Do you know what led to the invention of the light bulb? Most commonly, Thomas Edison is given credit for creating the light bulb though he just wasn’t the one behind its invention. Many noteworthy figures are popularly known for their work for electric batteries, lamps, and formulation of first incandescent bulbs.
The tale of the light bulb started a long time ago even before Edison innovated the first bulb in the year 1879. In the year 1800, Alessandro Volta, an inventor created the first practical method of generating electricity, the voltaic pile (made of zinc and copper). The pile initiated electricity when a wire made of copper was connected at either end. This glowing copper wire is also known as earliest creations of incandescent lighting.
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After Volta, Humphry Davy who was an English chemist and inventor created world’s premier electric lamp by connecting voltaic piles to charcoal electrodes. In the year 1802, his invention came to be known as electric arc lamp named for the bright arc of light emitted between its two carbon rods.
In the year 1850, Joseph Swan who was an English chemist dealt with the cost-effective issue of previous creators and in the year 1860. He created a light bulb that used carbonized paper filaments in place of ones made of platinum. Also, Swan got a patent in the United Kingdom in the year 1878, and in February in the year 1879, he showed a working lamp in a chit-chat in Newcastle, England, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Like earlier renditions of the light bulb, Swan's filaments were placed in a vacuum tube to minimize their exposure to oxygen to increase their life span. Unfortunately, the vacuum pumps of his time were not that effective as they are now. Though, his prototype worked well for a show but was impractical in actual use.
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Edison perceived that the issue with Swan’s design was the filament. According to him, what would have made the lamp practical? A thin filament with high electrical resistance as it would require a little current to make it glow. He showed his light bulb in December in the year 1879. Swan had put in the improvement into his light bulbs and founded an electrical company in England. Edison sued him for patent violation. But Swan's patent was a strong claim, in the UK at least, and the two inventors eventually joined forces and formed Edison-Swan United, which became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of light bulbs, according to the Museum of Unnatural Mystery.
Though, Edison had multiple of competitors apart from Swan. In the year 1874, Canadian innovators and Matthew Evans filed for a patent for an electric lamp with differently sized carbon rods held between electrodes in a glass cylinder filled with nitrogen.
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Edison succeeded his competitors when he developed a much practical and inexpensive light bulb. Edison and his team of researchers are known for testing more than three thousand designs for bulbs between the year 1878 and 1880. In the year 1879 in November, Edison then filed a patent for an electric lamp having a carbon filament. The patent included several items that might be used for the filament which also included cotton, linen, and wood. In the next year, Edison spent his time in finding the beyond perfect filament for his new bulb.
Many months later after the patent was granted to Edison. With this, the team came up with a carbonized bamboo filament that could burn for more than twelve hundred hours. Bamboo was used for the filaments in Edison's bulbs until the time it began to be substituted by immutable materials in the 1880s and early 1900s.
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