Thursday, December 15, 2011

LED killed the fairy light

I noticed something while visiting my local hardware store today: they had no incandescent fairy lights this year. None at all. All LED. It's sad to see such an old technology die.

The "fairy light" is 129 years old this year. Its etymology comes from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe which opened on 25 November 1882. The story is about fairies and someone had the bright idea of festooning some of the principle fairies with miniature light bulbs powered by a small battery. Apparently it caused quite a sensation and the term "fairy light" came into common use ever since.

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