Deck Prism From Mystic Seaport for Do It Yourself Basement Lighting Project

Problem: south-facing rear deck covers basement window well. Result: anyone going to basement workshop for a tool must temporarily flip on overhead compact fluorescent electric lights. [As noted previously on TreeHugger, rapid on/off cycling reduces the operating life of compact flourescent bulbs.] Our do-it-yourself solution goes back a century, to the original deck: "all hands on" type. Solution: order a $20 reproduction sailor's deck prism from Mystic Seaport to install in the wooden deck boards, inset just above the window well. Made of pure glass, it'll outlast many decks. These look as if they could be made of recycled glass; and my electricity bill won't be touched. Two questions remain: why did we ever turn such an efficient lighting tool into a paper weight; and, why I was even thinking about solar cells and LED lights right off the bat?