Lutron is an interesting company. For 40 years, they've made their business not so much about traditional lighting (lamps, bulbs, and fixtures), but about what they call "lighting control." For a long time that meant mainly dimmers and automated systems, but as consumers have become more aware of saving energy, Lutron has tried to corner the market in green systems like occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting.Their product range touches on pretty much every aspect of lighting control, from simple plug-in dimmers for table lamps to whole-home systems. They also carry special shades that can be automated to "harvest" daylight when it's needed and screen the sun when it's getting too hot. Some of their most sophisticated products allow users to program their own personal lighting, security, and cooling systems and control them by remote. Pricing ranges from $11 for a table lamp dimmer to several thousands of dollars for whole-home systems.
The Lutron story began in the late 1950s in Joel Spira’s makeshift lab in Brooklyn, New York. By 1961, when Joel and Ruth Spira incorporated Lutron Electronics, they knew that lighting control could contribute to society in multiple ways. Dimmers were both elegant and useful, and they allowed people to control their lights as never before.
Dimmers were practical too. They saved energy, and the more you used them, the more energy they saved. With energy costs already going up, the Spiras believed that the energy-saving aspects of the new invention would ensure the long-term appeal of lighting controls.