Masonic Light Bulb

May 2001


I picked this bulb up from the Little Shop o'Mathoms, partly as an electrical curio and partly to amuse a friend with Masonic connections.

Masonic light bulb, unlit Masonic light bulb, lit

The Masonic symbol is the usual square and compass. Being American, it also includes a large G, standing for Great Architect.

These novelty neon bulbs are more common in the USA. Neons need around 90V to strike, which is compatible with US supply voltages of 110V. Although the UK had a wide range of supply voltages at this time, most were over 200V.

Bulb and hand-generator base

Naturally I needed to test that it worked, so I fitted a suitable bulb holder to an old GPO bellset ringer 26 (in its rather lovely art deco case). These generators produce a nominal 75V output, so the neon tends to flash and fire rather unevenly - it's rather cute though.

Original box, front

The original box is a little tattered, but still legible.

Original box, back

Indian Bulbs

I've since acquired some Indian-made neon bulbs; Ganesh, Lakshmi, an Om and even a Swastika.

Photos when I have the chance

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