U Education

  • Dropping The Ball On New Year's Eve

    Adolph Ochs was a self-made millionaire and buyer of The New York Times, one of the most famous publications in the world. In 1896, Ochs bought the newspaper, which was in financial trouble at the time. After turning its finances around, he moved the business into the midtown area (Longacre Square). The new Times building split the area in half and eventually gave name to what we now know as Times Square. In 1904, Ochs threw a wild New Year’s party to promote the big move complete with a fire works display. Over a thousand people were in attendance at what has become known as the first New Year’s Eve celebration. 85 For several years, fireworks continued to be used until the city put an end to it due to safety concerns. To replace the fireworks, Ochs came up with an idea. With the help of the Times building electrician, he developed the Times ball. The idea came from balls that were lit up on ship masses and used as clocks for coastal bound crews. Since actual clocks had been developed by this time, the balls were becoming obsolete so the electrician took a prototype from a shipyard and engineered it into the first Times ball. 25b2f3a147e6fb7ae5bc4a1638cbc2ad The first ball was 5 feet in diameter and weighed over a whooping 700 pounds. It was rigged with over 100 incandescent lights bulbs and used until the late 1910s when it was replaced with a 400 pound ball that was used until the mid 1950s. In 1955, a new ball was from aluminum, a lighter material than the wood of the previous balls. The lights on the ball have always been traditional white, except for in 1991 when it was accented with red and blue lights as tribute to the troops in Desert Storm. Today, the ball features programmed LED lights, making it a lot more energy efficient and practical. However, the weight of the ball has only grown. The current ball weighs over 10,000 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter!

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  • Going Green (and Red) This Christmas Season

     

    It’s that time of year again: the hustle and bustle, the baking, the decorating, the parties, and the most especially, the shopping. Don’t forget how much extra we consume during the month of December! Here are 8 simple ways you can go green this holiday season without spending even one extra penny.

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    1. Let’s Get Real: Splurge by getting a real Christmas tree. Taking the family to pick out and cut down their own tree can be a great bonding experience and there’s less artificial waste at the end of it all.
    2. Less Things: Buy gifts that are experiences and not tangible items. Concert tickets and gift certificates to restaurants are some examples.
    3. Public Transit: Take public transportation to do your holiday shopping or shop at outdoor shopping centers where walking from one store to another is an easy navigational option.
    4. Green Gifts: Give gifts that are eco-friendly such as LED light bulbs or low-flow showerheads.
    5. Grab Bag: Take a reusable cloth bag with you on your winter shopping sprees. Grocery stores aren't the only places you should be using them. Use them for just about any retail shopping by keeping them in easily accessible places like the trunk of your car or by your front door. This will help serve as a reminder to take it with you everywhere you go.
    6. Under the Tree: Wrap your presents with reusable wrapping paper or a gift bag. Gift bags can be used multiple times while reusable gift-wrap is much more eco-friendly than its traditional paper counterpart.
    7. Swap Meet: Recycle or donate any unwanted or older items after the holiday season. Often times we receive gifts to replace older things so make sure you donate them to a good cause. Don’t just throw them out!
    8. Light It Up: Replace your incandescent Christmas lights with new LED lights. These low energy strands come in all different shapes, colors and sizes. They may be a little e=more expensive now but will pay off in the long run especially if you them for outdoor lighting displays.

    We wish a very Merry Christmas and hope you have a great holiday! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us or leave a comment below.

  • Tis The Season For Christmas Lights!

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, we’re talking about the Christmas season and we don’t know about you, but our favorite thing during the holidays is looking at all of the festive light displays. There’s nothing more magical than the cold crisp air and warm glow of thousands of Christmas lights surrounding you. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to see lights during the Christmas season both near and far. Enjoy!

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    Vienna, Austria: From the giant chandlers in St. Stephens’s Cathedral to the garland laced with bulbs thought the city center, Vienna is one of the best places to catch the advent spirit. Be sure to catch a Christmas concert at Schönbrunn Palace.

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    Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen: Denmark’s 1843 amusement park is dressed up with holiday lights which allows you to zoom through glowing atmosphere on one of the roller coasters! Don’t miss the mulled wine and apple dumplings either!

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    Brussels, Belgium: Spirits are lifted through live Christmas music and the dramatically lit buildings in the historic Grand Palace. Nearby, there is a Christmas market serving homemade crafts and Belgian waffles.

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    Madrid, Spain: Plaza Mayor’s holiday market is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 1800s and features Nativity scenes throughout the city. A parade kicks off the festivities every year.

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    Gothenburg, Sweden: Are you noticing a pattern yet? Europe loves Christmas! The scent of toasted almonds and hum of Christmas carols fill the streets illuminated with over 5,000,000 lights and 700 Christmas trees. The Lane of Light leading to the ocean harbor is a highlight.

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    Medellin, Columbia: This Christmas celebration is more like mid-summer carnival with lively music and bright lights but that’s what you get when you celebrate in subtropical climate. Giant ornaments hang from the jungle trees along the Medellin River wile food vendors fill the air with tempting scents.

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    St. Augustine, Florida: The Night of Lights makes the 144 square block historic district come alive with the twinkle of over 2,000,000 all white lights. Talk about keeping it classy!

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    Callaway Gardens, Georgia: Over 8,000,000 Christmas lights decorate the forest during the annual Fantasy of Lights which depict different holiday scenes with shopping and eating to round out the experience.

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    Kansas City, Missouri: The Plaza Lights in downtown Kansas City has been a tradition since 1925 when a single store strung a strand of lights above their entrance. Ever since, the city has displayed one of the biggest and best holiday light shows in the country.

  • Liology (Lighting + Biology)

    The lighting industry is constantly releasing new products into the market by using new and improved technology. A new startup business is currently trying to introduce an innovative LED bulb called Silk by Saffron. The idea behind the bulb is to bring sunlight inside and they are using the Kickstarter platform to raise enough funds to finance the product launch. Saffron is dedicated to lighting ingenuity and exploring all the unobvious ways in which light can make lifer easier and better.

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    Silk by Saffron is a smart LED bulb that automatically adjusts its color temperatures so you get light tailored to your circadian rhythm. Your what now? Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that helps your body process the time of day by the oscillation of sunlight during a 24 hour period. Its features include automatic color temperature shifts, custom scheduling, wi-fi connectivity, automatic dimming, and custom light switch behaviors. The energy efficient bulb can also save you over $16 per year per bulb by replacing a 60 watt incandescent with the a 14 watt Silk bulb.

    So let’s get down to the science behind Silk. Light affects every aspect of your life, health and wellness. Your circadian rhythm is synchronized by light and the human body has adapted to the movement the sun. Since the introduction of artificial light (electricity), our bodies have become confused and caused complications with sleeping schedules and patterns. Silk automatically adjusts its color temperature throughout the day so that you get lighting tailored specifically for your biology. How cool is that?!?! For more information, please visit Saffron or watch a cool video here: Silk LED

    If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment or get ahold of one of our friendly customer service reps. We are here for you!

  • Halloween Eye Bulbs

    It’s almost Halloween- A time for colorful leaves crunching beneath your feet, pumpkin spiced everything and fun fall arts and crafts! If you’re like most people, then you love to spruce up your home with some festive decorations. Here is a fun DYI using non-other than light bulbs! Eyeball lights are all the rage, especially for all those Walking Dead enthusiasts (and don’t even get us started on that last episode). What could be more fun than hanging up a few disembodied organs on the front porch? You’ll have the zombies banging on your door in no time!

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    Here’s what you’ll need:

    -Markers (we prefer permanent, such as Sharpies)

    -An old string of Christmas lights

    -White ping-pong balls

    -Knife

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Draw some eyeballs onto your ping-pong balls with different colored irises, bulging pupils and bloodshot vessels. Get creative! Go wild! Get the kids involved. Have the dog do one. Your options are limitless!
    1. Use a knife (or small screwdriver) and puncture a small hole on the backside on the eyeball. Be careful! They can be a little slippery.
    1. Simply poke the light through the hole and rotate the ball so that the eye part is facing outwards.
    1. Plug the string of lights, errrr… eyeballs, in and watch them light up the night sky! They’ll fit right in with the howling werewolves and full moon!

    Eye can’t promise you anything, but I think these will be a ball! Have fun and happy Halloween! If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment or get ahold of one of our friendly customer service reps. We are here for you!

  • Under Cabinet Lighting

    Under cabinet lighting is a great cost-effective way of improving the look and feel of the interior to any space. Under cabinet lighting, fixtures that are placed underneath cabinetry, can add dramatic effects to the overall feel of room such as kitchens and bathrooms. Today, we’ll be talking about two specific kinds of under cabinet lighting: LED strip lighting and LED puck lighting.

    LED strip lighting is best for putting off a consistent, even illumination across counters. LED strip lights also offer great energy efficiency. They’re fairly easy to install and come in a variety of different colors and temperatures. Strip lighting provides a fun way to spice up what can otherwise be dull.

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    LED puck lights are usually recessed, which means they will blend into a space much better than strip lights. Puck lights are better at accenting certain areas on interest due to their “spot light” nature. If you want to highlight something in particular or give your backsplash a texture, then puck lights are much better than strip lights. However, not all puck lights are recessed so exposed wiring could be an issue. Running these wires underneath the cabinets can easily hide them, though. Puck lights are also compatible with motion sensors, giving them one more advantage over strip lights.

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    It really depends on what kind of atmosphere you are trying to create but each of these under cabinet lighting solutions provides something unique. It is best to evaluate all of your options before deciding on a particular one. Keep in mind that advantages of each and how they will best help you achieve your desired results. Do you have more questions on under cabinet lighting? Please do not hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us directly.

  • Cree Lighting

    Cree Lighting Solutions has long been innovated by customer-driven demands for the market. They have revolutionized the lighting industry with high-quality, affordable LED lighting. With more than a million of their fixtures installed across the globe, they have been committed to proving better solutions for hard-to-solve lighting issues.

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    Cree vows to remain at the forefront of innovation and be a leader in the lighting world. As they continue to develop LED technology and provide easy, implementable solutions, your bottom line will be guaranteed to improve as well. Not only does Cree promise to provide consumers with beautiful, sleek, modern lighting, they promise to do it with affordable prices. We are proud to be partners with Cree lighting and sell their products on our site. We take pride in our product lines and would not hesitate to recommend Cree as a credible solution to your LED needs. Cree specializes in airport, auto dealerships, campus, industrial facility,  healthcare, residential, retail, recreational, roadway, environmental and parking lot lighting.

    For more information on the Cree product line or to help with ordering, please contact us through our website or give us a call. We are here to help you!

  • Low-Key Voltage

    Voltage. It’s most likely a word you’ve heard before but never really thought about. What exactly is it? Well, technically it’s the electric energy difference of potential energy that’s transported between point A and point B in an electrical field. It’s a quantitative equation that probably brings back bad memories of dozing off in back row of high school math class. Don’t worry though. We’re here to break it down for you and help explain exactly how it pertains to you when making lighting decisions.

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    Low voltage residential lighting started getting popular in the mid 20th century. Originally manufactured for landscape lighting, it slowly started being implemented into interior lighting thereafter. It’s now popular in track, recessed and task lighting. So, what’s the advantage of low voltage lighting? Let’s tackle it.

    The light quality of low voltage lighting has been linked to a slightly better light quality, although there is no scientific proof behind this. Every eye is different so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s true. Does low voltage equal a brighter, whiter light? We’ll let you be the judge. Low voltage lights can also save you money by improving energy efficiency. Although low voltage doesn’t necessarily lower energy consumption, it does allow for an installation of a dimmer, which easily helps control it. It is also speculated that low voltage offers a longer life span, albeit not by much. However, low voltage lighting does require the use of a transformer. Transformers do burn out and need replaced, adding to the cost of low voltage bulbs.

    Are the said advantages of using low voltage lamps enough to convert you? Keep in mind the biggest asset of low voltage lighting is the size of the actual bulbs, which can be made smaller due to the smaller filaments. This allows you to light up close quarters, something you could not otherwise do. Do you have more questions on low voltage lighting? Please do not hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us directly.

  • Lighting Up The Sky For The 4th

    The very first firework was invented by a Chinese monk over 1,000 years ago by placing gunpowder inside of an empty bamboo shoot. It was thrown into a fire and exploded, creating a legacy of explosives. Today’s modern version of the firework is still relatively similar. They usually consist of a shell, an explosive and something to light (a fuse). While the Chinese may have actually created the firework, The United States has taken the tradition and made it its own. Every year, local governments and citizens celebrate Independence Day with the flash and bang that only a million fireworks could provide.

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    Colors were first incorporated into fireworks during the Italian Renaissance. Different metals and elements were experimented with to come up with color combinations. Charcoal allowed for a yellow/white hue in the sparks. Strontium compounds are responsible for red while copper produces blue. And, well, those are all the colors you need for the 4th of July!

    Now, let’s talk a little bit about how a firework, well, works. Aerial fireworks are formed by four parts: container (paper formed into a cylinder), star (small spheres which ignite into a sparkle when heated), charge (causes initial momentum at the center of the shell and lifts the rocket with a power boost), and fuse (delays explosion until the correct altitude is reached). The charge is usually found in the mortar, a short steel confinement that propels the shell forward. The fuse is lit and the mortar acts as a cannon to get the firework into the air. Then, once the fuse ignites the internal charge, the shell explodes, igniting the stars. Patterned shells allow the firework to explode into conceived shapes although it is often impossible to predict exactly what pattern will erupt.

    As technology continues to improve, fireworks are becoming safer and less expensive. Environmentally friendly fireworks use biodegradable resources and fewer toxic chemicals. Compressed air allows for greater precession and a bigger bang. But even as fireworks continue to evolve, the process remains inherently the same. If you plan on lighting off fireworks at home this year, please check your state’s regulations, use caution and always make sure you use safety first. However, we recommend watching the sky light up from your local display. It's safer and less work, which is a win-win in our book.

  • The World Of Lighting

    What’s that? We sell light bulbs AND we’re a travel agency? Talk about a one-two punch! Well, we’re not technically a travel agency but we are enthusiastic about the idea of traveling the world and taking in the sights. As lovers of all things light, we have compiled a list of places you should visit if you can.

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    Paris, France:

    Known as the “City of Lights,” or La Ville Lumière in French, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting. An early evening stroll along the Seine affords you views of some of the most historical landmarks in Europe. The Eiffel Tower offers a light show every hour after dusk. It’s not considered one of the most romantic cities in the world for nothing. It’s sure to warm your heart and rekindle that fire between you and that special someone.

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    Perth, Australia:

    Perth became known worldwide as the "City Of Light" when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998. Talk about a piece of history that’s out of this world!

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    Northern Norway:

    Often described as a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience, The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon found in both the northern and southern hemispheres that can be truly awe inspiring. Northern lights are also called by their scientific name, aurora polaris. The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. They are most frequent in the late autumn or early winter. Canada, Alaska and Greenland are also popular destinations to see The Northern Lights.

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    Las Vegas, Nevada:

    You’ve heard it before; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. The often-used motto describes the fun times to be had in the appropriately dubbed Sin City. Pack your begs for a wild time underneath the lights of the famous strip where the fun times continue well into the next morning. With some of the most luxurious hotels and spas in the world, Las Vegas offers incredible lighting all night long. The nightlife is next to none and a fun, unexpected experience is always waiting just around the corner. Don’t miss the world famous light and water fountain show in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

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    Chiang Mai, Thailand:

    The Festival of Lights is celebrated all around Thailand with Loi Krathongs (lotus-shaped receptacles) released on water to bring luck and fulfill wishes. In Chiang Mai, the observation of the festival of lights, called Yi Peng, is uniquely different. Instead of water vessel, Chiang Mai people release thousand of lighted lanterns in the sky while making a wish. The sky transforms itself in a wonderful and surreal sea of little lanterns floating away. The spectacle is mesmerizing. The local celebration is a religious ceremony in Thai language paying homage to Buddha.

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    A Desert, Literally Anywhere:

    Take a night to get outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of the city bright lights of the metropolis. The further away from the city, the better because there will be less light pollution. Curl up in a sleeping bag underneath the stars and gaze of the constellations until you fall asleep. It’s cheap, easy and thought provoking. Stargazing is a great way to contemplate your existence in this universe. Time to put your philosophy hats on!

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