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Author Topic: Blacklight Bulb Mystery  (Read 16509 times)

Offline Jantann

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« on: July 09, 2002, 12:58:00 am »
I have a clear small bulb stamped with the following around the GE emblem:  2 1/2w, 105-125v, AR.
The filament is four metal rods extended from the glass internal bottom up to support a metal disc that is 1 inche in diameter with about a one centemeter gap dividing the disc into two half moon shapes.  Two of the four rods support one half moon and the other two support the second half.
When put into a typical table lamp and switched on the disc halves glow blue.  So I assume this is a Blacklight Bulb.
Does anyone have any knowledge about such a bulb?  
Thank you in advance.

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2002, 02:29:00 pm »
It sounds like you have an Argon "AR-1" glow lamp. They are quite sought after (at least on Ebay) usually selling for over $20, or at least they did when I last looked at the auctions.



I`m not entirely sure what their main intended purpose was, but a source of black light for experiments was one of the things they got used for. Occasionally nightlights but the life is low (a few hundred hours at most) so they wouldn`t last too long used night after night. And other than decoration, I`m not sure for what else would they be used. Not really bright enough- or long lasting- to be used as an indicator lamp in machinery.

Maybe someone else here knows?


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« Last Edit: December 12, 2004, 02:14:29 pm by tim »

Offline The LED Museum

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2002, 10:29:00 pm »
$20?!?  For an AR-1?!? WHERE?!?!?    

I haven't seen them go under $50-$75 since I got one last year!  Most recently, a fella e-mailed me that he had one to sell (after seeing mine on my website) and tried to offer it to me for $65.00 before putting it on ebay.  If I found them going for $20 or less, I'd be all over them like flies to a pile of sh*t!  

As far as their uses, I'm pretty much as in the dark as Chris.  They have too short a lifetime to use as an indicator, and their UV output is fairly low - but in the dark, the UV is enough to make colored plastics and bleached cotton glow quite noticeably.

You can extend their lifetime by at least several times by inserting a series resistor of 2.5-10K (at 120VAC). The goal is to achive very close to full glow coverage on the tops of the electrodes; anything less will (or should) extend the life that much more.  When operated normally, the discharge propagates an "abnormal" glow, which causes sputtering of electrode material that blackens the glass and contaminates the fill. This is done intentionally to increase bulb brightness.  Using a resistor to reduce bulb current should allow for a "normal" glow and will reduce sputtering.

A neon figural bulb using the Penning mixture can be connected in series with an AR-1 and they'll both glow at 120V.  The neon will often have full coverage; while the argon will have partial coverage; perhaps just a dime-sized glow on the top of the electrodes at best.  When the AR-1's glow is restricted in this manner, I'm not afraid to burn the pair as a nightlight now and again.

P.S.
A typical AR-1 argon glow bulb should glow a distinct purple or violet, not blue.  I don't know what kind of gas would glow blue at standard household voltages.

[This message has been edited by The LED Museum (edited July 09, 2002).]

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2002, 01:55:00 pm »
I haven't seen them go under $50-$75 since I got one last year! Most recently, a fella e-mailed me that he had one to sell (after seeing mine on my website) and tried to offer it to me for $65.00 before putting it on ebay.

Seriously? Wow, that is a big price. Better update my notes for when I next recieve a "I have an AR-1 bulb, what`s it worth?" message. Last one I saw on Ebay must have been this time last year, it was unboxed and untested but in fairly good condition, not blackened at all, went for something like $18. But I havn`t really been looking for bulbs at Ebay for ages, just checking domestic auctions which rarely have anything bulb-related at all.


I have a few spare AR-1s here, was going to put one on Ebay sometime, I guess now is that time! I may be at a disadvantage being in the UK though, but it can`t hurt to try.
 
Let me know if you`re interested in one, I could trade you for something (and no, I won`t ask $65 for it!), or, well- this is not the place to discuss it. You know my e-mail address    



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Offline Tim

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2002, 10:00:00 pm »
quote:
Originally posted by The LED Museum:
As far as their uses, I'm pretty much as in the dark as Chris.


Maybe someone should ask the people that are paying $50 each for them  

I have a lot of old literature on neon lamps but nothing really specifies a particular application for the AR family of argon lamps other than for use a general indicator lamp.  GE promo literature also documents that the these lamps were a highly efficient source of near UV radiation (black light) while other sales material simply states their use as indicator lamps, lasting approx. 1,000 hours.

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Tim
Kilokat's Antique Light Bulb Site
Mountain Dew Collectibles, Volume I

[This message has been edited by tim (edited July 11, 2002).]

Offline Electric Bill

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2002, 03:55:00 pm »
According to Charles S. of Delmar, NY he
had a science kit that used the 2.5 watt
AR black light lamp.  Although he no longer has the actual kit and "Universal Laboratory
Lamp Stand," he still has the manual which
came with the kit: THE STORY OF BLACK LIGHT:
the unseen world around us and a Manual of
Experiments in Ultraviolet Fluorescence, by
B.M.J. Kublar (Educational Director, Black
Light Eastern Corp.), [Westbury, L.I., NY:
The Educational Division of Black Light
Eastern Corp., 1963].
 The kit contained the black light stand,
lamp and manual with a list of experiments
one could perform with the lamp ranging
from invisible writing to the identification
of various minerals.

William K Bunk PhD

Offline Ed Covington

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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2002, 07:54:00 pm »
There are probably several publications that describe Glow Lamps. One in my possession is the GE publication known as Application Engineering Bulletin LD-1, issued in January, 1956. On page 55 one can find a write-up titled "Neon and Argon Glow Lamps." The lamp in question is an AR-1, rated at 2 nominal watts, in a S-11 bulb, medium screw base, maximum over-all length of 3.5 inches, A.C. starting voltage of 65 volts and a D.C. starting voltage of 90 volts. It has a series resistance of 3500 ohms, which is located inside the base. Quoting from the write-up: "Argon glow lamps, which consist of a mixture of gases, radiate mainly blue, violet and in the near ultraviolet region. The negative glow appears blue-violet. The fact that there is strong radiation in the near ultraviolet region can be demonstrated by the fluorescent effects produced on uranium glass and many phosphorescent and fluorescent substances. Commercially, therefore, the argon glow lamps are used to some extent as convenient ultraviolet sources." In general, because the light output of glow lamps is not great, they are used as signals, pilots, night lights and indicators of live circuits. It is necessary for a resistor to be used in series with the lamp. In screw base lamps it is located inside the base; in lamps with bayonet bases there is no resistor in the base and an external resistor must be used. The GE bulletin gives the values of the series resistances for all neon and argon lamps.

Offline James

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2002, 08:45:00 am »
I cannot say for sure what the principal applications of the American GE lamps were, but similar types known as the M1 and M2 were made by Mazda and Thorn in the UK until quite recently.  These were more efficient lamps for UV generation, the M2 being a simple discharge type and the M1 having a tungsten ballast filament inside - you can see an example of the M2 at http://www.hooker1.fsnet.co.uk/HID%20Lamps/Thorn%20M2.jpg

Originally created as a small UV source for laboratory work, fluorescence of microscope specimens etc, they found popularity as time markers for exposing the film in television cameras and this market saw the M1 and M2 types enter much larger scale production.  GE's AR1 is physically a very large lamp by comparison, but perhaps many of their smaller AR range were used in a similar application - certainly I think fluorescence microscopy in USA would have probably made use of the GE AR lamps in large numbers.

James.

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2002, 03:43:00 pm »
Thanks for that info James, interesting- I never thought of them used as microscope illuminators before.


Thorn M1 / M2 - are those Argon lamps or some other technology (mercury discharge perhaps)? Not heard of those before.


 

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Offline James

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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2002, 09:49:00 am »
Hi Chris - yes there is a small amount of mercury in the M1 and M2 lamps, to enhance the UV output.  But I imagine their applications would be fairly similar to the pure argon types.  We did used to have argon lamps here as well until the more efficient M types came out and superseded them.

James

Offline Hemingray

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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2002, 11:14:00 pm »
I'd give anything to have an AR-1  

Offline benbenben

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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2002, 09:25:00 pm »
Hi folks! I hear alot about G.E. AR-1's being used as indicators albeit they are big for that I'd say. I do know of a lead on its use though. I have a old device that has 39 of these bulbs in rows of 5 and 6, closely spaced, all in sockets, 4 NE-30's, and 2 golf ball size white bulbs also. All of them within a 14' x 14' square metal box with one side full of rows of switches-- I would guess that there is one sw per light. Plus switches for "argon"  "safe lights"  and "view lights". There's a wiring diagram and everything. I havent even begun to pick over this thing. I was told it was part of an old time copy machine, possibly MIL, the way it looks. It was supposed to be a 3 part manual system, where you would some how expose a copy, and then toner it and then burn it in? This is what I was told. The other 2 sections of this device are history. Any comments?.

Offline Tim

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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2002, 09:30:00 pm »
benbenben,

Welcome to the bulb forums.  I'd love to see a picture of this contraption.  Is there any way you could email a picture to me, or better yet post something here?  I'm sure others would like to see it too!

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Mountain Dew Collectibles, Volume I

Offline byronleer

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Blacklight Bulb Mystery
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2002, 10:17:00 pm »
quote:
Originally posted by Hemingray:
I'd give anything to have an AR-1  


i have a working one available.
contact me at by133@aol.com

Offline ChuckB

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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2002, 04:59:00 am »
My experience with AR-1 bulb goes back to about 1948. I was in the Cub Scouts, and thus I got a monthly copy of BOY'S LIFE magazine. They ran an article about experimenting with "black light". They recommeded using a "Purple X" bulb or an AR-1. Typical of the times, they conspicously avoided telling the readers where to get the such bulbs. That would have been free advertising I suspose. Several years later I found AR-1's for about 50 cents in an Allied Radio catalog. But in the meantime I found a kit for sale that included an AR-1 lamp and a collection of minerals that would glow under UV. I wish I knew where it was now!




[This message has been edited by ChuckB (edited December 29, 2002).]