NEWS > BUSINESS > IKEA MAKES MOVE TOWARDS ERASING THOMAS EDISON FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS
IKEA MAKES MOVE TOWARDS ERASING THOMAS EDISON FROM THE HISTORY BOOKS
January 8 2011
Älmhult, Sweden – Thomas Edison was not a good man, at least not in the traditional sense. The commonly accepted portrait of Edison is of a wizened old man, a tinkerer and an inventor working away in quiet, creating things that would eventually
change the world. The truth of Edison and his life are very far from that. True, his innovations helped to change the world but far from the docile inventor, Edison was a businessman who industrialized invention and crushed his competition, establishing himself as a powerhouse of technological advancement.
Edison had teams of people developing the inventions with which he would eventually become synonymous and pushed other inventions, like Nikola Tesla’s alternating current, to the periphery, in a seemingly never endless quest for control over events of the 20th century. A similar story could also be told about Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA whose quest to radically redesign the way people live has had a profound impact on the world and pushed pretty much all competitors to the side. In both cases those efforts have made the innovators at the centre into very wealthy and powerful men, and now it has put them into direct competition with the Swedish company declaring all out war on Edison’s
most famous invention, the incandescent light bulb, and much of his presence from history.
“IKEA is committed to integrating sustainable practices into our range and business practices. As the largest home furnishings store, we are constantly looking at ways to help support our customers with every day environmentally responsible solutions that will improve their lives. Eliminating incandescents is just one simple way for IKEA customers to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases,” said Mike Ward, President of IKEA US. “The time of the incandescent has come and gone. We are obviously glad to have had it as a part of our lives for so long but like everything time moves on and things change, something we are asking all our customers to do.”
The phase out of the light bulbs is in response to The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which will require all bulbs sold in the U.S. to be compact fluorescent by 2014.
“This is undoubtedly a necessary change. The simple fact of the matter is that people will have to change, it is the law, and all companies big and small will have to begin selling more energy efficient bulbs whether they like it or not,” said Scrape TV Business analyst Ken Green. “While it makes sense for IKEA to be ahead of the curve, especially with fluorescent lighting which makes their furniture look really good, this is really just the latest in an ongoing assault on the memory of Thomas Edison with which Kamprad has been apparently obsessed with for a number of years. While it’s smart business, there’s also an underlying motive that is now becoming clear.”
IKEA banned phonograph machines from their stores and offices in 1989.
“Kamprad seems to have had some strange obsession with Edison for a number of years. He has rabidly purchased memorabilia at auctions all over the world and has apparently amassed one of the largest collections on the planet, but he apparently routinely destroys all that material in a massive bonfire, apparently it’s a yearly tradition now,” continued Green. “Obviously he hasn’t allowed his hatred of Edison to interfere with his business but I’m sure he was looking to get rid of incandescent bulbs and now that is one more element of Edison’s legacy that he has been able to get rid of. Now the company just needs to start rewriting the books to suit them.”
Kamprad, 83, is one of the wealthiest people in the world, much like Edison was in his time.
William Ashford, Business Correspondent