Lutron chairman and founder Joel Spira, the inventor of the solid-state electronic dimmer, has donated several artifacts from the company's 50-year history to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. It is a testament to Lutron's contribution to American business, the lighting industry, and lighting history to have its offerings accepted into the museum's Electricity Collection, which includes such notable items as early experimental light bulbs from Thomas Edison.
In an April 2010 ceremony at the National Museum of American History, to recognize and celebrate the contribution, museum director Brent D. Glass remarked, “The collections are the heart of what makes this museum unique.” Spira himself humbly noted during the presentation, “I never imagined I'd be donating something to the Smithsonian Institute.” Hal Wallace, associate curator of the Electricity Collection is excited about the new materials. “Studying the tools of everyday life, such as light switches, helps us to understand our ever-changing technological society,” he notes.
The donation items include Spira's inventor notebooks, an early version of the Caprí dimmer manufactured by the company in 1964, and the associated advertising materials, as well as other Lutron dimming products. The museum will begin its recording process and hopes to have some of the objects on display within the next two years.