Light Bulb Factory Closes; End of Era for U.S. means More Jobs Overseas

bulbBy Peter Whoriskey

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

“Now what’re we going to do?” said Toby Savolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, making bulbs now deemed wasteful.

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

Read the rest of this story at the Washington Post.

35 Responses to Light Bulb Factory Closes; End of Era for U.S. means More Jobs Overseas

  1. Dan McGrath September 9, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    Have to comment on this. GE is not the victim here, as the article implies. They pushed for this energy bill, banning one of their products in favor of a more expensive one. Obviously, the Edison bulb was not a big money maker for them, and they had to push out the other manufacturers before going 100% CFL (in China – how’s that green jobs concept working out?!). Also notice, they were the last US manufacturer to stop making Edison’s bulbs.

    What’s sticking in my craw is that another innovation in the field of incandescent lighting may have been forthcoming, but no one will even pursue it now, because our all knowing government has deemed those technological pursuits illegal. Astounding. What a strange world we’re living in. We’ve come so far, just to be cast back into dark age feudalism and superstition masquerading as science.

    What we now call science looks a lot like the religious dogma of old that was used to control the simple people.

  2. Rob N. Hood September 9, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Bit o’conspiracy in your rant there Dan…

    This is an example of, and only of, the elite “industrialists” (global, there isn’t anything other than that now) shipping jobs to where they can pay their workers crap, and use them up and throw them away. That is what needs to be changed, that is what people should be angry about, not some partisan fantasy about Green Technology being the boogeyman.

    • Dan McGrath September 9, 2010 at 8:31 am #

      I’ve covered CFLs and GE in in the past here at I think the nefarious nature of the energy bill banning Tommy Edison’s light bulbs has been made pretty clear.

      • Rob N. Hood September 11, 2010 at 9:19 am #

        Really, how so? That GE is scamming consumers? That is the main job of capitaism. The winner is the one that gets away with it. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t recall much in the way of proof re: some kind of conspiracy via GE.

        Anyway, it is acceptable no doubt, via the credo of business as usual. Yes?

        • Rob N. Hood September 15, 2010 at 7:24 am #

          You didn’t respond to my rebuttle that this is nothing more than business as usual for large corporations and the elite. Do you really think GE just shot itself in the foot accidentally? Of course not. They, like all other corporations, take minimal risk for large reward, everything else be damned. This is what I havd been beating you people over the head with since day one and you still don’t get it. Blame environmentalists/greenies…?! Phuuulease! If yoyu beleive that then you are very gullible.

    • US Veteran October 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

      Bit of conspiracy “theory” eh? Tuskeegee syhpillis experiments, STD testing in Central America,and radiological experiments on Veterans. Were those theories too? So called global governance has been pushed openly now by the likes of the Rockafellers, Rothschilds,etc. FOR DECADES! And if you call their population control desires much less than efforts a theory your either asleep,a illuminist, or an imbecile! Makes perfect sense to destroy the US economy and job market and then say ,”oh well this isn’t working, but to “save” the planet and “help” the economy we need to become part of a global government! Some call it the New World Order, but if you think about it its the same elitist bastards pushing this agenda. The 2012 UN small arms conferance with Hlllary is going to be interesting! After all the US being a nation of better than 100 million gun owners has been more than a little impetiment to their plans. No theory, not any more the Council on Foreign Relations own webpage has a “global goverment” link! Educate yourself before you start telling others they are getting a little paranoid! We have damn good reason to be! And to those who are traitors to the US Constitution and the American people? May they be dealt with soon!

  3. Hal Groar September 9, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    I think this is a perfect example of passing a bill with good intentions and no clue to the ramifications. Nobody bothered to check where they were going to build the CFL’s. Bachman is the only congresswoman saying anything about the idioacy of this law. When they passed this bill I promptly went out and purchased a ton of the incandescent bulbs. I still buy them now when I go to a hardware store. I am set for years! They are cheap and SAFE! I wonder when the lightbulb police will give me a ticket for lighting my home (especially outside of my garage) with these.

  4. Heath September 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    I practice my own form of environmental protest by tossing all fluorescent light bulbs in the trash at all hotels I stay at. They suck. Incandescent people – it’s the technology of the future.

    • Rob N. Hood September 15, 2010 at 7:26 am #

      How’s that steam car working out for ya? Trash any hybrid cars lately? Crazy people in the world.

  5. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD September 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    If I am told by guvment officials to change my light bulbs, I will refuse. They will have to lock me up because I will not comply. No way, no how. When I run out of light bulbs, I will use candles! I will never, ever use CFL bulbs. The amount of electricity I use is no ones business but mine. I am the one who pays for the electricity I use, and I use as much as I can afford to use. End of story. This subject just infuriates me!!!!! LEAVE MY LIGHT BULBS ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Rob N. Hood September 11, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    Wow. You folks freak out about the strangest things.

    • Rob N. Hood September 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

      Kinda screwy even… ha

  7. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD September 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    So the government over-reaching into our (that’s all of ours including yours) homes to tell us what kind of light bulbs we have to use is a strange thing to freak out about? So it’s just fine with you for the government to do that? I have no problem with you, or anyone else who WANTS to use CFL bulbs using them. I do have a problem with the government mandating the use of any product because it takes away our FREEDOM to choose. So what’s next? Is the government going to mandate that we all have to buy GM vehicles? Are they going to mandate the temperature that we set our thermostat to? This is a foot in the door to removing freedom Rob, it’s not about light bulbs.

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD September 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

      Well? Nothing to say about that Rob? Of course, responding to that would reveal that you are in favor of the government doing such, and more. Why would you want to reveal that?

    • Rob N. Hood September 18, 2010 at 7:30 am #

      The Jack-booted light bulb troops are headed your way !!!!!

      • US Veteran October 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

        Yes Rob and I have more than enough ammo for all of the light bulb stasi you can send! [I don’t like Govenment Supremist brainwashed hack[s]! [edited personal remarks]. I suppose also that your life is to valuable to resist and fight back? [What about] the Cop who comes to save your sorry hide, his lifes worth what about $30,000 a year to you? [edited] What’s the differance between a Socialist and a Communist? The Socialists don’t have all the guns YET! Thank GOD we are armed or we would all be wearing mao suits by now!

        [Please review comment posting rules – editor]

  8. Rob N. Hood September 14, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    You are a chicken little. That much is obvious. You are focusing on tiny issues while the really big hurtful ones go unnoticed by the likes of you.

    At the top of the pyramid, there is no enforcement, since it would require asking the enforcers to police themselves.

    Like a fish, the rot starts at the head.

    So the banks that robbed themselves, robbed each other, financed what the FBI calls a “mortgage fraud epidemic,” while gouging their customers with excess fees, phony charges and inadequate monitoring of fraud in individual accounts, are getting off Scott-free.

    Well not exactly free, after having been given bailouts and loans for almost nothing that they can then pass on loans at higher fees to you and me. Despite it all hundreds of banks are waiting to fail.

    They remain a business that not only operates with little accountability or transparency, it is actually stealing more money from the tax payers than anyone or anything else.

    Ain’t nothing free about this free market.

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD September 15, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      Rob, FAIL!!!!!!!!
      We going to rehash this again? This is about the mortgage bubble that was created when lenders were forced to give loans to people who had no business borrowing, who had no means to repay the loans, under threat by the government to have their ratings reduced. It was the democrats that wanted to give people “affordable housing” who came up with laws to force banks to give out these loans to “unqualified” people. How do you get a loan to someone who doesn’t qualify? Simple, you fudge the applications to make them appear qualified. That is really what you are talking about here, but you are so convinced that it’s just the “evil” banks out to screw everyone and make a profit by stealing it that you can’t see what is really going on with it.
      Look deeper Rob, you will see that I am right about this.

  9. Rob N. Hood September 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Grasshopper- you don’t dig deep enough. Yes, it was the bankers fault they knew what they were doing, but money is money and greed is greed. And you seem to forget George Bush’s cheerleading for the “ownership society.” You only scratch the surface and think you are smarter than others. Talk about missing the forest for the trees…

    To wit-

    How did it Happen?

    (a) The founders believed an informed electorate was necessary for our democracy. However, between 1830-50 the richest 1% eliminated gov’t printing income to news publishers. This made media survival dependent upon the approval of large advertisers, whose favored news providers have been the ones which produce an angry and disinformed electorate. This because a mob is easier to manipulate than an informed electorate. This simple tactic has worked to get the American electorate to vote against their own interests, and for the interests of the richest 1%, about 3/4 of the time, for the past 175 years.

    (b) FDR passed laws to control the richest 1%, including a 90% tax on them. It took the richest 1% 60 years to tear down FDR’s laws. The richest 1% crashed the US economy about a decade after the Civil War, about a decade after WWI and about a decade after they finally tore down FDR’s laws that partially controlled them.

  10. Rob N. Hood September 17, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    “Nice middle class you got here,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. “It would be a shame if something happened to it.” O.K., he didn’t actually say that. But he might as well have, because that’s what the current confrontation over taxes amounts to. He’s trying to get what he wants by pointing a gun at the heads of middle-class families, threatening to force a jump in their taxes unless he gets paid off with hugely expensive tax breaks for the wealthy. Politics ain’t beanbag, but there’s a difference between playing hardball and engaging in outright extortion, which is what Mr. McConnell is now doing. And if he succeeds, it will set a disastrous precedent. President Obama is proposing legislation that would keep tax rates essentially unchanged for 98 percent of Americans but Republicans are threatening to block that legislation, effectively raising taxes on the middle class, unless they get tax breaks for their wealthy friends. So should Democrats give in? On the economics [and] politics, the answer is a clear no. Threats to punish innocent bystanders unless your political rivals give you what you want have no legitimate place in democratic politics. Giving in to such threats would be an economic and political mistake, but more important, it would be morally wrong — and it would encourage more such threats in the future. It’s time for Democrats to take a stand, and say no to G.O.P. blackmail.

  11. guest September 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    A. Rob sounds like [personal comment deleted by editor]
    B. Will these new-fangled things give me cancer becuase if not I fail to see what the panic is about.

  12. Rob N. Hood September 27, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Just say no to the middle class, vote Republican.

  13. paul wenum September 27, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    I’m “middle class” and I vote my beliefs. Strongly suggest you do same be it republican, democrat or independent. Remember November 2, 2010!!!

  14. Rob N. Hood September 28, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    I know you are middle class- that’s what makes it all the more sad and pathetic. But no matter, like all empires this one too shall fall, (it is crumbling now) and then maybe the next generation or the one following will be able to create a much better America. I just wish I could live to see it, but I’m sure I won’t.

  15. paul wenum September 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Based upon your response no wonder we have a problem in America with low voter turnout. I’m not a quitter, you seem to be. Wake up and vote your convictions. What do you have to lose? An hour of your precious time? You spent that here!

  16. Rob N. Hood September 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    You don’t like quitters? Do you Like Sarah Palin?

  17. Rob N. Hood September 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    My favorite operant conditioning study is one in which a rat’s pleasure center in the brain has an electrode planted in it. The rat has access to a lever in which it can continually stimulate this center. This would be like if you could give yourself one continous orgasm. Unfortunately, the rat will continue pressing the lever to its own detriment, and starve to death. It will choose orgasm over food all the time! Often Liberals question why the rich and the corporations choose tactics that will eventually destroy them by destroying their community and national economy. BF Skinner would say they are so reinforced by money and/or power that they are like the rat with the continous orgasm. They will choose more money to their own (but mostly everyone else’s) detriment all the time.

  18. paul wenum September 30, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    Beg to differ. Are you talking about lemming following their “Leader” off the cliff??? that’s what you see in today’s society. If you cannot see suggest that you check your eye doctor if he/she still has a business and can make any money after the Obamacare fiasco that will bury our health care system in the coming years.

  19. Rob N. Hood October 1, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Very good right-wing talking point there Mr. Lemming.

  20. paul wenum October 1, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I look before I leap and always look behind me. I’ve never been a follower, nor will I ever be. Lemmings are cute aren’t they until they take “The Leap.” Think about it.

  21. Rob N. Hood October 2, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I thought about it and you still make no sense Mr. Lemming Leader

  22. paul wenum October 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Nobody makes sense to you other than you. Never changes.

  23. paul wenum October 17, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Seriously think about what I said. Someday you will understand. Apparently not today. Maybe in the next few years? Time will tell.

  24. Rob N. Hood October 28, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Heavens to Betsy, do you people want the old crank-up phone back too?! How about the horse and carriage?! Slingshots instead of shot guns??!!

    (talkin’ ’bout the evolution of the light bulb)

  25. paul wenum October 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Evolution? You must be kidding. Love the old bulbs. Hate mercury. Eat fish three times a week and I’m warned of the mercury content. Bust a new bulb and bring in the EPA with full body armor!!!i!!! Give us a break with your weak argument. Environmentally friendly? Yeah right!

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