures and thus produce more light. The high cost and scarcity of platinum made this design impractical for commercial use.  

1850. English scientist, Edward G. Shepherd made an incandescent lamp using a charcoal filament. Joseph Wilson swan, started work on carbon filaments using paper. Carbon filaments provided a low cost and practical filament material for the time.  

1854. A German watchmaker, Heinrich Gobel, who had emigrated to New York, used carbonized bamboo as a filament and secured this inside a glass container as his incandescent lamp.  

1856. C de Chagny, a French engineer, patented an incandescent lamp for use in mines that contained a platinum filament. 

1860. John T. Way demonstrated that passing electricity through mercury vapour contained in a glass tube could produce light. This was the forerunner of the fluorescent light.

1879. The incandescent lamp is born but there is some doubt as to who the father is. Both Thomas A. Edison of the United States and Joseph Wilson Swan of England claim paternity.    

Edison had the greater claim as his carbon fibre, derived from cotton, filament lamp lasted for 13.5 hours. Later this is improved to 40 hours.

1880. Edison produces a carbon fibre filament that enables his new lamps to last for 1200 hours.     

1893. Heinrich Gobel, successfully brought a paternity suit against Thomas A. Edison and was named as the father of the incandescent lamp.     

1898. German Scientist, Karl Auer produces osmium filaments which  had increased lifetimes.  

1902. Light bulbs with osmium filaments are produced commercially. This  success is short lived due to the high cost of the lamps.  

1903. Siemens and Halske of Charlottenburg produced tantalum filament  bulbs.  

1904. Willis R. Whitnew developed a metal coated carbon filament.       

1906. General Electric Company patented a method of making tungsten filaments for incandescent lamps. The filament as we know it came to be.  

1907.  The first commercial tungsten filament for incandescent lamps became available in the United States.  

1910. American, William D. Coolidge developed an improved method to produce tungsten filaments.  

1925. Incandescent lamps with frosted glass interiors, to filter out undesirable wavelengths and produce a ‘soft’ light, were produced. The future was looking bright for the incandescent lamp.   

1960. Halogen filled incandescent lamps were produced, giving a brighter light.          

1976.  The Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) was invented by Edward E Hammer. This black sheep of the family is hidden away from polite society by General Electric.   

1995. Despite the efforts of GE to hide him away and protect us all from the evil one, CFL is seen in public and gains support from other manufactures as well as conservationists. The end is neigh my friend.   

So It is with a sad heart that we have to announce that on September 1st, 2009 after a long life of selfless service to the public, the 100W incandescent lamp passed away. It was not through some heroic act on its part but rather through the stroke of a pen and at the hands of politicians and Eurocrats that this most noble of items finally met its end.   

It shall remain in memoriam in thousands of cupboards, in thousands of homes. May you forever rest in peace my old friend, no longer will you brighten our dark days with your warm, friendly glow, beaming out from amidst life’s gloom. No longer will we be able to flick a switch and instantly have a light bright enough to lighten the darkest room. No longer will I be able to turn you down to a more romantic level or up to a level that illuminates every dark corner and recess.  Goodbye my old friend the end has finally come.   

Categories: electrician training

Microgeneration, the opportunities for electrical contractors

Posted by Chris Thompson on 1st September 2009

Though the Microgeneration industry is appears on hold at the moment, certainly from the Spring of 2010 it will be very much back on the agenda. 

Stimulated by cost savings of energy, a willingness of consumers to do their bit for the planet and available funding from the government to the householder, electrical contractors that position themselves early to take advantage of this growing industry will most definitely benefit in the long run.

What is Mircrogeneration?    

The official definition of microgeneration is in The Energy Act 2004, Section 82. Essentially microgeneration is the generation of energy of up to 45 kW (heat) or up to 50kW (electricity). The term “microgeneration” is not restricted to energy generated only from renewable sources. It also covers low and zero carbon technologies. The technologies involve the generation of electricity or heat and in some cases both, which is referred to as cogeneration.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

Wind Turbines

Micro Hydro

Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

Fuel Cells

Solar Heating

Heat Pumps (Ground, Air or Water Source)

Biomass Heating

Buildings account for 47% of carbon emissions in the UK, so microgeneration has the potential to contribute to UK’s challenging EU 2020 renewables and greenhouse gas targets by generating some energy from secure and reliable smallscale installations. The government has committed itself to targets it must achieve.

Yes it is, Tradeskills4U is well positioned in the electrical training industry and able to talk with many stakeholders, your customers, existing  contractors, training bodies, local government representatives, large industrial electrical companies . All see that electricity and especially the mircogeneration industry is the future in no way a passing phase. It enables the average person to get involved, in some form over the coming years millions of households will have some form of mirco generation or renewable energy source. A move towards Nuclear power means that the electrical industry will be at the forefront of energy provision for certainly our lifetime, and therefore a consistent and renewing market. Electric cars with roadside charge electrical points,  PV panels, Wind turbines, and all the subsequent electrical installation work involved for the correctly trained and qualified contractor.   I call that an opportunity!  Needless to say Tradeskills4U will be involved providing course are qualifications, coming online in January 2010.

Categories: renewable energy, mcs accreditation

Elecsa Second Largest Part P Provider in UK

Posted by Chris Thompson on 1st September 2009






Part P for Bright Sparks

ELECSA the Part P scheme provider now has almost 6000 approved electrical contractors making it the second largest Part P provider in the UK. 

Wholly owned by the ECA (electrical contractors association) they boast a friendly and simple approach to Part P. 

Certainly as far as Tradeskills4U is concerned ELECSA is the go to Part P scheme provider for new entrants to the Electrical industry. 

Our feedback from hundreds of  newly qualified Part P registered electrical contractors who have gained their Domestic Installers qualifications with Tradeskills4U is that ELECSA is very approachable and open to new entrants to the Electrical industry and unlike some other Part P Scheme providers don’t make them go through further unnecessary and costly courses to gain their Part P status. 

Whilst Tradeskills4U don’t favour any particular Part P scheme provider, certainly ELECSA have a good reputation amongst the jobbing electrical contractors who use the Part P certification scheme on a daily basis. 

When considering which part p scheme provider to register with see the helpful pointers below. 

Do they have ? Ask other electrical contractors ! 

Approachable and supportive assessors.

Quality technical advice and support and is it free?

Customer warranties available at no cost to you the contractor.

Strightfoward jod notification system.

Flexible payment options


EC Certification Ltd 0845 634 9043


NICEIC Group Ltd 08700130 382


British Standards Instition 01442 278 577


Napit Registration Ltd 0870 444 1392 or 01623 811 483

Categories: electrician training