The electric light bulb

‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’

Thomas Edison – inventor 1847 – 1931

Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices in areas such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. These inventions, which include the phonograph, the ‘motion picture camera’, and early versions of the electric ‘light bulb’.

During his working life he is reported to have held a world-record 1,093 patents

The electric light bulb is one of the most important inventions in human history. It has revolutionized the fields of lighting, communication, entertainment, and industry. The electric light bulb produces light by passing an electric current through a thin wire called a filament, which heats up and glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb that is either vacuumed or filled with an inert gas to prevent it from burning out. The humble bulb has undergone many developments through time including the introduction of energy saving devices using LED’S, Light Emitting Diodes.

Joint invention

The electric light bulb was not invented by any one person, but by many inventors who contributed to its development over the years. Some of the earliest attempts to create electric light were made by Humphry Davy, Warren de la Rue, and Joseph Swan in the 19th century.

However, the most famous and successful individual inventor of the electric light bulb was Thomas Edison, who patented his version in 1879 and 1880. Edison experimented with different materials for the filament, such as carbon, platinum, and even bamboo, until he found one that could last for over 1,000 hours. He also improved the vacuum pump and the socket for the bulb. He demonstrated his invention to the public by lighting up his laboratory and the nearby streets in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

The electric light bulb
‘The electric light bulb invented over time with many contributors – the best known being Thomas Edison’.

World changing invention

The electric light bulb has changed the world in many ways. It has extended the hours of work and leisure, improved safety and health, enabled new forms of art and entertainment, and stimulated scientific and technological innovation. 

The electric light bulb is also a symbol of human creativity, curiosity, and progress.

If you want a good read – go find, ‘The Last Days of Night’ by Graham Moore. It’s brilliant!

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