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Author Topic: Mushroom-Shaped Bulb  (Read 16865 times)

Offline Alan Franzman

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« on: February 07, 2003, 01:47:00 am »
Hi. I'm requesting any additional info that anyone knows about this strange bulb which I received from my grandmother's estate. It seems to be decorative, made for use in an overhead socket without a shade - better looking than a plain bare bulb. It's mushroom-shaped, hemispherical at the bottom, entirely inside frosted except just adjacent to the screw base with circular painted and pinstriped detail at the bottom that also appears to be on the inside of the glass. [EDIT: correction- the enamel is on the outside.] The color didn't come out quite right in the photos; the colored areas are more of a creamy yellowish off-white, almost the color of whipped butter with perhaps just a hint of green. The end marking says "* 50W * [GE logo] 115-125V". The filament has continuity but I haven't lit it yet.

   

   

Is there a specific name for this type of bulb? When were they sold? How much did they cost compared to a plain 50 watt frosted bulb during that time?

Thank you.

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Alan "A.J." Franzman

Email: a.j.franzman at verizon dot net

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[This message has been edited by Alan Franzman (edited February 09, 2003).]
A.J.

Offline Mónico González

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2003, 11:50:00 am »
Hi Alan!
I've seen another lamp as these on Chris Millinship's site. Surely he will give you more info on it. About color, you are right: on Chris' images, it appears as more pale yellow, with a slight "touch" of greenish coloration. But please, ask Chris for more info, because I don't know so much about such lamps. (I would like to have another equal bulb too!)

M?nico Gonz?lez. http://webcindario.com/mis-bombillas


Offline Tim

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2003, 12:13:00 pm »
Just to add, I've seen these GE bulbs in a couple of different sizes and at least one other color than the picture you show...

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Tim
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Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2003, 05:43:00 pm »
I recognise that one! As M?nico points out, I`ve one of those here. Something in the back of my mind says it did have a brand-name, but I`ve never seen the original packaging for these bulbs and can`t remember what it might be, if indeed it does actually have one.

For the time being, I call it "GA shape". An industry term for the glass shape - G standing for Globe and A standing for Angular - referring to the "inverted" curved profile of the back half.

Tim also rightly points out that there are other variations out there - four that I know of. The 50 watt yellow topped one is the most common, but there is also a version with pale pink glazing instead, and a pair of smaller (25 watt?) ones in yellow and pink too. Don`t think there were any other colours made.

They were only produced for a short time during the 50s and no reproductions or new runs have ever been made, which is a shame as I really like the soft uplighting they give when used in a celing pendant fixture. More than half the light goes up to the celing to be diffused around the room, and the glazed top gives a warm hint of colour too. And then of course, they just look good too!

That`s pretty much all I know about them. James H. might have some more to add since he was the one who told me most of what I know about them in the first place....

 


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[This message has been edited by Chris Millinship (edited February 07, 2003).]

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Offline Ray Ladegast

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2003, 08:13:00 pm »
Hi Alan,
I also have a 50 watt bulb like yours. This is the most common wattage. The colors were the greenish/yellow or pink.
 I know thay were also made in a 100 watt size. I had one when I was in my early teens. The bulb was the same diamator as the 50 watt but was taller. Unfortunitly it met its demise when it fell of the table.
 I have seen a number of the 50 watt size around, including Ebay, but never another 100 watt. I wish now I had taken better care of it


Offline Ed Covington

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2003, 07:51:00 pm »
Alan, when this product first came out it was called the 50-GA lamp. It was the last product that Dr. Matthew Luckiesh conceived. Luckiesh had a distinguished career at Nela Park, the headquarters for GE Lighting. It was a decorative lamp that was designed to be used in base-up sockets, such as on ceilings. The bulb end was hemispherical in shape and was enameled to produce a soft-tone effect. Two-thirds of the bulb's light output was directed upward so that an indirect lighting effect resulted. The lamp was designed for those locations where shades were not ordinarily used. It was first made available to the public in the time frame of 1949-1950. An article on the lamp was written by E.W. Commery titled "The New 50-GA Lamp", The Magazine of Light, Vol 18, Issue 1, 1950, page 8.

Offline Alan Franzman

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2003, 02:54:00 am »
Thanks to everyone for the replies!

Chris, the bulb on your page appears a bit more brightly colored than mine, perhaps mine's faded.

Ray, sorry to hear about your loss.  There seems to be a rash of that kind of thing going around. I just hope I don't catch it!

Ed, thanks for the time frame and article reference. I doubt any of my local libraries will have a copy of the magazine!
A.J.

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2003, 05:16:00 am »
Thanks for the info Ed, it`s nice to know more about these things. So, my calling it the GA lamp based on the Bulb Shapes Guide sheet I have over there was pretty much right then!  

Alan, you might find that my photo has exaggerated the colour. It is in reality quite pale with that subtle hint of green that has been described. My old camera doesn`t render colours too accurately, and just about all of my photos require extensive surgery (using Photoshop) to get them in presentable states, so it`s quite possible iot`s not a true rendering of its natural colour.

But it`s all I have so I`ve got to put up with it for now...




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Offline gramaniac

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2003, 12:08:00 am »
The GA 50 was designed primarily as a replacement for the G-18 and G-25 lamps that had been standard in some common decorative luminaries since the late 'teens.  If you have ever used a ball lamp fixture for primary lighting you will admit that they are a less than efficient source of glareless light, particularly when fitted with the usual 30w lamp with dark orange lacquer.  The authors of the "Better Light for Better Sight" campaign had railed against the poor quality of the light provided by these fixtures since at least 1923 (GE/Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. pamphlet).  The GA-50 had a light distribution characteristic similar to that of the "schoolhouse" shade globes(50-65%up, balance down).  When used in tandem in a 2,3,or 5 lamp fixture they produce a clear, glare free, nearly shadowless light. They were available from Detroit Edison (along with the 30w orange G-18 lamps) until the end of that company's free replacement lamp program in the early 1970's.  I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of cases in pink and a case and a half in yellow in 1990 or 1991 when a Cleveland (Ohio USA) hardware store closed in the 1992 or 1993.  The store also had 30 or 40 of the 100 watt lamps, but I foolishly did not purchase them.  I understand that the remaining stock of all kinds went to a Florida based liquidator.

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Offline Tim

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2003, 07:11:00 am »
quote:
Originally posted by gramaniac:
I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of cases in pink and a case and a half in yellow in 1990 or 1991 when a Cleveland (Ohio USA) hardware store closed in the 1992 or 1993.


Another Michigan bulb collector / enthusiast?  Welcome to bulb forums Bob, hopefully you survived the ?Blizzard of 2003? as they are already calling it here now after last night.  Anyway would you be interested in parting with any of those 50-GA lamps?  The reason I ask is that I frequently get requests from non-collectors looking for original replacements for their fixtures.  Maybe I can point them in your direction if you are interested in selling a few.

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Tim
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Mountain Dew Collectibles, Volume I

[This message has been edited by tim (edited February 12, 2003).]

Offline Mónico González

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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2003, 09:43:00 am »
I agree!
Because from first time I saw these original bulb, I become interested on it.
So. I would like to buy any of them to add it to my personal collection, but here in Spain is near impossible, because these lamps were a model that never were manufactured for Spanish nor European markets, despite its intrinsical differences, as voltage and slightly different diameter between both types of medium caps for US and Europe. (here we have E27 Edison screw caps, not only a little bit wider, but 5 mm taller than your ones)
About voltage rating on Spanish lamps, all of them now are calibrated to work at 220-230v, (the standard general purpose voltage in Europe) but some years ago, (not very much), here in Spain, AC distribution systems at 125-130v (5 to 10v more than in US systems)were very very common, and today, certain small villages has these voltages yet. Of course, these always was at our traditional 50Hz frequency.
Although these nice bulbs, could be made in whatever cap-voltage configuration, despite the zone of the Globe where them could be sent.
Regards,
M?nico Gonz?lez. http://webcindario.com/mis-bombillas

Offline Yoshi

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2003, 02:58:00 am »
These bulbs had a commercial name of "GE Deluxe" bulbs. They were available in pastel yellow and pink. I don't know if they were made in any other color. The yellow type can be easy to find on eBay (especially the aluminum-base type), especially because the demand for these bulbs is very low. They almost always sell for $5. The pink type is far scarcer and usually sell for more. I am still looking for a sample of the pink type, so if any of you have an extra one, I'd love to buy it. I also saw a 100w type sell on eBay for $6 in March (it was item #3213291978 which is still online).

Pics!











Also here's a 1955 ad that shows the GE Deluxe line. The mushroom shaped bulbs were only one member of the line.






-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 Chris W. Millinship

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2003, 08:04:00 am »
Hey thanks for posting all that info. I`ve never seen the 50GAs in the original packaging before, and havn`t come accross that particular General Electric ad either.

Very interesting  


If you see a spare pink 50GA or any spare 100GAs anywhere, let me know won`t you?  


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Offline Yoshi

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2003, 05:33:00 pm »

Ads can be a great source of accurate historical bulb information. Sure, I will let you know but remember that I also want them!  
How do I add custom avatars? The feature doesn't seem to be working

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Mushroom-Shaped Bulb
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2003, 09:13:00 am »
That`s what I meant by spare. ie, more than one of them!




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