Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Bulbs and ovens
About two years ago, we began switching all our bulbs to CFL. Everytime a bulb popped, we'd replace it with one considered more environmentally friendly. Today, the first CFL bulb flickered and died. Two years seems like a pretty good run, but considering these lights are seven times the price of normal ones, I doubt if it makes economic sense to use them.
Having said that, I was very annoyed by the frequency with which the standard bulbs had begun to blow. I thought there was an issue with the wiring, which is why the CFL test was important; it proved it was the bulbs and not the wires that were dodgy.
Did light bulbs always die so early? Or are they just not making them as well as they used to? There are just so many products now that seem built to malfunction in short order: printers, DVD players, washing machines, not to mention small things like faucets. Then there are services that keep breaking down: satellite TV, broadband, stuff like that. There seems always something in the house that isn't working the way it should do.
I suppose I shouldn't be nostalgic about the old days; partly because one simply didn't notice things going wrong when one was a child, since that was someone else's responsibility; partly because there were far fewer appliances in homes, and that's not a state to which I wish to return; and partly because government services were poor enough to leave indelible memories: telephones that went dead at crucial times, gas cylinders that didn't arrive for weeks after they were ordered.
There are, however, some products that force one to exclaim, "They just don't build them like that any more". My favourite is the Belling oven. Tens of thousands of Indians travelled to England after independence, and every single one of them returned with a Belling.
One sees them in a number of homes fifty or sixty years later, still working, though perhaps not as efficiently as they did when brand new. Our Belling was replaced by a BPL Sanyo over a decade ago, but sits in a corner of the kitchen, used to brown pie crusts which don't acquire the perfect colour in the newer machine; and for simple tasks like grilling cheese toast.