Types of Light Bulbs Used in Antique Lamps

We all dread shopping for certain household items, but light bulbs shouldn't be one of them. When you purchase an antique lamp from an antique store, flea market, or estate sale, it may come fully intact or without any hardware at all. Choosing the right light bulb is an important task of restoring any old lamp, but deciding which type of bulb is the best can be difficult. Luckily, Antique Lamp Supply has more than 60 years of experience in the lighting industry, and we serve as a terrific source of information on the subject. In this guide, we review the types of light bulbs used in antique lamps, so you can determine which style you like the best for your unique light fixture.

Types of Light Bulbs Used in Antique Lamps

There are several types of bulbs you can use in your old-fashioned lamp. Join us as we explore the advantages and disadvantages of CFL, halogen, incandescent, and LED light bulbs.

  • Compact Fluorescent: Looking for a twist on traditional fluorescent technology? CF or CFL light bulbs emit light from a mixture of phosphors that are contained inside the body of the bulb. CFL bulbs are designed to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, except that they use only one-fifth to one-third of the energy and last eight to 15 times longer. CFL bulbs contain mercury, so they must be disposed of properly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you bring any old CFL bulb to a qualified recycling facility rather than disposing of them in the trash or your curbside recycling bin. Modern CFL bulbs utilize a spiral design to make them more compact. These energy-saving alternatives are ideal for use in recessed cans, concealed fixtures, and other conventional incandescent applications.
  • Halogen: A halogen light bulb is a type of incandescent bulb that is known for its moderate efficiency and quality of life. Halogen light bulbs have a longer lifespan, higher luminous efficacy, and higher color temperature compared to incandescent light bulbs, but they consume about the same amount of energy to operate. What makes halogen and incandescent bulbs different is that halogen light bulbs contain an inert gas such as bromine or iodine that is heated and bonded to vaporizing tungsten molecules each time the light fixture is turned on. This inert gas moves the tungsten back onto the filament in order to extend the lifespan of the light and keep the bulb clean. If you like the warm, natural glow of incandescence, a halogen light bulb is a great alternative for pendants and other fixtures.
  • Incandescent: Most people are familiar with incandescent lighting, because it is one of the most common types of light bulbs we buy based on wattage. An incandescent bulb works by incandescence, which is the emission of electromagnetic radiation that is caused by heat. The brighter the bulb, the higher the wattage. As electric current passes through the tungsten filament, it heats the filament to a temperature to produce light. The glass enclosure of the bulb contains either a vacuum or an inert gas to prevent the filament from evaporating. These bulbs require no external regulating equipment and are compatible with a wealth of control devices, such as dimmer switches, timers, occupancy sensors, and so much more.
  • Light-Emitting Diode: LED light bulbs emit light in a very narrow band of wavelengths, making them much more efficient than incandescent bulbs. As electrical current passes through the microchip, it illuminates the tiny light sources that we refer to as light-emitting diodes. Manufacturers rely on heat sink absorption to prevent performance issues resulting from heat. There are a variety of LED bulbs that replicate the look of old-fashioned Edison bulbs and other filament bulb styles. There are also five different color temperatures to choose from for your lamp.

Styles of Light Bulbs Used in Antique Lamps

Now that you are more familiar with the different types of light bulbs you can use in your antique lamp, you may be interested to learn more about the styles of light bulbs you can use. There are a wide variety of carbon filament light bulbs that are designed to look like authentic Edison bulbs. These antique-style bulbs come in a variety of shapes and feature filaments in a wide range of intriguing designs. Flame-tip bulbs, otherwise known as decorative chandelier bulbs, are now made with modern filaments that lack no shortage of charm and warmth. Candelabra-based bulbs also come in a variety of shapes, including flame twist, night light, puntino, and torpedo. If you have any questions about this guide or our selection, please contact us today to receive further assistance.