Funky blue flurescent lights

Has anybody else noticed the weird flurescent blue lights popping up in fast food joints and post offices and even in the cabs of big-rig trucks? Debate among my friends and I came up with:

  • Mixes with regular flurescent to make colors more “natural”.
  • Produces ultraviolet light that makes vitamin D.
  • Helps combat SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and makes the scut workers happier (and less likely to snap and kill the boss).

Anybody know the real deal?

Constantly curious,

Adam “Inky” Greene

Could you be a little more specific, please?

Maybe you’re talking about the lights used to attract and zap flies, could it be?

I believe those are “cool” fluorescent lights- as opposed to the “warm” fluoros that have more of a pinkish hue.

Fluorescents come in a variety of colors. Different phosphors (that white coating on the inside of the tube) produce different colors. Most common are bluish and pinkish, but I’ve seen green and purple also.

If this is a REALLY intense color, it may be a filter. Rosco, for example, makes clear plastic sleeves to wrap around fluorescent bulbs; you can put a colored gel inside the sleeve if you want “mood lighting”, or a color-correction gel to try to get a more natural white, or a UV filter to cut down on the UV emitted (this can be important for museums).

This thread is taking an odd turn twards the overcomplicated…

The lights of wich I speak are small (about six inches) flurescent tubes surrepticiously hidden, typically in high corners. They have a funky blue color and obviously have SOME purpose. I don’t think they attract bugs (theres no electrical mesh covering the bulb and besides, who’d want to attract buds TWARDS the food preperation area?). You see them in deli’s and fast food joints (in California at least). I asked the employees what they were for but just got slack jawed responses (if they spoke english at all…).

My friend is convinced the blue sheen is to highlight the workers acne, bringing self esteem to a minimum and thus keeping workers for longer than the second week (good as anything I’ve heard so far).

Adam “Inky” Greene

There are blue and yellow tinted fluorescent lights. You have to be careful when ordering lights for a building to order the same number each time. It looks bad when half your lights give off a blue tinge and half a yellow tinge. The color difference is the coating inside. I always perfer the blue myself.

Listen, get yourself a J.C. Whitney’s catalog for car and truck parts. They are dress up lights for the inside of your cab and also some can be put underneath your vehicle to give that floating on air look at night. Relatively cheap and easy to hook up. You can probably find them on the web as well.

I bookmarked this site when I wanted to learn more about short-arc lamps. He has few pages on fluorescent lights. I’m sure the answer to your question is in there somewhere. If not he encourages comments and questions through email. And he has links to other lighting sites.

Reply to funneefarmer

I think the lights you are refering to are real neat, but I believe Inky is refering to the two common different shades you see in room lighting. Inky referes to “fast food joints and post offices”, which do not have these cool running lights.

Add to that the lights in the gym I go to.
Could be to balance out the colors, to be closer to natural light. I gotta go with because it makes a style statement though.

funneefarmer, I think what you are referring to are generally called ‘ground effect’ lights – they’re banned/regulated in some areas because they can make reading license plate numbers next to impossible.

However, and taking a WAG, I think the lights Inky is asking about are probably there to provide low-power ultraviolet light to help in sanitizing food preparation areas. In the case of post offices, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I suppose mail is one of the more germ-ridden things people handle each day – it may be there for the protection of the workers and to a lesser extent, the public. Or, depending on where it’s installed, it may be designed to make certain signs more prominent and easier to read, with an effect similar to ‘blacklights’ in nightclubs, coffeehouses, etc.

Finally! Closure…

After consulting the manager of the friendly local Mc Donalds the results are in and looks like Dif’s got the prize. The conspicously out-of-place lamps are wide-spectrum sodium argon lamps that give off ultraviolet light that retards the growth of harmfull moulds and bacteria in food preperation areas (I should have suspected something from the one at my local deli bieng right above the cutting board).
What they are doing in the post office is anyones guess, but I’d suppose I’d shudder at handeling stamps and envelope flaps that people had licked myself.

Adam “Inky” Greene