A history of the vacuum, outlining business and morality in industry.

Opkomst Youth Festival

Yaarbeurs Hall where television was first introduced to the Dutch public by Philips, 1937


Installation with voice over, approximately 15 min loop, All object on loan from the Energetica Museum of Amsterdam

on kind invite of Mark Kremer

It was found approximately 100years before commercial manufacture that a wire could be brought to incandescence by passing a current through it, although the wire or filament would always burn away in short time.

Only twenty years after this discovery was made a man in the mountains was experimenting with the charging of filaments in glass bulbs. Using platinum as a filament he found the life of incandescent material was far prolonged in an airless environment. His pumps were relatively primitive so in order to create such an airless environment he had turned to the techniques of other men using more elaborate pump systems.

Another 34 years after the man in the mountains had been evacuating bulbs, a man from another country moved to another country, using at the time partly evacuated purfume bottles, with filaments made of carbonised bamboo as lamps. Being new in a foreign country he had many devices through which to adapt to his environment, an environment which for the most part would revolve around capital. His found use for the filaments was hence to illuminate his front window to advertise watches he was selling. This had been the first practical use of the incandescent light.


He had not formally registered his practice and fourty years later had to defend his idea in court against another man claiming application of a similar practice.



One main reason the man had not taken commercial pursuit of the invention had been for lack of a stable supply of electrical current and impurities in conductive material, such as copper at the time. Without the wide spread of electricity, people would have no use for electricity in the home or workplace.

The man with which the other man had dispute in court, had been a protaganist of the idea of electrical proliferation. He was consciously designing in a wholistic manner, creating many formative steps towards a whole system of both power supply and its designation, the light.
Also realised by the inventor was the lack of resource for a material such as platinum to be used as filament. In the event incandescent bulbs would go to manufacture using platinum, the substance would be exhausted in a matter of years.



As a provisional solution, he was later to carbonise cotton to be used as a filament for the lamp, a step leading to later more energy efficient filaments with longer burning times.

An enterprising young engineer, in a country far away from the other mans country, picked up on this process, started a company and purchased a former bugskin factory along with all the machinery to mass-produce such bulbs.
A brother of the person who had started the company joined several years later forming a partnership which would bring the company to full fruition. Holding different positions in manufacture and sales their goals had been to respectively “produce more than the other could sell, or to sell more than the other could produce”.
In the first year of the company machines were purchased and installed, contacts for the delivery of raw materials were made and the first production lines tested. Despite fierce competition the company succeeds in securing a market in the incandescent light bulb industry.

The means of lighting would naturally find numerous applications in the home. Growing beyond mere practical use the lights began to acquire various sentimental and festive values.

The filaments themselves however, still maintained a short life span of a only few hundred hours, this was later to change with the annealing of the filaments at extremely high temperatures, which would not only improve life span but the amount of output in relation to electrical consumption by up to 30 percent.

Within this principle also lay the ability to make bulbs which were considerably darker. Not only due to their glass being painted black but also from the ability to create filaments of varying resistance. These bulbs would come in handy when a person or even a cities whereabouts would have to be concealed in times of war. Light could, for example, not leak from gaps in curtains if the source were both directional, and weak. This would mean aeroplanes or distant troops would not be able distinguish general landscape from potential target.
This also made it possible to determine variety in a light bulbs life span. Producers now had the ability to create bulbs which would die out when they wanted them to, hence the beginning of a malleable industry and market…

Many other attempts were made towards alternative and efficient means of lighting, one of which was the fluorescent tube, a system requiring quite low energy consumption.
In development by a man around thirty years before the company had even formed, the fluorescent tube would only return forty years later, much improved by another man living in another country.
Comprised of a three-part system, the circuitry has at its heart a pair of nodes on opposing ends of a metre long vacuum tube. One node being the positive node, the anode, and the other node being the negative node, the cathode. Early nodes, or electrodes had been made of iron, graphite and even mercury.
Also in a vacuum, a high voltage current flowing between the nodes, (in combination with a chemical and gasses) emits an ultra violate radiation producing light.

Overall, a typical fluorescent lamp would become four to six times more efficient than an incandescent lamp. In order to advertise such a new kind of lamp, various companies had first turned to two venues for installation, one being a chapel, in a distant country, and the other fitted by the company, a low cost household and clothing store in a city not far from here.

A man in a neighbouring country of the company had been experimenting with variations of the anode and cathode several years before the company had even formed.
The mans experiments focused on light phenomena, rays of the cathode and other emissions generated by discharging electrical current in highly-evacuated glass tubes.
One particular combination, a tube with a small cathode and proportionately quite large anode proved to produce strange and unknown effects when charged with a high electrical current.



They were separated from each other by a few centimetres, as opposed to the one metre distance of the early fluorescent tubes.
He noted – while working in his darkened laboratory – that an object across the room began to glow when a tube was charged. It proved to be reacting to the rays emitted from his tube.
He was to find a few weeks later that when backing his wife’s hand with a photographic plate he could capture an image of her internal bone structure.
Being unable to identify the rays he had referred to them as X-rays.

The fact that something reacted across the room and not necessarily in a specific path of the tube would illustrate the principle that the light (and in this case radiation) was emitted in all directions. People practicing exposure were later to suffer serious diseases relating to the radiation. As with the darkened bulbs , which had only come later, the X-ray tube would also have to become directional.
A very short time after the company had even begun manufacturing incandescent bulbs, it had already become involved in the prototyping of the first tubes producing a light capable of penetrating solid objects as discovered by the man.

The fluorescent tube also contains a small bit of mercury and an inert gas, typically argon, kept under very low pressure. As mentioned before, the tube has two electrodes, one at each end, powered by an alternating current.
When charged, the energy flowing between the electrodes changes some of the mercury in the tube from a liquid to a gas. As electrons and charged atoms move through the tube, some of them will collide with the gaseous mercury atoms.
The electrons in mercury release ultraviolet light. Our eyes don’t register ultraviolet photons, so this sort of light needs to be converted into visible light to illuminate the lamp. Phosphors help this process

Phosphors are substances that give off light when they are exposed to radiation. In a fluorescent lamp, the emitted light is in the visible spectrum — the phosphor gives off white light we can see.

Before the discovery and application of phosphors, such a lamp was commonly used for various theraputic purposes. The specific type of radiation was identified as being beneficial for skin treatments, which was coupled with a second, much higher watt light bulb, warming the skin of the patient.

Almost fourty years after the company had formed, four star spangles were used in combination with the three wavy lines contained within a circle, to decorate the circular opening of a loudspeaker. The number of stars used in this early period varied. Examples exist of a single star spangle, a combination of two and a blanket of up to 12.
One of the first places of the logos appearance however, would be on the packaging for the ‘Miniwatt’ radio valve. These particular valves had at first been quite robust and would never really expire. As with commercial incandescent light they were later made to dysfunction after several years in order to retain an industry.

The fore mentioned circle emblem was consistently used on a wider variety of products and, therefore, received trademark status. However, when it was decided to apply for trademark registration, it turned out that a multinational chemical company had a similar circular trademark for the same or similar goods, making it impossible for the company to use its circular emblem and the word within a circle.

So the word of the company, moved outside the circle and into a shield and the logo remained. The chemical company who had the other circular logo was, however no stranger. The company, our company, had also delved in the manufacture of chemicals, more specifically and quite prolifically, in the production of herbicides.

Also having climbed to quite a nimble state, the vacuum had around the same time arrived at a commercially affordable and suitably domestic form, of course now mechanised as opposed to the earlier mercury based drop systems. The function had shifted from that of the contained vacuum, as found in tubes, to the home, a tool for everyday cleaning.

Not having endured to present day, the machines of the time had many different attachments, one of which was a dispenser for insecticide. This was however intended for domestic use and had not been designed for the outdoor spraying of herbicides.
Generally unhealthy, the herbicides manufactured have since evolved from their semi-poisonous and carcinogenic state, a move that led to the dumping of thousands of barrels of the older compound in lakes not far from this city. This would have many negative effects on the surrounding population and environment.

But sound was great, music was abundant and the formats for carrying sound were steadily developing. Almost in return to the root of the company we see a development in many different areas.
The man who stream lined much of the incandescent light bulb industry had also been involved in the recording and playback of sound. He had devised a basic inscription technique, translating difference in sound pressure to wax in order to record sound. The recording time of such a wax cylinder was around two minutes. After quite some work towards the invention he had put it on hold in order to work on the incandescent bulb.

The cylinder evolved through the record and around 60 years after the cylinders first production the Company patented, standardised and released the first compact audio-cassette . They used high-quality polyester tape produced by a company in their neighbouring country. The next year in the country of the man who perfected the phonographic principle, sales began of a dictation machine that used the new cassette tape. The consumer’s demand for blank tape used for personal music-recording was unanticipated by the company and industry in general. Demand was huge and the profits gained from sales grew exponentially.

The means by which to amplify sound had existed for radio long before the birth of the cassette. Like the mini watt radio tube, the company had also been manufacturing various valve tubes for amplification of audio signal, as well as the amplifiers as units themselves.

The constant reinvestment of profit into scientific research of the company enabled the invention of many later products like the videocassette recorder, and the “ image record”, a disc read by laser. This was later to arrive at the compact disc, a digital means of storing numerous documents, video and sound alike in the form of data. This was to revolutionise the means by which people would work, play and share.

The constant reinvestment of profit into scientific research of the company enabled the invention of many later products like the videocassette recorder, and the “ image record”, a disc read by laser. This was later to arrive at the compact disc, a digital means of storing numerous documents, video and sound alike in the form of data. This was to revolutionise the means by which people would work, play and share.


Not so long ago a man took 15 people hostage in the tallest building of the capital city of the companies mother country, a city not far from here. It seemed as though the man was trying to make a particular point. All involved with the incident had found the man to have been psychologically quite unbalanced.
The building had been the headquarters of the company before it moved to another building nearby. Local television reports indicated the man may have chosen the wrong building.Before shooting himself in the head, the media had received a statement from the man in which he said he was resisting “manipulation by sellers of widescreen television sets” who were guilty of “creative nonsense.”