"His Only Rival"
|Blotter number 112; image number: LAR_B112.
Text on blotter reads:
In 1904, General Electric began advertising a new carbon-filament
lamp (the GEM lamp) as more energy
efficient than older designs. Five short years later, GE salespeople needed
something to help them sell a newer, metal-filament lamp of even higher
efficiency. They invented a trade-name, Mazda, taken from the Persian (Zoroastrian)
god of light, Ahura Mazdah. The Mazda name first appeared in 1909 on tantalum-filament
lamps, and then on first generation tungsten lamps made under license from
Europe. GE also licensed the name to their subsidiary National
Electric Lamp Companies, to Westinghouse and to British Thomson-Houston.
"His Only Rival. GE Edison Mazda Lamp."
In 1910, William
Coolidge at GE's research lab in Schenectady, New York, developed a
way of drawing tungsten into a fine wire. GE quickly stopped making European-style
tungsten lamps and switched to Coolidge's design. That lamp, the second
generation tungsten lamp, became known in the trade as the "Mazda B." The
earlier, European lamps were informally considered "Mazda A" lamps. GE
continued using the Mazda name until 1949, when it was dropped during the
settlement of an antitrust suit against the company.
However, the company
maintains rights to the trademark to this day. The only other Mazda product
in the U.S. is the Mazda automobilenamed for the Zoroastrian god and also for company founder,
The Sun's Rival logo became the visual centerpiece
of this early ad campaign, appearing on everything from lamp packages
to billboards. It sought to convey the message of a brighter, whiter
light than that produced by older carbon-filament lamps. While the
logo eventually was eventually dropped, comparing the output of
a lamp to daylight remains common in lamp advertising.
For additional information about Mazda
Arthur A. Bright, Jr., The Electric-Lamp
Industry: Technological Change and Economic Development from 1800 to 1947
(New York: MacMillan Co., 1949)
National Museum of American History, Archives
Center collection # 2002.3019, General Electric Nela Park Collection
National Museum of American History, Electricity
Collections, Electric Lighting Collection