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Clever German Bypasses Light Bulb Ban with "Heatball" Space Heater

Here's an interesting way to get around a ban on incandescent light bulbs: Market them as space heaters.

Okay, this isn't very serious, but I can't resist this story. A couple of German "entrepreneurs" (or artists, maybe?) led by Siegfried Rotthaeuser figured out, at least temporarily, how to bypass the EU's ban on traditional incandescent bulbs. They started importing 75-Watt and 100-Watt bulbs from China and marketing them as space heaters. Because, after all, inefficient incandescent bulbs release 95 percent of their energy as heat, and only 5 percent as light. So Rotthaeuser actually has a pretty good point.

They call it the HEATBALL® and the clever piece of runaround marketing goes like this:

A HEATBALL® is not a light bulb, but fits into the same socket!



The most original invention since the electric light bulb! Although a HEATBALL® is technically very similar to a light bulb, it is a heater rather than a source of light.


Now I say "temporarily" because it seems as if their operation has been shut down, and their second shipment of light bulbs space heaters is being held at customs. They've got a very strongly worded open letter to the authorities atop their website right now, insisting that this was always a "protest action limited in time and in volume," and that it is not a true commercial endeavor.

Before you go assuming that these guys are anti-environment, it's worth noting that a good chunk of the proceeds from sales of the HEATBALLS® is going to a forest preservation project. A note on the website explains:

A heatball is electrical resistance, used as a heater. Heatball is a campaign. Heatball is an opposition against regulations being passed that bluntly ignore the most basic democratic principles as well as bypassing parliamentary procedures, effectively muzzling the common law man. Heatball also resists unreasonable measures supposedly protecting our natural environment. How can we be made to believe that using energy saving lamps will save our planet, while at the same time the rain forests have been waiting in vain for decades for effective sustainable protection?


While I applaud the clever thinking, I do hope that nobody here in the United States gets a similar idea. I hate to think of what the courts would have to say about a traditional incandescent bulb actually being brought to market as a heating device.

Thanks to Michael Cote for the heads up on this "most original invention."

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