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,
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.