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The lightbulb pictured below is in a ceiling lamp fixture in the United States and is probably original to the house, meaning approximately 1985 vintage.

There is no lettering or labeling I can see on the bulb, just the faint bossing on the lamp itself ("Nadair"?) to identify it.

The glass is fairly small, no more than a few inches long, much less than an inch wide. There is no obvious direction to tug or twist it that releases it, although I've been reluctant to pull hard for fear of breaking it in my hand. (On that note, this fixture is old and it took quite a bit of brute force to pry the one extendable claw out to release the cover.)

The white plastic pieces seem to be part of the fixture itself.

What is this thing, and what is the trick to removing it?

It has now been removed, and is the subject of the third image and the new question, "Did I break this thing?" But I can get it to a hardware store, now, which is more than half the battle.

Width Length Removed

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    Related question: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/63208/…
    – Matthew
    Mar 25 at 14:20
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    Totally off topic, but I keep thinking of "how many X does it take to change a light bulb" jokes :)
    – MiG
    Mar 25 at 15:54
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    With a Kleenex otherwise the oils from your hands degrade the bulb.
    – Mazura
    Mar 26 at 23:41
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    You would find one of those bulbs in any "dorm-room special" floor-standing torchiere lamp sold in the 1990s, and in fact the circular hole in the bracket located above the bulb (along with the fact that it's clearly mounted off-center from the ceiling box, and was never meant to be used with one) makes me think this fixture was repurposed from one of those. (Edit: Maybe not off-center. That weird screw/protrusion at the very top of the first photo threw me off. ...Still ghetto-looking, tho. Replace the fixture!)
    – FeRD
    Mar 27 at 15:27

3 Answers 3

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It's a double-ended halogen lamp. Looks a lot like a T3 size but I'm having trouble locating a picture of one so short in length as yours appears.

The ceramic blocks at the ends of the lamp conceal a spring loaded terminal. Push the lamp sideways (along its axis) toward one of the blocks, then lift the opposite end of the lamp out of the holder.

Sometimes the fixture terminal and the lamp terminal can stick together. You could try twisting the lamp just a little or inserting some tool into the end block to help separate them.

One might argue this is all a bit academic.. replace the entire fixture with a quality fluorescent or LED model!

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    do not touch the new one with bare hands ... skin oils will kill it
    – jsotola
    Mar 25 at 5:18
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    If you can spare half an hour I would still consider replacing it with a LED fixture, the electricity saved alone will already make it worthwhile.
    – MiG
    Mar 25 at 8:20
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    Shopping is off topic here, but just to address the budget comment. I searched Amazon for ceiling light fixtures, and a UL listed LED fixture (or one for traditional screw in lamps, which can use LED “bulbs”) aren’t much more than I think you’d pay for that halogen bulb.
    – Tim B
    Mar 25 at 12:21
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    @Reader If it's actually a standard size like the 78 mm R7S, you can just go buy a compatible LED bulb, no need to replace the whole fixture.
    – TooTea
    Mar 25 at 15:01
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    Yes, 100% go LED! Incandescent fixtures, especially halogens, in addition to just being wasteful, make SO much heat. I can't count the number of crufty old octo-boxes I've seen where the wires have been so heat-scorched by halogen or incandescent bulbs that the insulation just shatters like glass - it makes a real mess to sort out if you ever want to change the fixture. Best to nip that problem in the bud and use a cool lamp like an LED instead.
    – J...
    Mar 25 at 17:04
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Just to add a bit of terminology info from the web to Greg's excellent answer:

T type halogen bulbs feature the letter “T” to indicate their tubular shape, followed by a number which specifies the tube's diameter.in eighths of an inch. For instance, a T3 bulb is a tubular halogen bulb which has a diameter measuring 3/8ths of an inch.

An R7S is a double ended, recessed single contact (RSC) linear halogen lamp measuring either 118 mm or 78 mm. Some less common lengths are 189 mm, 254 mm and 331 mm. These lamps have a T3 shape on an RSC/R7S base. These can also be known as J type and T type lamps. (From an Amazon QA comment)

Your bulb looks like it's probably 78mm long. BTW, yes, the photo shows a broken bulb.

Also, it's VERY important to make sure the wattage of the bulb is lower than the safe limit for the fixture -- otherwise a fire can result, as these bulbs get VERY hot.

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  • I also thought it's an R7S,but OP's photo shows it to be a little under 3 inches long. That's nowhere near 118 mm, actually not even 78 mm. If it was any of these common sizes,OP could easily buy a drop-in replacement LED bulb.
    – TooTea
    Mar 25 at 7:39
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    @TooTea Thanks for catching my mistake, I meant 78mm. OP's photo shows the ceramic ends broken off and it looks to me that with them in place it would be slightly over 3 inches. I could be wrong.
    – Armand
    Mar 25 at 7:43
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    If the ceramic ends broke off when removing the bulb, it's possible that the fixture was also damaged in the process. I'd recommend a careful inspection of this before replacing the bulb. If the fixture is at all damaged, that's another point in favor of replacing it with a fluorescent/LED fixture. Mar 25 at 14:19
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Last time I bought halogen bulbs like that, 1000bulbs dot com.

If that's a 100W bulb (1000bulbs carries 100W, 150W, 250W), it's $2 (for the bulb; considerably more for the power to run it, if it sees significant use; an enormous amount more if you have a fire):

Plusrite 3350 - 100 Watt - T3

Handle the new bulb only with a clean tissue or equivalent, to avoid skin oils damaging the bulb.

I would not worry excessively about the ceramic ends breaking off of the old bulb, though do inspect the fixture prongs for corrosion and wipe them clean. The bulb obviously gets extremely hot during operation, but transfers a limited amount of heat to the socket.

Inspect the fixture prongs with the breaker off; no guarantee that mis-wiring doesn't have 120V on one end.

I second the "put in an LED fixture if you can" comments. You will save money and it will be safer, unless you need the heat for some reason.

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  • +1 for the heat point - sometimes it is useful.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27 at 19:53

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