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Author Topic: 2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...  (Read 6909 times)

Offline CGANderson

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« on: June 11, 2001, 03:38:00 pm »
Tim and All:

Just recieved a bulb from eBay.  It is a North American Electric Company 16cp 110v Edison style lamp with glass tip.  Filament is intact and carries current.  Wondering what the age is and if it is ok to burn them.  That is, if I run it on very low voltage just for show, can I expect it to last awhile barring any surges, etc.?  Also, is there a burn orientation for these old bulbs.  The label on the lamp suggests it hang tip down.


Offline Bob Masters

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2001, 05:33:00 am »
To burn or not to burn ? Ha Ha Ha......a very good bulb-collector question !
Naturally it's allways a bit of a gamble. Any time a bulb is illuminated you will run the risk of the filament opening on you. That is an individual decision to make based on the value of the bulb, and your own willingness to take that chance. Low voltage
is the safest bet, and how long is up to you.

Bulb Orientation ? Yep......some were made to burn at specific orientations. I'm not really sure of all of the different characteristics that were involved though.
Has anyone ever made those comparisons ?

Offline Bob Masters

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2001, 10:35:00 am »
How fascinating to hear an account from someone who has slowly witnessed the darkening process. If you could guess, about how many total hours did it take to darken ?


Offline Scott

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2001, 10:14:00 pm »
I have one of those bulbs! Sounds like you have the exact same one I do. It's the only old bulb I have,really,and it was free(salvaged from some junk being tossed out). I'd burn it base down,with a dimmer. I tested mine this way,with a dimmer in a handybox(with fuseholder and five amp fuse) and a Dollar General Store extension cord. I only fired it up once,just to see if it worked, and I never went full voltage,but only about "half throttle". Be sure the dimmer is in the low setting first!

Offline Scott

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2001, 10:36:00 pm »
On bulb darkening. A while back, I bought a dozen or so of those four-fer-a-dollar cheapies from a dollar store. After a while(a few weeks) it just seemed the light was getting dimmer and dimmer..and,sure enough, the glass had darkened,almost a dark as the lenses of sunglasses. Have you ever seen a bulb "mirror" itself? At my last job, I changed a 300 watt clear bulb that had blow,and it looked like a dark mirror-reflective, but dark, like mirrored sunglasses. I suppose it boiled off the filament,and it condensed evenly on the glass, in much the same way aluminum is applied to mirrors.
    I had the bulb for a while, then gave it away to a girl who incorporated it into an art project.

Offline James

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2 burn or not? NALCO 16 cp...
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2001, 09:03:00 am »
Hi Scott,

Many bulbs will naturally get that dark mirror of tungsten on the glass just due to the filament naturally evaporating away.

The cheap bulbs sometimes darken faster due to a process called The Water Cycle in tungsten lamps.  Near the intense heat of the filament, any leftover water molecules will be broken down to free hydrogen and oxygen atoms.  The oxygen reacts with the filament and makes tunsgten oxide, this evaporates away and condenses on the bulb wall.  Then the hydrogen which was freed earlier reacts with the cold tungsten oxide on the bulb wall, and takes the oxygen away from it, reforming the water molecule.  This leaves behind a pure coating of dark tungsten on the glass.

The water molecule which was reformed drifts back to the filament, and the whole cycle is repeated again.  Because the process is a continuous cycle, only a minute amount of water is necessary to destroy the filament quickly.  In fact tiny droplet of water in a vast gas cylinder capable of filling half a million bulbs would cause every one of those bulbs to fail early.

Cheap bulbs often do not remove all of the water, so these are especially prone to premature blackening and this type of early failure.