The History of Lutron®

By: CableOrganizer®


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When Joel and Ruth Spira founded the Lutron® Electronics Company in 1961, the world had no idea this small firm in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania would revolutionize lighting control around the globe in the decades to come. It all started with physicist Joel Spira's invention of the solid-state dimmer, something he conceptualized in a spare bedroom in the couple’s Manhattan apartment in 1959. He had been fascinated with the silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR) technology he learned about in World War II to take charge of electrical power.

His lighting control device has become affectionately, and less-technically, known as the dimmer switch, which at the time he developed to create lighting ambience that would also save energy, with products that have become known for their durability. Lutron® reports that 60% electricity savings could be possible through the use of their dimmers, depending on the type of products used, whether it is from personal dimming controls, sensors, window shading, and other Lutron® products.

Prior to Lutron® developing the solid-state dimmer, the only way to vary lighting levels was to use inefficient, heat-producing rheostat dimmers, or bulky autotransformers (also known as variacs). However, all of that changed when Joel Spira unveiled his new solid-state technology; thanks to the fact that this new dimmer had a compact design and switched electrical current on and off 120 times per second. The Lutron® dimmer switch not only fit inside a standard electrical wallbox but saved energy as well.

Lutron® introduced itself to the world with state-of-the-art, sophisticated and elegant products, a legacy that continues today. The round Capri® dimmer was the first product the Spiras launched in co-founding their company. The Nova® was released a decade later as a linear slide that could be used not only to dim lighting but to control fans and switches. More products followed with the RanaX® in 1989 that could be used to adjust lighting remotely from a bed or recliner with infrared technology. The NeTwork® was a 1990 concept that became a central “network” for a home’s array of dimming switches. Later network-style dimming products followed, including the customizable GRAFIK Eye® (1993) and the RadioRA® (1997), which operated wirelessly using radio frequencies.

Some of the later, traditional but more modernized dimmers included the favorite single-touch Vierti® (2007) and the eco-dimming Skylark® (2008).


Over six decades later, Lutron® is still at the forefront of lighting control innovation, and with over 2,000 worldwide patents and 15,000 products, they're no longer limited to electric lights. The company has also developed automated control systems for customizing levels of natural light by raising, lowering, sliding out and retracting a variety of drapes, shades, lighting, and controls of single room and whole building systems. The original-style rotary and sliding dimmers are among the recognizable longtime products that people can still find from the company. But more sophisticated systems can now be operated with the touch of a button, whether that is an intelligent switch on a wall or through a smartphone. The Lutron® control systems have also expanded to handle greater controls beyond lights and shades, from security, to audio-visual, to climate control, and more.

Although still headquartered in eastern Pennsylvania, Lutron is now a global entity, with offices worldwide, including in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai. But despite their growth and international status, Lutron® maintains the personal touch of a small company, with it still family-run and privately-held, operating on the principles that Joel and Ruth Spira founded it on. Among those fundamentals are to take care of customers, the company, and employees. The Spiras additionally prided themselves in creating innovative, quality products that would be an excellent value for customers who purchased them.


Not only is Lutron® a household name, but it also turns out that a few of their clients are, too. Lutron® products have been used to create custom lighting schemes in many famous businesses and homes, from the White House to Windsor Castle, as well as residences and commercial locations of all sizes across the globe.

Ready to add Lutron® products to your own home or workplace? Shop at CableOrganizer® for Lutron® dimmers, light switches, and designer-style wall plates.

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