12V Outdoor LED Lighting: The Beginning


The roots of the 12v outdoor lighting industry go back to the late 1950’s, when Bill Locklin, an electrician in Southern California, invented the nation’s first low voltage lighting system.

Bill was called to Walter Annenberg’s estate in Palm Springs, CA. Bill was told that there was to be a party for a very important guest. The party was to be in the garden—which, at that time,lacked lighting.

Bill made his list of 120v lighting fixtures and went to the electrical wholesale house to obtain the necessary product to complete the job. The wholesale house manager told Bill that they would not be able to fulfill the order in time for the event. Rather upset, Bill started home, a 60 mile drive  During his evening drive, Bill saw the headlights of the cars in the opposite lane. This sparked an idea that would create an industry.

The next day Bill gathered coffee cans, funnels, and mason jars. He then wired them up with 12v automotive lamps. Being an electrician’s mate on the USS Trepang during WW2, Bill could wind his own transformers. The system was installed with great success.

It turned out that this gala event was for none other than US President Dwight Eisenhower! Thus, the 12v outdoor landscape lighting system was born.