T.M.P , I collected over 1500 lamps in Viet Nam in 1993. When I came back through Changi Airport in Singapore my boxes of lamps were separated from all the other passengers' luggage and on a separate luggage carousel. Two customs officials asked me what was inside, I told them, "Electric Incandescent and Discharge Lamps, or more coloquially, Light Bulbs". One replied, "You expect us to believe that?" I replied, "You are the ones with the X-Ray machine, lamps have filaments of tungsten, a metal with K-Absorbtion edges aligned with the radiation from a tungsten anode x-ray tube, so they [the filaments, not the lamps] should be quite opaque and clearly visible...AND, I suspect you have looked inside with this method already." They replied in a cat and mouse sort of way, "Why so many...are you a dealer or an importer?" I could see their angle now, they just wanted to hit me with import tax, despite the fact I was only passing through Singapore. I replied, "If I were a dealer or importer there would be large numbers of just a few types, did you see that on the screen of your machine?" Now I know they had seen many, many different types in there, there were two or three of some types, but largely they were all different. "Why so many different types?" they inquired, I replied, "I'm a collector of lamps and my goal is to try to get one example of every single type that ever existed!", at this that simply said, "Thank You" and walked away!
All those lamps in those boxes were a historico-cultural-political snapshot of all that had gone on in Viet Nam in the previous 50 years, WW-II, the Viet Minh, the French Occupation, the esculating tensions, the increasing American and Soviet involvement, the guts of the VN war, the embargo and aftermath of the 1975 victory of the North...every lamp had a story to tell, a story literally written all over it...
There were two Lumen-Coteco 300 watters from the pre Dien-Bien-Phu French Indochina era, an Anh Sang branded A-60 GLS from Thu-Duc just proir to 1975, southern Vietnamese Dien-Quang lamps
and Northern Rang Dong Lamps
to mention just the main Vietnamese ones.
Then there were all the lamps form those other powers that "poked their bibs" into Viet Nam's affairs...
from many different plants, like those in Seransk
and Riga in the former Latvian S.S.R., now Latvia
Some came from the most remote places you would never in your wildest dreams EVER imaging they could make lamps, like a far flung plant in Myluu-Suu
There were photographic lamps, darkroom lamps, engarger lamps, strdio lamps and searchlight lamps from Japan, U.S., China, Thailand, Soviet Union and Korea.
There were night clubs, press offices, barracks and all sorts of things just simply left behind after the war ended by whatever power was last using them....all with lamps inside...I remember one night club, now a hairdresser, but still frozen in time with all the 70's North American decor, it was as if the G.I.'s had just dropped their stuff and left....shops in Sai Gon sold all sorts of old stuff left behind, one shop was CRAMMED with cameras, another had soldier's helmets, some even had radioactive isotopes like Radium 226 and tritium!
But it is ALL GONE now, Sai Gon is just another "Glass and Aluminium" metropolis like Singapore of Jakarta these days, most of the lighting is semiconductor and all the old interesting stuff has long gone. I still regret not buying MORE lamps in Yersin Market and Nguyen Thai Binh Street...the Narva Woods Glass UV 125 merc, the 10 Chinese Cultural Revolution "A-H1 Clones" I only got one of, the MHN-T, the Ya-Ming Pink Metal Halide....and on they go...
If you EVER find yourself in another country, you hsve to switch your lamp preserving awareness to "150%", and still it ain't enough....I feel you are up in Washington State....pity it ain't Florida, because I'd be jumppn' in to swim to Cuba quick smart before all that fascinating stuff....and lamps evaporate like they did in Sai Gon!