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What's New!

The following changes and additions have been made to the Lighting A Revolution website. The links below will open the target page in a new browser window–just close that window to return to this page.


June 2014:

The links on this website have been tested and updated where needed.


May 2013:

A link to the Smithsonian Privacy Statement has been added to the Policy Statements page. The links on this website have been tested and updated where needed.


May 2012:

The links on this website have been tested and updated where needed.


May 2011:

The links on this website have been tested and updated where needed.


August 2010:

The links on this website have been tested and updated where needed.


July 2009:

The National Museum of American History reopened last November. The Lighting A Revolution reopened with the museum and many visitors have toured the exhibition in the months since that event. The Henry Magnet was safely reinstalled at the entrance to the exhibition after installation of the new exhibition Stories About Money in an adjoining gallery. On this website, the links have been tested and updated where needed.


August 2008:

The National Museum of American History will reopen to the public on Thursday, 21 November 2008. We are beginning the process of cleaning the physical Lighting A Revolution exhibition space in preparation for reinstallation of the objects and graphics. Reinstallation is scheduled for October and the exhibition will be reopened with the rest of the museum. On this website, the links have been tested and updated where needed.


January 2007:

The National Museum of American History is closed for renovations. The objects have been removed from the physical Lighting A Revolution exhibition and stored for the duration of the construction work. Current plans are for the objects to be reinstalled and the physical exhibition to reopen with the museum when the renovations are completed. On this website, the links have been tested and updated where needed.


January 2005:

A routine maintenance update. The links have been tested and updated where needed.


June 2004:

The 20th century section of Lighting A Revolution has been reopened to the public after renovation. All of the objects and graphics have been returned to this section, but one interactive display ("Out of the Blue") was permanently removed due to recurring maintenance issues.


November 2003:

Construction of America On The Move has been completed, and both that exhibition and the renovated 19th century section of Lighting A Revolution are now open to the public. All the objects have been returned to this section of LAR, but a few graphics were permanently removed. These have been noted in red font in the Graphics List for that section.

The 20th century section of LAR remains closed for now, but we anticipate it will reopen in Spring of 2004.


March 2003:

Several substantial changes have occurred within the physical Lighting A Revolution exhibition. Due to construction taking place in an adjoining gallery, we have temporarily removed a number of objects and graphics from the 19th century section of the exhibition. The affected items are noted in red font in the Object List and in the Graphics List, respectively, for that section. The exhibition under construction, America On The Move, is currently scheduled to open in November 2003 and the material removed from Lighting A Revolution should be reinstalled by then.

In 1998, General Electric Lighting Company donated to the Smithsonian an assortment of archival material including a group of ink blotters used for advertising. Dating from the early 20th century, these blotters are an interesting look at lamp technology in that era and different approaches GE took in promoting their product. A selection of eighteen blotters has been added to our History Files. Each blotter is linked to an enlarged view that also contains more detailed information.

A revised introductory page has been posted to better explain the relation of this website to the physical exhibition, and to emphasize the "Five Steps of Innovation."

We have updated our lighting links and added links to a variety of museums and historical sites. The bibliography has been reorganized by separating the books and journals into history and technology sections, and by reformatting the page.

There's a new Curator's Choice for Spring 2003. The earlier Curator's Choices remain accessible through both the site map and links at the bottom of the Spring 2003 page. We have also added references for additional information to each Curator's Choice.

We have added comments to the script of the 19th century preconditions section explaining the relation of Joseph Henry's electromagnet to the overall exhibition, and about the closure of the static electricity exhibition First Views.

Visitors who may have bookmarked so-called “deep links” to various pages of this site should be aware that those links may no longer function. We have cleaned-up the site's file structure. No pages were removed, however.

Finally, we acknowledge the passing of Hugh Francis Hicks, DDS (1923-2002) of Baltimore, Maryland. A lifelong collector of light bulbs, he established the Mt. Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting in 1963 to showcase his unique collection of lamps and lighting devices. Over the years he donated time and expertise to the Smithsonian, helping to catalog bulbs in the national collection and instructing museum staff in the minute details of antique lighting. Dr. Hicks donated objects to the Smithsonian (including several exhibited in Lighting A Revolution) as well as to museums in Britain and Japan. His knowledge and his friendship will be missed.


July 2001:

Dr. Paul Israel (an editor of the Edison Papers Project and author of a recent biography of Edison) pointed out that we erred in applying the term "muckers" to Edison's Menlo Park team in our section on 19th Century Invention. While Edison workers did refer to themselves by that name, they did so only later during Edison's iron-ore experiments at Ogdensburg, New Jersey, not during the time of the lamp experiments.

Israel explains: "The term was not used at Menlo Park. It is a term from the West Orange Laboratory at the turn of the century and clearly derives from the ore milling work–the binder used to make the iron-ore briquettes was called muck." (For more information about Edison's iron-ore project, see the Smithsonian exhibition Edison After Forty: The Challenge of Success).

We changed the subtitle of that part of the page from "The Muckers" to "The Supporting Cast."

In addition, we have updated our lighting links and added a new Curator's Choice for Summer 2001. The earlier Curator's Choices remain accessible through both the site map and links at the bottom of the Summer 2001 page.

We have also added a link on the Policy Statements page that allows you to review the Smithsonian's web privacy policy.


October 2000:

Aside from routine maintenance we have made three substantive changes in this update. The first is the addition of this What's New page. Given that Web material is being cited in reports and scholarly publications, we hope that a record of what has been altered on this site will prove useful.

By way of example–the second change in this update involves a response to constructive criticism received from a scientist regarding our explanation of the halogen cycle. After consulting with Dr. Edward Zubler (the former GE chemist who originally researched the chemistry of tungsten halogen lamps) we revised the drawing of the halogen cycle shown in the "Technology Files" section (th.htm). We also added a much more detailed description of the halogen cycle to the pertinent webnote (webnote 7-1).

The third change to the site has been the addition of a new Curator's Choice for Fall 2000. The earlier Curator's Choice remains accessible through both the site map and the bottom of the Fall 2000 page.


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