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Two nations seperated by a common light bulb

Two nations seperated by a common light bulb

Over here in the antiquated sometimes-backward UK, we have a simple system for lighting up a room. In the middle of a room lies a lightbulb fitting, to which you fit your lightbulb. Connected to said fitting is a switch by the door – so that when you go in the room in the dark, you can flick the switch, and lo, there is light. Simple. Easy. It works.

It was obviously engineered to ensure you could walk into a room with light. So why do all the American apartments I’ve walked into seem to flout this basic piece of design common-sense? I can’t count how many times I’ve walked into a room in an American apartment, thoughtlessly flicked the switch on the door, and instead the tv / video / stereo / computer has flicked off, leaving a rather angry person in the room just when I’m trying to ingratiate myself on the people who have offered to show me their house.

Instead, there’s usually only one light source. Some tiny tiny lamp to the side of the room. And tiny tiny windows, so you can’t take advantage of the huge sunlight opportunities by being in a vast open space.

The only conclusion I can come to is that American eyes are just incredibly sensitive to light. Nothing else explains the sometimes pathological determination to minimize the amount of light in a room. Either that or it’s a huge design flaw that has escaped the attention of the best minds in America over the last 50-100 years.

Scary thought: do a search for lightbulbs UK in Google, and see how many small adverts for light bulbs pop up. It’s almost enough to make you think you need to start a blog on lightbulbs to get all that Google Ads traffic…

1 Comment

  • I do not like how some switches are hooked up to the electricity in the entire room. Our switch in the bedroom is like that. So people visiting have turned it off by mistake. Then there's a switch by the front door that has no purpose that we are aware of. That annoys me too.

    Another thing I don't understand is that in the New England area, there are switches outside the door so when you walk into a room, the light will be on. But in the rest of the U.S., the switches are inside the room, so you have to fumble around the wall trying to turn on the light.

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