How Has Lighting Changed Our Lives?
To celebrate Summer Solstice this year, let’s take a look at how lighting has changed our lives.
It’s June 21st – the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. After today, the days grow shorter as we roll through the fall and into winter.
If you stop and think about it, though, you’ll realize summer has barely started.
The thought of shorter days and losing sunlight can get you down in the dumps, but with the huge advances in lighting technology, we’re never truly in the dark.
With daylight on our minds, let’s take a look at how lighting has changed our lives.
We No Longer Rely on Candlelight
Evidence suggests that both the ancient Egyptians and the Romans used candles. These basic candles were reeds soaked in animal fat or rolls of papyrus dipped in melted tallow. People made candles in the Middle Ages by soaking rushes with animal fat.
In previous centuries, these cheap rushlights only lasted for twenty minutes. The duration of the light even became a unit of time. Imagine saving all your small, complex tasks for one twenty-minute period.
Lighting each end of the candle gave more light, but used up the candle twice as fast. Hence the phrase “burning the candle at both ends.”
Only the wealthy could afford beeswax candles, which gave better light for longer. The reliance on candlelight explains the fashion for gilt mirrors in upper-class homes. Reflecting the available light made the rooms seem brighter.
Oil lamps replaced candles in the late 18th century before gas lamps appeared in the mid-19th century. While gas provided more steady lighting, they also led to an increase in home explosions. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the electric light bulb became widely adopted. While many of us still light our homes with incandescent bulbs, LED lights are becoming more common.
Better Lighting Offers a Range of Benefits
We’re no longer tied to the short lifetime of a candle to complete complex tasks. Affordable lighting lets us be active when it suits us – even if it’s 3am on a dark December night. We can entertain guests or pursue hobbies whenever we like.
Improved lighting has bought us more time awake. This extra time allows for ingenuity and industry to flourish and evolve. Combined with better machinery and science, the 19th and 20th centuries saw a range of inventions across medicine, construction and transport that couldn’t have happened without improved lighting.
Bringing electric light to the streets made them much safer, both for drivers and pedestrians. Some outdoor lighting is now world famous, such as Times Square in New York, the lighting display at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or London’s Piccadilly Circus.
Home Lighting Is Much Easier to Control in the 21st Century
The Philips Hue system aims to improve our relationship with lighting. Users can choose from bulbs, light strips or lamps, all connected wirelessly. The bulbs screw into your existing fittings while the light strips just need a power source.
Three types of smart lights provide a customizable lighting experience. Hue White offers easy control and improves comfort levels. Hue White & Ambiance offers a softer light ranging from warm white to cool daylight. Or you can try Hue White and Color Ambiance to change the color of the lighting in your home.
Both of the Ambiance lighting systems let you wake up naturally using the change in lighting color. Studies have shown that using lighting to simulate dawn leads to an easier transition from sleep to wakefulness. It also makes it difficult to roll over and go back to sleep.
You can even sync the lights to music, television shows or games to provide a more immersive experience. Automate your lights to switch on and off while you’re on vacation to give the impression someone is home.
If you didn’t already guess, we’re huge fans of Hue lighting!
And if you’re looking for an easy way to begin transforming your home into a smart home, there’s no better place to start.
Install the Hue bridge and control the lighting through your whole house using your smartphone. The SURE Universal remote app makes it easy to manage all of your smart devices – including your lighting – from one place
It’s a far cry from twenty-minute rushlights and a house full of mirrors.
Over to you – what are the benefits you see from better lighting?