The Centennial Bulb has been running for 115 years! It has gone through 2 world wars, the development of the atomic bomb, the moon landing, 25 different Zelda games, and a lot more! When you think that current incandescent bulbs run for about 1000 hours, and this one has been going on for over 1 million, it’s kind of depressing, all that thanks to the phoebus cartel.
The cartel is an important step in the history of the global economy because it engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence. It reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost fifteen years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs.
The cartel was a convenient way to lower costs and worked to standardize the life expectancy of light bulbs at 1000 hours, while at the same time raising prices without fear of competition. Members’ bulbs were regularly tested and fines were levied for bulbs that lasted more than 1000 hours.
Learn more about The Centennial Bulb in the video below!