Electric light bulb
s never used to be so simple and technologically advanced in the 19th century and in our modern day we disregard this privilege. Over two centuries ago the only source of light, excluding natural sunlight, was candles, gas lamps and lanterns. With the excitement of the founding of electricity in the 18th century, the concentration of producing an electric powered light bulb soared immensely.
Many of the initial attempts to create something so revolutionary failed as scientists found it difficult to perfect the light as it was different to anything they had ever seen before. Thomas Edison is the widest known creator of the light that lit up the world but there were attempts before him that very nearly perfected the invention.
In 1806, 70 years before Thomas Edison introduced his invention to the world; Humphrey Davy created a powerful electric lamp and demonstrated it to the Royal Society. It consisted of two charcoal rods which when fused together by electricity created a blinding spark of light - this was then rejected as the light was so bright it was impractical for home and work purposes. Another disadvantage to this was that it needed a great source of power to run meaning that it went out very quickly. Despite this, efforts were made to split the light into a healthy source to brighten up rooms, which eventually failed. This specific type of light was however reinforced when electric generators were invented and they were used in lighthouses and to power huge searchlights during wars.
A completely new technique was introduced into the scientific world which was named 'incandescence' and was a more promising source of electric lighting. This started as scientists were aware that if you passed electricity through some materials they would eventually heat up and glow but this research usually resulted in the material melting or bursting into flames. With the progression through science for incandescent lighting a lot of alternative materials and ways of maintaining the glow were discovered and researched.
Several patents were given to scientists who discovered new ways of designing these lights after realising the huge profit that would come out of perfecting the creation. British born Frederick DeMoleyns patented a bulb which used the technique of starving platinum and carbon of oxygen as the electricity was passing through which would then prevent the materials from coming alight. Along with other improvements on electric lighting, these never proved practical enough to be sold for everyday use.
It was not until Thomas Edison began researching to create a better light bulb after recognising the financial success that it would bring. Edison was popular for creating many inventions such as the phonograph and the motion pictures kinetoscope. After only a few months of working on the incandescent light bulb project he declared to newspapers that he had solved the problem of electric lighting; shortly after stating this it was found out that he simply had an idea and had not perfected the creation.
In October 1879 Edison began to see results as he had created a carbonized thread which burned for 13 hours during an experiment and he was given a patent for this. Months after the patent was given, Thomas Edison used carbonized bamboo burners, now called filaments, which burned for a fantastic 600 hours. After such a break-through for electric lighting, he established Edison Electrical Light Company in 1882 and began to light up New York.
Although we are oblivious to the use of electric lighting in this present day, research is still being carried out to create light bulbs which are more energy efficient and improve the light bulb overall. The results may not be as revolutionary as the work of Thomas Edison but there has been an astonishing improvement since the birth of lighting itself.
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