Category Archives: electrical

A new use for net lights

I have found out that, properly obtained and displayed, those “net lights” (Example) that you can buy (in the United States atleast) to drape over shrubs and small trees in December for decoration are highly useful as room lights.

I have a 8 by 5 net hanging in the room behind my PC monitor and they provide a very pleasing diffuse illumination for my work, with a regular floor lamp in the room also. You can even get them in cool white (LED) or warm white (old style/incandescent). I prefer the warm white for where I am.

I advise getting the ones that plug in to a normal NEMA/Type A outlet for easiest use and best light output. Either way they have the advantage of only slowly burning out, instead of a normal light going all at once. I had a cheap one (from Walmart) last about a year of normal use.

Be an up to date farmer (in 1963), part 1 of 2

Browzing through old matter, I found a page from a 1963 magazine, the Farm Journal with some handy advices:

DimmersFJ

A couple of things jump out immediately. First, they had fluorescent light dimmers in 1963? For YEARS I’ve been seeing warnings on dimmer switches I’ve installed that they should never be used on a fluorescent light. Was this really a thing and, if so, what happened to them?

Second, were dimmers really that new in 1963? A dimmer is just a rheostat, which has existed as long as systematic study of electricity has, maybe longer. It’s just a wound coil of wire with a movable contact. In the case of a light dimmer switch, it is usually a circular affair. An industrial example may be seen here.

Another point, potentially hidden, is the price. 16 USD for a dimmer is outrageous today. They are about half that or less for a no-frills rotary dimmer switch, per Home Depot and Lowes. (I’m not linking to them because their websites change so regularly.) Using an economical adjustment for inflation, the highly recommended Measuring worth website, the purchasing power of 16 USD in 1963 is about 124 USD in 2014. That is by no means “inexpensive”, especially for farmers, who are notoriously not high earners.

Finally, the company in question, Hunt, appears to still be around, at least as a brand. It is owned by “Caribe Corporation”, which appears to just be an alternate name of the firm, since I cannot find any other business lines owned by it in a cursory search.