The Lutron story began in the late 1950s in Joel Spira’s makeshift lab in New York City. A young physicist fascinated by the aesthetic manipulation of light, Spira set out to invent a solid-state device that would enable people to vary the intensity of the lights in their homes.
At that time, lighting control was a complicated and expensive affair. Most people would never think of having dimmers in their homes. But in 1959, Spira emerged from his lab with a brilliant innovation. By replacing the rheostat traditionally used in dimmers with a thyristor, a transistor that worked in a completely new way, Spira had created a device that was both simple and practical.
In 1961, Joel and his wife Ruth incorporated Lutron Electronics. They believed that the usefulness and energy-saving aspects of the new invention would ensure the long-term appeal of lighting controls. They were right.