Inventors: Sulphur Lamp Electrodeless Plasma Lamps
Michael Ury (to the right) with Lee
Anderson and the five demonstration Sulfur lamps in 1994
"That was the longest five minutes
of my life when those things were turned on."
-- Michael Ury, 1997 interview
The Sulfur Lamp, a microwave-powered electrodeless
lighting system, benefited from two high profile demonstrations
that helped the technology gain exposure and credibility. Michael
Ury (at right in this photo) and his associates at Fusion Systems
invented this radically new lamp in 1990, but faced a market
reluctant to chance the technology. Given the system's potential
for saving energy, Lee Anderson (at left) decided to lend Ury
As lighting program manager in the U.S. Department
of Energy's Office of Building Technology, State and Community
Programs, Anderson was responsible for evaluating new lighting
technologies. He arranged for two sulfur lamps to be installed
outside DOE's headquarters building, and three more to be installed
inside the National Air & Space Museum's Space Gallery. In
the photo, Anderson (who died in 1998) and Ury are showing off
those five lamps prior to installation in October 1994.
In the quote above, Ury referred to the timing
during the ceremonial activation of the demonstration lamps.
While he was confident his lamps would work, if a missed stage-cue
left the band playing in the dark, it would have been rather
The lamps started on cue however, and the demonstration
succeeded in introducing the technology to a large audience,
as well as building valuable field experience with the lamps.
The three NASM demonstrators remained in service until September
1996, the two DOE units a year longer. All five were replaced
with production models.
Demonstration unit #1 consisting of the projector,
power supply, and air compressor was transferred from NASM to
the Electricity & Modern Physics Collections of the National
Museum of American History after removal. The other four demonstrators
were returned to their original configuration (as industrial
ultraviolet curing systems).