Edison bulbs are the most popular shape of vintage light bulb. These reproductions of Thomas Edison's first light bulb are easily one of the most recognizable of the vintage bulb shapes, featuring an oblong glass envelope with a nipple at the top. Typically a medium E26 base bulb, Edison bulbs can fit in most common household lamp sockets for decorative lighting, including lamps, wall sconces, and accent lighting fixtures.
Are Edison Bulbs Bright Enough?
Antique lighting is meant to mimic the look of classic light bulbs, which were a yellower color temperature and not as bright as light bulbs today. Typically, antique lighting is warmer than standard incandescent bulbs, giving off light between 1800-2400 Kelvin. This warmer light does not appear as bright as higher color temperature light. Vintage replica bulbs also do not usually put out as many Lumens as today's light bulbs, making them ideal for accent and decorative lighting, but ill-suited for general lighting. A 60-Watt antique bulb may only emit 400 Lumens compared to a standard 40-Watt A19 incandescent bulb that emits twice as many Lumens. You would not want to use Edison bulbs as part of your recessed lighting, but instead use them in decorative fixtures such as chandeliers or pendant lighting.
Edison Bulb Filaments
Part of what make vintage lighting so appealing is the beautiful filament designs, visible when the bulb is on or off. Incandescent Edison bulbs can have a variety of filament designs, but two of the most popular are squirrel cage and hairpin filament. Squirrel cage filament is closely wrapped, with several strands of filament running zig-zag parallel with the bulb envelope. Hairpin filament Edison bulbs have thin tungsten filament running up and looping back, resembling the shape of a hairpin. Either filament design can be encased in a clear or an amber tinted glass envelope.
Can Edison Bulbs Be Used Outdoors?
Yes, standard incandescent bulbs and incandescent vintage replica bulbs can be used outdoors if protected from weather and direct contact with water. You can use these antique Edison bulbs in your enclosed porch lights, recessed can lights, and wall sconces with a medium E26 base. You can also use Edison bulbs in patio string lights under a gazebo or spanning the length of the yard as long as you take them down after an event to keep them out of the rain.