Q. Is the system safety tested and listed for use as a museum lighting system?
A. Fiber optic systems used for exhibit lighting should be tested, listed and approved as portable lamps (cord and plug) or as recessed lighting fixtures (hard wired). We've seen people promoting systems listed as electric sign accessories, swimming pool lights and theater or stage lights. NoUVIR fiber optic systems are listed by ETL, the country's oldest test lab (actually founded by Thomas Edison) for portable lamp use (UL Standard 153 and CSA Standard 22.2) or for use as recessed lighting fixtures (UL Standard 1598). Ask about listings.


Q. How long will they really last and what do they cost?
A. The people who make lamps test them. They publish the average life of their bulbs. If they test under ideal conditions, who can blame them? But, who has ideal conditions all of the time? Average by definition means that half come short and half go over. So, lamp life is going to vary. Some manufacturers list their light levels at high power and their bulb life at low power. You can't have both! Metal halide lamps last a long time, but they can cost $600.00 each and their color goes long before the lamp does. NoUVIR uses a standard popular lamp that costs about $12.00. And, even though it is inexpensive, we do fancy engineering things to make it last a long time. Then, we give you actual field test data, 1500 hours on high, 2000 hours on low. (Yes, that is an average, but it's real data from real installations.)

Energy Savings

Q. Everyone talks about going "green," what are the facts?
A. One NoUVIR projector powers 32 spotlights and can replace 5 to 10 (or more) track lights. Do the math! Figure in reduced maintenance, longer exhibit life (5-20 times), and lower HVAC costs, and gallery savings can reach 70%! (There is a simple worksheet in the "Scientific Research" tab to calculate your actual savings.) Our favorite "war story" is a major museum replacing 700 framing projectors with 40 NoUVIR systems. They doubled the light levels on their gems and minerals and saved over $90,000 a year in energy. That was eleven years ago. Let's see $90+K/year times 11 years is... one million dollars saved!


Q. How hard is it to change a bulb or some other part?
A. One (unpopular) fiber optic projector requires 21 parts to be removed (with tools) before you can remove the lamp. Try that above a case of priceless ancient glass objects or standing on a 14-foot ladder! The slide out drawer in a NoUVIR projector contains all of our electrical parts, including the bulb. You can change a drawer in 10 seconds. Then set the drawer on a table and change the bulb in 60 seconds. This is all without tools; literally it's a snap!


Q. Is it quiet?
A. We think that some companies get their fans from the same people who make the motors for motel air conditioners. One curator said that his projectors sounded like B-52's taking off. He wasn't joking. The unit of sound is the decibel (db). At the lower end of the scale the rustle of leaves in the breeze is about 10 db. An average whisper (that you can hear) is about 20 db, a quiet conversation is 40 db. A NoUVIR projector runs at 7.5 db, less than the rustle of leaves in a breeze. The other guys are 5 to 100 times louder. How can you judge without a sound level meter? Compare NoUVIR to anyone else side by side. The differences will not be subtle!


Q. How much light do you get at what distances?
A. How well can you control the light? Can you aim? Can you focus? What does the beam look like? What color is the light? Will it stay that color? Will the system illuminate what you want, the way you want it illuminated? We publish real data, easy to read measured footcandles at measured distances. A NoUVIR pinspot on a ten-foot fiber will give you exactly 22.5 footcandles of pure white light across a 10" diameter beam at a projection distance of 10 feet. No bull! No measuring intensity in a hot spot in the middle. (We don't have any hot spots.) No data in decibels per km. (Try finding those on your light meter.) Just solid data about solid performance.


Q. What color is the light?
A. Our mantra is "pure-white, stone-cold light." There are numbers to measure color. NoUVIR has a CRI (Color Rendition Index) of 100. That means it's perfect, you can't measure any better. Our color balance is very close to sunlight with no spectral peaks or valleys. Our color temperature is 3200º Kelvin, like a studio photoflood light for type B film. Can you tell the difference between Mars Black and Ivory Black? Probably not, but put things side by side and its easy to say, "I like that color much better." Judge us the same way. Side by side with anyone else and you'll say, "I like NoUVIR much better."


Q. What kind of fiber and how good is it?
A. There are three choices in fiber optic fibers: glass, something called solid core and acrylic. Let's look at each: Glass - No bull, glass isn't really glass. The ends are glass fibers imbedded in epoxy. There are gaps between the fibers. That's where you get the dark spots in glass fiber. It has a transmission loss of 2% a foot. (Epoxy doesn't transmit light very well.) It gets hot. Glass transmits heat (IR) very, very well. Baked epoxy turns yellow. Then it turns black. Then it turns into powder and the ends come apart. Glass fiber is expensive. Glass companies tell you that fiber replacement is a normal part of maintenance. For them it is. Solid core - Solid core doesn't really have a solid core. Think of plastic Jell-O in a harder plastic tube. The Jell-O allows it to bend. The big problem with solid core is that the softeners used to make the Jell-O are photosensitive. They turn yellow. Then they turn brown. Sometimes in only a year or two. It takes a really fat tube of Jell-O to carry much light. It takes a really fat budget to afford fat solid core fiber. Solid core companies will also tell you that fiber replacement is a routine part of maintenance. They'll also tell you to leave a service loop so that you can keep cutting the fiber off as it "carmalizes". Sad. Acrylic - NoUVIR uses high quality, aerospace grade pMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) "acrylic" fiber, the same material used to make jet fighter aircraft canopies. It is strong, clear, and lasts a very long time. Acrylic fibers are the most efficient light transmitters available with a transmission loss of only 0.7% a foot, but opaque to both UV and IR energy. This is really good news for museums and those interested in preservation lighting. At $1.00/ft. our acrylic fiber is inexpensive, a fraction of the cost of glass or solid core. You can melt acrylic fiber, but not with NoUVIR's COLD-NOSE® projector. We take out all of the heat before it gets to the fiber. As a result we guarantee our fiber for TEN YEARS against yellowing or any loss of transmission. Compare that to the other guys!


Q. Read the warranty closely!
A. Do they have one? What does it really say? Some companies won't cover moving exhibits. So what are they saying about their products? Some companies exclude yellowing or loss of transmission or they pro-rate replacement fiber when their fiber fails. They are planning for a failure. (If you use them you should too!) Some companies are really clever in what they say. One very famous plasticwear firm has a lifetime warranty not to "break, chip, crack or peel for the life of the product." What they are really saying is, "It will last until it breaks". Now, read NoUVIR's warranty. "Every NoUVIR Fiber Optic Luminaire is warranted against defects in manufacturing of both structure and optic elements for TEN YEARS..." "The structural and optical components of each NoUVIR COLD-NOSE® projector are warranted against defects in design and manufacture for TEN YEARS..." "NoUVIR acrylic fibers...are warranted against yellowing or loss of transmission for TEN YEARS." "If a drawer fails within ONE YEAR (other than lamp burnout) a telephone call to NoUVIR will bring a replacement by overnight delivery." An impressive product deserves an impressive warranty.


Q. How difficult is a system to install and adjust?
A. Here's a case from our files. Actually it was seventeen new cases in a new exhibit in a new gallery. Seventeen systems, 320 luminaires, 640 lengths of fiber (they used two per luminaire with a Dimmer-Splice™ to adjust each luminaire to a conservation light level of 5-8 footcandles.) Cutting and polishing each fiber by hand (a buffing wheel is faster, but this was simpler), installing them and then aiming, focusing and dimming each luminaire took three people (an executive secretary, an exhibit designer and a salesman) four days. And, it looks beautiful!


Q. will the installed system cost?
A. Base your comparisons on the cost of putting a given light level on a given exhibit or gallery. Some inexpensive projectors come with really expensive fiber. Some systems require a lot of hardware to provide useable light levels. Some require experts (sometimes flown in from overseas) to install or adjust. Compare the systems side by side. NoUVIR is simple and easy to install. A NoUVIR system will evenly provide approximately 15 footcandles over one square foot per 3mm fiber. (Or get 100 footcandles over 20 square inches or 300 footcandles over 7 square inches, or 0.5 footcandles over 100 square feet. We zoom!) However you focus on it, that's about twice the light level of any other fiber optic system. And, a single projector will power 32 individual 3mm fibers.


Q. How will they treat you after they have a P.O.?
A. What are the delivery times? Are they kept? Are they willing to help with conceptual design or particular applications? Who can you talk to if you have a question? What do they charge? We can tell you how great our service is, but everybody claims great service. Ask someone who has been there. Ask for references. Or, call Ruth Ellen, our company president, and talk to her for free. See what kind of help NoUVIR can give.

Delivery Times

Q. How long do I have to wait for the world's best lighting after I place an order?
A. NoUVIR systems are built to order. Custom luminaires and historic lamps can take a few days to build. Really large orders can take a week or two. If you ask for a formal quote, it will include a firm delivery time. Still, NoUVIR's average last year was 2.5 days between receiving and order and shipping that same order. And, we can ship overnight if you want, so it's routine for us to have someone in a hurry order one morning and have hardware the next.


Q. Ask where you can see the lighting system installed and operating.
A. Then go look. Talk to those who installed the system. Talk to those who are using it. Ask hard questions. NoUVIR LIGHTING is the leader in museum fiber optic lighting systems. No one else comes close. Proof of our breakthrough technology is our long list of patents, our comprehensive technical data, our research papers, and our precise photometry. A sample of the rare treasures lit with NoUVIR LIGHTING prove our performance and reputation:
  • Thomas Jefferson's handwritten Declaration of Independence
  • Abraham Lincoln's draft of the Gettysburg Address
  • Abraham Lincoln's draft of the Emancipation Proclamation
  • The only two portraits for which George Washington posed
  • George Washington's personal (inaugural) Bible
  • A Gutenberg Bible (the first large book printed with movable type)
  • First edition "Prince of Wales" Bible (given by King James )
  • The check written by the U.S. to purchase Alaska
  • Lucy, Australophithecus afarensis (on her 3.2 millionth birthday)
  • Faberge's most delicate Dandelion Puff floral pieces (eggs too)
  • Artic ice cores (sometimes no IR is really, really important)
  • The most expensive stamps in the world (the Inverted Jenny)
  • The world's finest collection of Amber (and included insects)
  • The best (and biggest) specimen of Tourmaline ever discovered
  • The Titanic's engine telegraph (in a 300 gallon tank of water)
  • A lost passenger's letter recovered from the Titanic
  • John Brown's sword and Bible
  • Napoleon's socks (and Queen Victoria's stockings)
  • Edison's first phonographs and Johnson's (RCA) first Victrola
  • Lyndon B. Johnson's desk and papers
  • A Shakespeare manuscript (lit with a fiber optic candle flame)
  • Exhibit of daguerreotype photographs by Thomas Easterly
  • Plumbe daguerreotype of Thomas Jefferson's slave Isaac.
  • One of the finest collections of admiralty ship models in the world
  • A classic Harley Davidson motorcycle, suspended on a wall
  • Henry Ford's first car, the "Quadracycle"
  • Soldiers' letters home, from the Revolutionary to the Gulf Wars
  • Precolumbian gold and jade exhibits
  • Engraved and gold-inlaid guns in the Colt factory collection
  • Historic gold gaslight chandelier (using 18 fiber optic "flames")
  • The Ruby and Arabian Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz
  • Marilyn Monroe's "subway" dress from the Seven Year Itch
  • The infamous sled "Rosebud" from Citizen Kane
  • Antique Chinese furniture used in the movie, the Good Earth.
  • Liz Taylor and early Claudette Colbert costumes from Cleopatra
  • Charlton Heston and Francis X. Bushman Ben Hur costumes
  • Paleontology exhibits of fighting dinosaurs in dioramas.
  • Baseball uniforms and bats of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, etc.
  • Jackie Robinson's WWII lieutenant's uniform
  • The Tiffany Diamond Collection, the world's most valuable exhibit