Made in Minnesota: Bright idea

Why 3M’s first-ever light bulb won a Gold Edison Award this spring

Remember old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs? Oh wait, they're still around. But eventually they'll feel more like relics, thanks to regulations phasing them out in some parts of the world and replacement offerings like the 3M LED Advanced Light, made in New Ulm. Sure it costs more  you'll pay about $25  but it also lasts longer. Much longer. With normal usage, expect to replace it in a quarter century.

Even the way it shines is better, with a more uniform distribution of light. Developed with heat management technologies and multiple layers of optical film, the light earned 3M a Gold Edison Award in the Lighting category in April  not bad for the company's first bulb. An award named after Thomas Edison is only appropriate, considering that in 1879 he invented the incandescent light bulb.

What would the famous tinkerer make of a 2013 successor that's based on light-emitting diodes? Nobody knows, of course, but he could certainly screw it into the electric lamps of the late 1800s because it's compatible with the regular bulb sockets that were already standard back then.