Important Facts About Thomas Edison & the Invention of the Light Bulb
Patent number , was given to Edison's electric lamp. The Edison lamp from our Attic is dated January 27, It is a product of the continued improvements Edison made to the bulb. Even though it is over a hundred years old, this bulb looks very . Oct 21, · How Edison Invented the Light Bulb — And Lots of Myths About Himself Still life of the first electric light bulb, invented by Thomas Alva Edison in and patented on .
Though Thomas Edison is usually credited with the invention of the light bulb, the famous American inventor wasn't the only one who contributed to the development of this revolutionary technology. Many other notable figures are also remembered for their work with electric batteries, lamps and the creation of the first incandescent bulbs. The story of the light bulb begins long before Edison patented the first commercially successful bulb in InItalian inventor Alessandro Volta developed the first practical method of generating electricity, the voltaic pile.
Made of alternating discs of zinc and copper — interspersed with layers of cardboards soaked in salt water — the pile conducted electricity when a copper wire was connected at either end. While actually a predecessor of the modern batteryVolta's glowing copper wire is also considered to be one of the earliest manifestations of incandescent lighting. Not long after Volta presented his discovery of a continuous source of electricity to the Royal Society in London, Humphry Davy, an English chemist and inventor, produced what year did thomas edison invented the light bulb world's first electric lamp by connecting voltaic piles to charcoal electrodes.
Davy's invention was known as an electric arc lamp, named for the bright arc of light emitted between its two carbon rods. While Davy's arc lamp was certainly an improvement on Volta's stand-alone piles, it still wasn't a very practical what happens if there is a mistrial of lighting.
This rudimentary lamp exison out quickly and was much too bright for use in a home or workspace. But the principles behind Davy's arc light were used throughout the s in the development of many other electric lamps and bulbs. InBritish scientist Warren de la Rue developed an efficiently designed light bulb using a coiled platinum filament in place of copper, but the high cost of platinum kept the bulb from becoming a commercial success.
And inEnglishman William Staite improved the longevity of conventional arc lamps by developing a clockwork mechanism that regulated the movement of the lamps' quick-to-erode carbon uear. But the cost of the batteries used to power Staite's lamps put a damper on the inventor's commercial ventures. InEid chemist Joseph Swan tackled the cost-effectiveness problem of previous inventors and by he had developed a light bulb that used carbonized paper filaments in place of ones made of platinum.
Swan received a patent in the United Kingdom inand in February he demonstrated a working lamp in a lecture in Newcastle, England, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Like earlier renditions of the light bulb, Swan's filaments were placed in a vacuum invehted to minimize their exposure to oxygenextending their lifespan.
Unfortunately for Swan, the vacuum pumps of his day were not efficient as they are now, and while his prototype worked well for a demonstration, it was impractical in actual use.
Edison realized that the problem with Swan's design was the filament. A thin filament with high electrical resistance would make a lamp practical because it would require only a little current to make it glow. He demonstrated his light bulb in December Swan incorporated the improvement into his light bulbs and founded an electrical lighting company in England. Swan wasn't the only competitor Edison faced.
InCanadian inventors Henry Woodward and Eid Evans filed a patent for an electric lamp with different-sized carbon rods held between electrodes in a glass edisoj filled with nitrogen. The pair tried, unsuccessfully, to commercialize their lamps but eventually sold their patent to Edison in The company was started with financial contributions from J.
Morgan and ,ight wealthy investors of the time. The company constructed the first electrical generating ghe that would power electrical system and newly patented bulbs. The first generating station was opened in September on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.
Other inventors, such as William Sawyer and Albon Man, threw in the towel, merging their company with Edison's to form General Electric, according to the U. Department of Energy DOE. Where Edison succeeded and surpassed his competition was in developing a practical and inexpensive light bulbaccording to the Pight. Edison and his team of researchers in Edison's laboratory in Menlo Park, N. In NovemberEdison filed a patent for an electric lamp with a carbon filament.
The patent listed several materials that might be used for the filament, including cotton, linen and wood. Edison spent the next year finding the perfect filament wjat his new bulb, edieon more than 6, plants to determine which material would burn the longest. Several months after the patent was granted, Edison and his team discovered that how to play it cool with your boyfriend carbonized bamboo filament could burn for more than 1, hours.
Bamboo was used for the filaments in Edison's bulbs until it began to be replaced by longer-lasting materials in the s and early s. InLewis Howard Latimer, one of Edison's researchers, patented a more efficient way of manufacturing carbon filaments. And inWhat does summary of qualifications mean R. Whitney invented a treatment for these filaments that allowed them to burn bright without darkening the insides of their glass bulbs.
William David Coolidge, an American physicist with General Electric, improved the company's method of manufacturing tungsten filaments in Tungstenwhich has the highest melting point of any chemical element, was known by Edison to be an excellent material for light bulb filaments, but the machinery needed to produce super-fine tungsten wire was not available in the late 19th century. Tungsten is still the primary material used in incandescent bulb filaments today.
Light-emitting diodes LEDs are now considered the future of lighting due to a lower energy requirement to run, a lower monthly price tag, and a longer life than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Nick Holonyak, an American scientist at General Electric, accidently invented the red LED light while trying to create liggt laser in the early s. As with other inventors, the principle that some semiconductors glowed when an electric current was applied what date was the printing press invented been known since the early s, but Holonyak was the first to patent it for use as a light fixture.
How to partition on xp a few years, yellow and green LEDs were added to the mix and used in several applications including indicator lights, calculator displays, and traffic lights, according to the DOE. Today, lighting choices have expanded and people can choose different types of light bulbs, including compact fluorescent CFL bulbs work by heating a gas that produces ultraviolet light and LED bulbs.
Several lighting companies are pushing the boundaries of what light bulbs can do, including Phillips and Stack. Phillips is one of several companies that have created wireless light bulbs that can be controlled via smartphone app. The Phillips Hue uses LED technology that can quickly be turned on or off or dimmed by a flick on a smart phone screen and can also be programmed. The higher-end Hue light bulbs can even be set to a large range of colors only about sixteen million and synced with music, movies, and video games.
It can automatically sense the ambient lighting and adjust as needed, it turns off and on via motion sensor when someone enters the room, can be used as a wake up alert, and even adjusts color throughout the day to fit with human's natural circadian cycles and patterns of natural light. The light bulbs also have a built-in learning program that adapts to inputs given by residents over time. And all of these functions can be programmed or monitored from any smart phone or tablet.
It is estimated that Stack smart diid bulbs can use about sixty percent less energy than a typical LED light bulb and lasts between twenty and thirty thousand hours depending on the model as compared to anywhere between twenty five and fifty thousand hours for typical LED light bulbs in proper housings.
These light bulbs what year did thomas edison invented the light bulb compatible or soon will be with many ddid the options for turning an entire home into a smart home including usage with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.
Follow LiveScience livescience. Live Science. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer.
Nov 22, · Incandescent Bulbs Light the Way Long before Thomas Edison patented -- first in and then a year later in -- and began commercializing his incandescent light bulb, British inventors were demonstrating that electric light was possible with the arc lamp. Mar 13, · A smaller light was needed, and in Thomas Edison patented the first commercially viable incandescent light bulb. Aug 17, · Early research & developments The story of the light bulb begins long before Edison patented the first commercially successful bulb in In .
Thomas Alva Edison February 11, — October 18, was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America's greatest inventor. He established the first industrial research laboratory. Edison was raised in the American Midwest ; early in his career he worked as a telegraph operator , which inspired some of his earliest inventions. Firestone , and a laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey that featured the world's first film studio , the Black Maria.
He was a prolific inventor , holding 1, US patents in his name , as well as patents in other countries. Edison married twice and fathered six children. He died in of complications of diabetes. Thomas Edison was born in in Milan, Ohio , but grew up in Port Huron, Michigan after the family moved there in Edison was taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by his mother who used to be a school teacher. He attended school for only a few months.
However, one biographer described him as a very curious child who learned most things by reading on his own. Edison developed hearing problems at the age of The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections.
He subsequently concocted elaborate fictitious stories about the cause of his deafness. Modern-day historians and medical professionals have suggested he may have had ADHD. It is known that early in his career he enrolled in a chemistry course at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art , to support his work on a new telegraphy system with Charles Batchelor. This appears to have been his only enrollment in courses at an institution of higher learning.
Thomas Edison began his career selling candy, newspapers and vegetables on the trains running from Port Huron to Detroit. Jimmie's father, station agent J. MacKenzie of Mount Clemens, Michigan , was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator. He also studied qualitative analysis and conducted chemical experiments on the train until he left the job.
Edison obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald , which he sold with his other papers. Ultimately, his entrepreneurship was central to the formation of some 14 companies, including General Electric , still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world. In , at the age of 19, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky , where, as an employee of Western Union , he worked the Associated Press bureau news wire.
Edison requested the night shift, which allowed him plenty of time to spend at his two favorite pastimes—reading and experimenting. Eventually, the latter pre-occupation cost him his job. One night in , he was working with a lead—acid battery when he spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor.
It ran between the floorboards and onto his boss's desk below. The next morning Edison was fired. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder, U. Patent 90, , which was granted on June 1, One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope , who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey , home, while Edison worked for Samuel Laws at the Gold Indicator Company.
Pope and Edison founded their own company in October , working as electrical engineers and inventors. Edison began developing a multiplex telegraphic system, which could send two messages simultaneously, in Edison's major innovation was the establishment of an industrial research lab in Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development under his direction.
His staff was generally told to carry out his directions in conducting research, and he drove them hard to produce results. William Joseph Hammer , a consulting electrical engineer , started working for Edison and began his duties as a laboratory assistant in December He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator , electric lighting , and other developing inventions.
However, Hammer worked primarily on the incandescent electric lamp and was put in charge of tests and records on that device see Hammer Historical Collection of Incandescent Electric Lamps. In , he was appointed chief engineer of the Edison Lamp Works. In his first year, the plant under general manager Francis Robbins Upton turned out 50, lamps. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting".
Sprague , a competent mathematician and former naval officer , was recruited by Edward H. Johnson and joined the Edison organization in Despite the common belief that Edison did not use mathematics, analysis of his notebooks reveal that he was an astute user of mathematical analysis conducted by his assistants such as Francis Robbins Upton, for example, determining the critical parameters of his electric lighting system including lamp resistance by an analysis of Ohm's Law , Joule's Law and economics.
Nearly all of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for 17 years and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. About a dozen were design patents , which protect an ornamental design for up to 14 years. As in most patents, the inventions he described were improvements over prior art.
The phonograph patent, in contrast, was unprecedented in describing the first device to record and reproduce sounds. In just over a decade, Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. Edison said he wanted the lab to have "a stock of almost every conceivable material". Over his desk Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds ' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
In Menlo Park, Edison had created the first industrial laboratory concerned with creating knowledge and then controlling its application. Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey , with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him wider notice was the phonograph in Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park".
His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder. Despite its limited sound quality and that the recordings could be played only a few times, the phonograph made Edison a celebrity.
Joseph Henry , president of the National Academy of Sciences and one of the most renowned electrical scientists in the US, described Edison as "the most ingenious inventor in this country In , Edison began work to improve the microphone for telephones at that time called a "transmitter" by developing a carbon microphone , which consists of two metal plates separated by granules of carbon that would change resistance with the pressure of sound waves.
A steady direct current is passed between the plates through the granules and the varying resistance results in a modulation of the current, creating a varying electric current that reproduces the varying pressure of the sound wave.
Up to that point, microphones, such as the ones developed by Johann Philipp Reis and Alexander Graham Bell , worked by generating a weak current. The carbon microphone works by modulating a direct current and, subsequently, using a transformer to transfer the signal so generated to the telephone line.
Edison was one of many inventors working on the problem of creating a usable microphone for telephony by having it modulate an electrical current passed through it. Edison used the carbon microphone concept in to create an improved telephone for Western Union.
This type was put in use in  and was used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the s. In , Edison began working on a system of electrical illumination, something he hoped could compete with gas and oil-based lighting. However, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb. Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy , James Bowman Lindsay , Moses G. Farmer ,  William E.
These early bulbs all had flaws such as an extremely short life and requiring a high electric current to operate which made them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially. This burnt out too quickly to provide lasting light. He then experimented with different grasses and canes such as hemp, and palmetto, before settling on bamboo as the best filament.
The patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways". Morgan , Spencer Trask ,  and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, , in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles. Villard was impressed and requested Edison install his electric lighting system aboard Villard's company's new steamer, the Columbia.
Although hesitant at first, Edison agreed to Villard's request. Most of the work was completed in May , and the Columbia went to New York City, where Edison and his personnel installed Columbia' s new lighting system.
The Columbia was Edison's first commercial application for his incandescent light bulb. The Edison equipment was removed from Columbia in Sawyer and was, therefore, invalid. Litigation continued for nearly six years. In , Latimer switched camps and started working with Edison. Mahen Theatre in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic , opened in , and was the first public building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps. Francis Jehl , Edison's assistant in the invention of the lamp, supervised the installation.
After devising a commercially viable electric light bulb on October 21, , Edison developed an electric " utility " to compete with the existing gas light utilities.
On September 4, , Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system, which provided volts direct current DC to 59 customers in lower Manhattan. In January , Edison switched on the first steam-generating power station at Holborn Viaduct in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings within a short distance of the station. On January 19, , the first standardized incandescent electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey.
As Edison expanded his direct current DC power delivery system, he received stiff competition from companies installing alternating current AC systems. From the early s, AC arc lighting systems for streets and large spaces had been an expanding business in the US.
With the development of transformers in Europe and by Westinghouse Electric in the US in —, it became possible to transmit AC long distances over thinner and cheaper wires, and "step down" the voltage at the destination for distribution to users. This allowed AC to be used in street lighting and in lighting for small business and domestic customers, the market Edison's patented low voltage DC incandescent lamp system was designed to supply. Edison's DC plants could not deliver electricity to customers more than one mile from the plant, and left a patchwork of unsupplied customers between plants.
Small cities and rural areas could not afford an Edison style system at all, leaving a large part of the market without electrical service. AC companies expanded into this gap.