Inventorstechnologies.com – Who Truly Invented The Light Bulb. Before Thomas Edison, Sir Humphry Davy created the 1st Electric Arc Lamp in 1809. And, Warren De La Rue, designed the first Incandescent Light in 1820.
After over half a century of experimentation, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan created the light bulb, that was more of an industrial nature. Which was used to illuminate the Savoy theater, in the city of Westminster.
The very first public building in the world to be entirely lit by electricity. Edison tried 4700 different materials, to find the perfect filament. Including hair from a beard. Light Bulb production has evolved over the years.
Thomas Edison, The Real Inventor Of The Light Bulb
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, is also known to have developed more than 1000 other inventions. Apart from the light bulb, some of his famous inventions include the Voting Machine, Electric Battery and the Movie Camera.
Thomas Edison wasn’t a very bright student. He found it to be a painfully dull routine to go to school. However, he had a very curious mind. And was always inquisitive to conduct science experiments under the tutelage of his mother.
It was his inquisitive nature that led Edison to illuminate our homes. The principle is quite simple actually It is the electricity that flows into the filament. And when the filament heats up sufficiently it begins to glow. And thus we have light. But to make his invention viable?
Edison faced a major hurdle. He had to make the bulb glow bright enough, and long enough without it overheating. Edison experimented with different kinds of filaments to find the perfect match for his light bulb.
He tried copper, platinum and at last, he tried filaments made from metal. After trying out many options, something finally clicked. And Edison returned to his original choice. The carbon filament was the winner amongst all.
But before he could officially declare his invention, Edison had to put his invention to test and see if it was long-lasting. On 22nd October 1879, Thomas Edison ran his first successful test on the light bulb.
The filament burnt strong and bright, for a good 13 and a half hours. And, that was marked as the great grand invention of the Light Bulb!
Do You Know How Do Light Bulbs Work?
By any standard, the invention of the light bulb was a real light bulb moment. And it didn’t come a moment too soon. Because although we’d known how to produce electricity through chemical reaction since 1800, and how to generate it mechanically since 1831, thanks to Michael Faraday, there just weren’t very many uses for the new force, other than impressing other Victorian scientists by using it to make sparks and flashes.
Of course, the early electrical pioneers were bright enough to realize you could use an electrical current to make a wire glow — and if you made a thin enough piece of wire with a high enough melting point then it would glow white-hot.
This is because, in pretty much the simplest possible terms, the atoms in the metal release some light photons when their electrons become excited by the electrical current. The problem with using these glowing wires as a source of light became obvious after a couple of minutes really.
Exposed to the oxygen in the air, they would quickly oxidize and disintegrate. The light bulb was the solution: a see-through sleeve to protect the hot wire. Like many good ideas, it had many fathers. Indeed, the light bulb as we know it was invented pretty much simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1870s, by Joseph Swan, who was British, and by Thomas Edison, who wasn’t.
And the basic idea has barely changed since. The light bulb is made out of very thin glass, and contains a wire filament made from a metal chosen to have a very high melting point — usually
tungsten wound around in a coil pattern.
Early light bulbs contained a partial vacuum, the space around the filament was emptied of most of the air, reducing the potential for an oxidizing reaction to take place. More modern bulbs switched over to the use
of inert gas (one that doesn’t react with the white-hot element) for the same effect.
The result is a bulb that could provide up to 1000 hours of light at the flick of a switch, and sometimes considerably more. One that was manufactured in 1883, just five years after the light bulb was invented, is still in daily use in the UK, 130 years later. America claims another light bulb that’s been switched on continuously for 109 years.
But for all its ubiquity, the light bulb isn’t what you’d call an advanced piece of kit. Even its name is a bit of a misnomer — we should probably call it the heat bulb, as over 90 percent of the energy it consumes
is converted into heat.
Visible light is really just a by-product. It’s why old fashioned light bulbs get so hot — useful if you’re making an incubation cage for some chickens, or trying to heat a student flat when your landlord has turned the gas off.
But not really ideal. This is why the humble light bulb has become a threatened species in recent years. More modern compact fluorescent ‘energy-saving’ light bulbs are four times more efficient for producing the same amount of light, and the new generation of LED-based lights are more frugal still.
The production and sale of the old incandescent light bulb are now regulated in many countries, with believers in the old ways having to buy in stocks of bulbs for the future. Like in the war. And it’s not just in homes and schools and offices that the light bulb is running out of time: Mercedes recently launched a new
a car that doesn’t have a single bulb in it, every bit of illumination (including the headlights) is done by LEDs.
That, in fact, was their big light bulb moment. Except obviously it was LED. LED moment, sounds a bit feeble, doesn’t it. What will cartoonists do if they can’t draw a glowing light bulb over a boffin’s head to indicate a good idea.