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Planned Obsolescence

The Centennial Light is the world’s longest lasting light bulb. Installed in 1901, this bulb remains in use today in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department in California. Prior to this notoriety, members of the fire department would leap up and touch this light bulb as a form of good luck before leaving for their next emergency. This light bulb is one of the last traces of a time when Made in America meant a striving toward perfection.

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23.

Apparently, the Shelby Electric Company who manufactured the Centennial Light Bulb made their products too good. While customers were satisfied by this dependable light bulb, production in factories came to a screeching halt. Concerned with their future, Light bulb Manufacturers formed the Phoebus Cartel. The initial meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland. To ensure their future, corporations in this field came up with the concept planned obsolescence.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them], Philippians 4:8.

The byproduct of this business concept is that customers have been literally screwed ever since. Planned Obsolescence is the policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete. Instead of purchasing long lasting reliable products, light bulbs now require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design to limit a bulb’s light to 100 hours of use. Over 100 years later, consumer expectations have plummeted. This is what happens when human beings don’t practice Colossians 3:23 or take pride in their work.

by Jay Mankus

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