Lightbulb Conspiracy

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= event linked to Planned Obsolescence and documentary


Jenny Koho:

"Planned Obsolescence dates back till 1920s when industry started to shorten the life spans of products to increase consumer demand. An influential advertisement magazine warned companies that an article that refuses to wear out is tragedy of business.

The first example of planned obsolescence is the story of light bulbs. Initially manufacturers strived for producing long life span for their light bulbs, they lasted even 2500 hours. The light bulb of Livermore fire station in California has been burning continuously since 1901. In 1924 a group of businessmen gathered together and founded the Phoebus cartel to lower the life span of the bulbs to 1000 hours to control markets and customers worldwide. In 1925 a board named 1000 hour life committee was found. It forced companies to design light bulbs with the burning time of maximum 1000 hours. If companies exceeded the burning time of their bulbs noticeably, they were fined. By the 1940s the cartel had reached its goal: 1000 hours had become the standard life span of light bulbs. If you still have some conventional light bulbs left in your closet, check out how many hours they will burn, you will be surprised." (


"Once upon a time products were made to last... Planned Obsolescence was the name given by businessmen in the early twentieth century to the deliberate shortening of product life spans in order to guarantee consumer demand. Cosima Dannoritzer’s compelling film combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace one of the defining stories of our age: from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to contemporary high street brands such as Apple. The story moves between France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where our discarded electronic waste is piling up.." (