Mazda (light bulb)

Mazda (light bulb)
Ad for the Mazda service mark, 1917.

Mazda was a trademarked name created by the Shelby Electric Company for incandescent light bulbs. The name was used from 1909 through 1945 in the United States by Shelby and later General Electric; Mazda brand light bulbs were made for decades after 1945 outside the USA. The company chose the name due to its association with [Ahura] Mazda, the transcendental and universal God of Zoroastrianism whose name means "[Wise] Lord " in the Avestan language.

In 1909 the Mazda name was created for the Shelby Electric Company's new high end product: tungsten filament light bulbs. The brand was continued after Shelby was purchased by General Electric in 1914 due to its brand recognition and association with higher quality tungsten filament bulbs. General Electric also licensed the Mazda name, socket sizes, and tungsten filament technology to other manufacturers to establish a standard for lighting. Bulbs were soon sold by many manufacturers with the Mazda name attached, including their chief competitor Westinghouse. The company advertised their bulbs with paintings by Maxfield Parrish.

The company dropped the campaign in 1945 in the face of competition from Japan.[citation needed] Today, the Mazda name is mostly associated with the Mazda automobile manufacturer of Japan. The Mazda trademark is now split between the Japanese manufacturer where it applies to automobiles (including automobile lights and batteries) and General Electric for non-automotive uses.

Popular culture

The Mazda light bulb is improbably mentioned in the Johnny Mercer song Glow Worm: "You got a cute vest-pocket Mazda/Which you can make both slow and fazda.[1] It is also mentioned in Here is New York, by E.B. White; in his 1949 essay about New York City, White says the following when describing the ease with which a citizen can carry out a number of errands en route home from work: "...he buys a bunch of pussy willows, a Mazda bulb, a drink, a shine – all between the corner where he steps off the bus and his apartment."In her essay A Photographer In Moscow ( March 1942) Margaret Bourke-White writes " ...It could be held up to the Mazda lamp on the radiator, to expose the prints, but I must conjure up a red-safe-light to develop them."


  1. ^ Web Archive of "The Glow-Worm" lyrics. Retrieved 12 August 2010

External links

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