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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:17 am on June 19, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Incandescent light bulb, IRT subway, Japanese kitchen, , , Light bulb, , , Rejuvenation Hardware, ,   

    About Light Bulbs and Kitchens 

    Today, walking around Grand Central I was reminded once again that the late Victorians had a different attitude towards light bulbs than we do today. To them an exposed light bulb looked stylish and modern, to us it’s a symbol of decrepitude and poorness. We hide light bulbs behind shades and diffusers. The Victorians liked to show them off. Here is a fine example – an expensive-looking gilded chandelier in Grand Central topped off with exposed light bulbs. You can also see examples of these in IRT subway stations.

    Victorian kitchens often had the simplest of light fixtures – a light bulb on a pretty woven cord, like this one sold by Rejuvenation Hardware. The also sell an amazingly cool looking replica Edison light bulb to go with it. My own kitchen is Art Deco-styled, but I was very tempted to get one of these.

    Victorians also had a different attitude towards kitchens, and I absolutely agree with them. Every time that I hear on “This Old House” how kitchen is the most important room, kitchen is the center of the house, how the owners plan to entertain in the kitchen – I shudder. How can a nation so overweight make an altar out of the room where it is destroying itself? I am an overweight glutton myself (especially when depressed), but I certainly would not want to build my house around a kitchen. The Victorians had the right notion – a kitchen is a utility room. Like the laundry. Or the butler’s room. Or the carriage house.

    Also, while we are on the subject of unusual light bulb – there’s a company that sells odor removing light bulbs. They claim that the Titanium Dioxide coating illuminated by fluorescent light is somehow breaking down odors. I hear that it works, so I ordered a couple for the room where the catbox is located. I’ll let you know how it’ll work.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:09 pm on April 23, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Incandescent light bulb, , ,   

    Righty Loosey 

    I’ve read somewhere that threads in all emergency light bulbs in subways are inverted. That way they would not fit into a normal socket, and make it harder for would be thieves to steal them. Regular bulbs, like the one on the picture supposedly have normal thread because they are always on and thus hard to steal because of their temperature. This bulb is not store bought – note the NYCTA logo on the bulb.

    I didn’t know the difference between NYCTA and MTA. Pretty interesting.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:55 pm on April 12, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ADT Security Services, , Fire alarm call box, Fire alarm system, Fire Alarm Telegraph Systems, Incandescent light bulb, , , , Street light,   

    Normal People Don’t Think About This Stuff 

    If you pay attention to NYC infrastructure like I do, you might have noticed little lights that sit on street lamp poles on certain intersections.

    For a long time I tried to guess their purpose. I thought that they had somemething to do with street lamps. Maybe indicating when light bulbs need changing. But they do not appear on all street lamps. And sometimes they would be attached to a telephone or a power pole. Sometimes they would be lit up, and sometimes not. They do not appear on all intersections. A mystery, right?

    I’ve searched the net finding nothing. Finally I found a reasonable explanation in Time Out New York magazine. The little lights simply appear on the intersections where a fire alarm telegraph box used to be located.

    I knew about fire alarm telegraph boxes from an awesome book Underneath New York. You see, those fire and police alarm pull boxes that were retired a few years back in fact were automatic telegraph boxes. They all shared the same circuit which would be normally closed. When somebody pulled the handle, a clockwork mechanism would rotate a little wheel with a pattern of bumps. The bumps would break the circuit and transmit an id of the pull box in Morse code to a nearby fire station. I guess they did not handle collisions — if two boxes were activated at the same type there would be trouble.

    I wonder how much electricity is wasted on those things.

    Some links:
    Interesting, ADT stands for American District Telegraph. I didn’t know.
    Some pretty cool pictures of fire telegraph control rooms.
    A site about Fire Alarm Telegraph Systems

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