A couple of years ago a friend gave me a government pamphlet which contained energy-saving suggesions. One of them told of an ordinary-sized light bulb which was fluorescent. It was not a tube or a circle. While very expensive ($7 .59 at the time, I believe), it sounded as if it were highly efficient and very long-lasting. I couldn't find the bulb in this area so I made the big mistake of sending the pamphlet to Washington, D.C. Of course, I never heard from the government. Now I've lost the name and address of the manufacturer. Can you help me? A reader Center Conway, N.H.
An incandescent lamp is basically a very poor energy-efficient light source. In other words, it takes a lot of power to get a certain amount of light. Up to now that hasn't big a big deal. But with the squeeze on energy these last few years, a more-efficient, cheaper-to-burn electric-light bulb has been a very desirable goal.
The whole lamp industry as well as the Department of Energy have been trying to find a lamp of higher efficiency which can be screwed into the present incandescent lamp socket, yet would take only half, one-third, or even less energy as the current bulb.
A man named Donald hollister got a lot of publicity a couple years ago because of the work he was doing on such a low-energy-burning light bulb. This may be what you're talking about. As a result of his activity, the predecessors of the present DOE funded Mr. Hollister's work on the lamp. His company, I'm told, is called Litek.
About a year ago the government stopped its support, broadened its approach to the issue, and called on the entire lamp industry for the pros and cons of such a lamp; in effect, to evaluate the feasibility of such a project.
Some time ago the government issued a request for proposals to be submitted by members of the lamp industry to develop a similar kind of bulb and to provide a large number of samples in three phases which would be tested in a number of government buildings, probably in Washington, D.C.
The proposals were due at the end of last November.
The DOE has asked the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California to run the project.
If successful, the new light bulb will be a screw-in lamp using the flourescent-lamp principle. Obviously, it will be much more expensive to buy but will last far longer than the light bulbs on the shelf today.
You probably won't be able to buy one for at least a few years.