The incandescent light bulb
is an important discovery that improved people's lives in more ways than one. Before it was invented, lighting after dark was only possible through the use of gas, candles and/or oil lamps. The invention of the incandescent light bulb changed all that and ushered in a new era in the world of lighting as we know it. Lighting at night became cleaner, safer and much more effective.
Invention of the Light Bulb
Thomas Alva Edison is widely accepted as the person who invented the first incandescent light bulb viable for mass production. That was way back in 1879. Through the years, improvements have been made to Mr. Edison's invention, making it better and last longer.
Early versions of Mr. Edison most known invention made use of carbon for its filament and a bulb that was oxygen-free. Today, the filaments are made up of thin and coiled tungsten, and the bulbs are filled with inert gases, allowing it to glow longer.
An incandescent light bulb is composed of a thin metal filament, a glass bulb, metal contacts, support wires, a glass mount and connecting wires.
It is connected to a power source by metal contacts at its base. Connecting wires connect the metal contacts to the tungsten filament, which is held in place by support wires attached to the glass mount. Finally, a glass globe serves as the enclosure.
How It Works
The incandescent light bulb works under a very basic principle. When it is connected to an electric circuit, electricity flows through the metal contacts, through the connecting wires, all the way to the coiled tungsten filament. Electricity heats the tungsten filament at a temperature high enough for it to glow.
Due to its low manufacturing costs, the incandescent light bulb is widely distributed commercially making it cheaper compared to other types of lighting sources. As a result, it is widely used in households and other commercial establishments.
Aside from these, it works well with either direct or alternating currents, and do not need regulating equipment.
Shift to Other Lighting Alternatives
Despite of its popularity, measures to phase out the incandescent light bulb are being pushed around the world. The move is to promote products that are more energy-efficient like compact fluorescent lamps and LED lamps.
However, this is opposed by some sectors, arguing that these alternatives cost more (initially), and contain mercury that could potentially be harmful to the environment.
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