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Author Topic: MR16 Halogen lamps - History?  (Read 5286 times)

Offline Zelandeth

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    • Zel's Lair - an assorted grab bag of lighting information, automotive mayhem, and anything else I remember to upload
MR16 Halogen lamps - History?
« on: September 25, 2005, 09:46:01 pm »
Yeah, these things...



I think it was the early 90s that I really recall seeing them commonly in shops and such.? Just wondering if anyone maybe knows a little more history behind them that I could add to my page there.

Offline James

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Re: MR16 Halogen lamps - History?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 02:10:41 pm »
Zel,

This concept of the halogen capsule in a compact dichroic reflector is actually pretty old!  In the early 1960s Bausch & Lomb developed practical dichroic coatings, and tried to sell the concept to all the major lamp manufacturers.  This was in the old days when lamp manufacturers didn't take too kindly to being told what they should make, and all except Sylvania failed to recognise the potential of the thin film coatings.  Sylvania took the concept further and quickly placed the first dichroic lamp on the market, consisting of a compact halogen capsule mounted at the focus of a rather crudely made thin-walled glass reflector from B&L.  It was mounted into the projector by its GX7.9 base which had side mounted contact pins.  The concept was an enormous hit with end users, and then GE started to wake up and take note of the development!

GE refined the concept and made the lamp more precise by mounting it not by the base, but by a flat rim at the front of the reflector.  The reflector was made from pressed glass for the first time, and this marked the start of the MR16 sized product.  GE's Emmett Wiley received a patent in 1967 for his invention of the MR16 format. 

For the first 15 years or so of its life, this lamp was employed exclusively in photo and projection apparatus.  Then in the early 1980s, some creative European lighting designers in Germany and UK started to use these film projector lamps in general lighting, where their extremely precisely controlled beams excelled far above any other reflector lamps on the market at that time. 

Around 1983 a new family of MR16 lamps for display lighting was unveiled almost simultaneously by GE in USA, and by Thorn and Sylvania in Europe.  Osram quickly followed suit, and by 1990 Philips had also commenced manufacture of its own MR16 display lamps.

In 1996 the concept was taken further by Sylvania, who invented the mains voltage GU10/GZ10 capped versions of this lamp.  Eliminating the requirement for a transformer significantly opened up the market and pushed this lamp into the retail sector. 

Nice write-up on your site!  By the way, the 12V lamps are not employing fuses, that is found only in the 120/240V versions.  The Osram date code of i739 indicates a production date of between July-September 1997 at the Eichstatt factory in Germany.

Best regards,

James.

Offline Zelandeth

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Re: MR16 Halogen lamps - History?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 03:26:09 pm »
Wow...James...is there anything about lighting that you don't know...that is really quite impressive!

Thanks for the info there!  Will make a nice addition to the page.  Is always nice to have a bit of history to go with the photos.

Is there somewhere a document which would help in working out date codes for the most well known manufacturers?  That is something which would be handy to know...as about 90% of my collection I know was acquired in mid 2004 - but I've not a clue when a lot of the lamps were actually made.

Thanks for the information again!  Another page that's going to have thanks to you written on it, which I don't mind at all.