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Author Topic: BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately  (Read 16388 times)

Offline lindsaylinds

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« on: June 03, 2003, 01:50:00 pm »
I really need to get hold of one or more BALAFIRE flicker bulbs, for an art piece. They're the ones with the filament that flickers back and forth across a bar magnet. I seem to remember they came in red, green and blue, and were globe-shaped (nearly perfectly spherical). They almost never come up on eBay. Anyone have any leads? Any colour is fine. Will buy all bulbs that come up if they are authentic Balafire. How can this bulb have so mysteriously disappeared from sight?

Offline Alan Franzman

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2003, 10:42:00 pm »
I have a few of them (not for sale, sorry).  They were also available in yellow and possibly clear.  It's also easy to make a colored one clear - the lacquer color coating comes off easily by soaking in warm water.

They do occasionally come up on Ebay, but I don't see any right now. You have to know what to search for - people often don't know the "Balafire" name. They're often found in working condition along with the original advertising lamps that used them, made to look like Budweiser, 7-Up or other beverage cans. These sellers usually just call them flicker bulbs. Other keywords that sometimes bring results are the maker's name (Kyp-Go), or the phrase "crazy flicker" for similar bulbs by another maker. (Durolite, I think.)

I have a similar yellow bulb, maker unknown, which is larger; about 4 inches in diameter instead of 3. There are also tubular and flame-shaped bulbs which use the same effect, but don't flicker as wildly due to the envelope constraining the filament. Some of these bulbs' filaments barely vibrate. One occasionally finds globe-shaped bulbs that don't flicker properly too, perhaps due to weakened magnets or manufacturing flaws (incorrect filament length).

Regarding apparent the disappearance of Balafire bulbs, it may be due partly to low production quantities as well as short lifetimes (500 hr. avg.), along with the usual "disposable" nature of light bulbs in general, and the contempt that many people had (and some still have) for all things '70s.

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Email: a.j.franzman at verizon dot net

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Offline Mónico González

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2003, 06:59:00 am »
You can see a similar kind of bulb at following page of my web-site:
 http://mis-bombillas.webcindario.com/Carbon-Oscil.htm

This is a 220-230v/25w/50Hz/E27 European model.
Best regards.
 http://mis-bombillas.webcindario.com

Offline Ross

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2003, 10:49:00 am »
M?nico, thank you for the picture.   I have not come across this type of lamp before and was wondering what it looked like.   I am amazed that they last more than a few hours, given the stresses on the fillament.

Best regards,

Ross.

Offline Alan Franzman

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2003, 06:41:00 pm »
Balafire bulb and box pictures at:
 http://bulbmuseum.net/bulbs/balafire.htm [edited URL per Chris's post below]

Note that the bulb is an American model designed for 120V, 60Hz being run in the U.K. from 230V, 50Hz through a transformer.  The filament barely vibrates at this wrong frequency - most bulbs do really resemble the image on the side of the box (lower photo) when operated as intended.

[This message has been edited by Alan Franzman (edited June 05, 2003).]
A.J.

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2003, 07:44:00 pm »
Apparently the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Museum Store sells Balafire bulbs - they are for some odd reason the only official dealer of these bulbs (which are still made by Kyp-Go). They`re not listed on their site and I`ve no idea how much they cost, but get in touch and ask - they have a selection of colours too I think.

Web site is at http://stores.yahoo.com/museum-store/collectibles.html


Thanks for posting the link to the bulb Museum, Alan. BTW it`s better as http://bulbmuseum.net  these days. The old address will still work for now but probably not forever....





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Offline James

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2003, 08:00:00 pm »
How many of these bulbs do you require?  I know the guy who used to make them and he has a reasonable size stock of them still in his home.  I will ask the question and see what he might be prepared to part with and at what price.

By the way, Asahi Lamp factory near Tokyo is still manufacturing this lamp, but they work out around US$25 each, pretty expensive like most Japanese lamps!  Furthermore they are of course designed for Japan's 100V mains, and may not last so long on the 120V in USA - a dimmer switch would be good for running them on.  But if you are desperate and this turns out to be the only option its certainly a possibility.

Best regards!

James.

Offline Mónico González

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2003, 08:30:00 pm »
Of course, i must add (although this is a well known phenomenon) that these kind of lamps are frequency-dependant. In fact, due to mechanical resonance of its filaments, vibration amplitude are wider at precisely rated AC mains frequency. Mines (i have two of them) are logically designed and made for European and Chinese market, where power distribution does work at 50Hz. Note on pictures the extreme and quite chaotic filament oscillation when powered at full voltage on 50Hz, only limited by the impacts of longer carbon hairpin against inner surface of "chimney" upper portion of the bulb. Therefore, are not recommended to use these bulbs at different frequencies that they were designed for.
I'm planning to take a short video sequence to add to the page, so it will be seen the filament at full moving.
About life-span of these bulbs, I can say that a friend of mine (who sold me the first one of mines) had one similar (deep red painted) lit for more than a year in his shop-window, during seven to eight hours at a day without failure. Of course, making use of its own magnet, externally fitted and "tuned" to maximum flickering effect on filament. But I insist: mines are not "Balafires", and its adjustable and detachable magnets are outer placed.

Best regards.
M?nico Gonz?lez, Ciudad Real, Espa?a.
 http://mis-bombillas.webcindario.com


Offline Travers Koerner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2003, 05:49:00 pm »
I too have been looking for one of these. The one I have had for over thirty years is is a tube shaped bulb. It was designed and used as a decorative flame in a carriage bulb. I have used it for thousands of hours and it still works. I now have a pair of carriage lamps at my entrance and hence want another one

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Travers
Travers

Offline Travers Koerner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2003, 05:51:00 pm »
I failed to give my email address. If anyone has a source, please contact me. I will call the Edison Museum tomorrow.  Thank you.

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Travers
Travers

Offline Travers Koerner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2003, 05:53:00 pm »
email is tckoerner@hotmail.com if anyone has a source for anything like this. I shall call the Edison Museum tomorrow.

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Travers
Travers

Offline Travers Koerner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2003, 07:32:00 pm »
I have found the address for Kyp-Go, the manufacturer of these -


Kyp-Go Inc
526 Geneva Rd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-3784
Phone 630)942-8181




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Travers
Travers

Offline Travers Koerner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2003, 12:08:00 pm »
I telephoned the Edison Ford Museum Gift Shop.

They do carry these light bulbs, but they call them FLICKER bulbs.

They are out of them, but expect them in about three weeks. So, mark you calendars to call on the first of July!

Eureka!

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Travers
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Offline Yoshi

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2003, 02:23:00 am »

Balafire bulbs aren't that hard to get. Here are the last few I have seen sold on eBay:
 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3210513510  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2923319719  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2324745938

I have a blue balafire bulb and I love it.  


-Yoshi



[This message has been edited by Yoshi (edited June 07, 2003).]
How do I add custom avatars? The feature doesn't seem to be working

Offline Tom Werner

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BALAFIRE bulb wanted desperately
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2003, 12:39:00 pm »
Quote
Originally posted by M?nico Gonz?lez:
You can see a similar kind of bulb at following page of my web-site:
 http://mis-bombillas.webcindario.com/Carbon-Oscil.htm

I am looking for this type bulb in the US (resonating, magnet affixed to the outside of the bulb).  Does anyone have a distributor name, or means of obtaining one.

Thanks,

-- Tom Werner