Eindhoven was created by the company founded in 1891 by Gerard Philips (1858-1942) to make incandescent electric light bulbs. It was situated in a region of sandy heaths where agricultural had never been profitable, and where the principal industrial activity had been the making of cigars. The city is dominated by Philips factories, research centres, housing and social facilities, although the company headquarters is now in Amsterdam.
In 1966 Philips opened an interactive science centre in a concrete building in the shape of a flying saucer designed by the architect L Ch Kalff. It attracted many visitors in its early years, but fashions changed, and it closed to the public in 1989, and the building now serves as a conference centre.
In Emmasingel in the centre of the city there is a museum in the original factory showing, amongst other things, how light bulbs were made in 1891, and how production had been transformed by the 1920s by the introduction of machinery. A flashing light system links the museum with the modernistic Centre for Artificial Light in Art on the other side of the street.