Let There Be Light… Bulb: Thomas Edison and His Brilliance

Light bulb

Light bulbIt’s hard to imagine today what it was like to have only candles and gas lamps for illumination. While there are parts of the world where such old world gems are still the only option, modern society is a different story. Artificial lighting has come a long way since Edison wowed and helped the public with his invention.

Lighting is essential not just for homes and buildings, but perhaps even more so for the outdoors. The agents from Bowery Lighting Imports say that “Outdoor lighting greatly enhances the curb appeal of your property while providing safety and security.” There was a time when people avoided leaving home at night as the streets were dark and unsafe due to the lack of proper lighting.

Gas lighting was developed, and it thrived during the early years of the 19th century, but it posed serious risks of burning down houses and establishments. In 1809, there was the much safer electric arc lighting, although it was too bright for small rooms. Thus, Thomas Edison patented the first light bulb in 1880.

Technically Not the First

Edison didn’t invent the light bulb in general, but he invented the first commercially viable incandescent light bulb. Others, such as Sir Humphrey Davy and Warren De la Rue, already developed more than 20 different light bulbs before him. Edison’s version, however, was cheaper and had a longer lifespan.

Prototype light bulbs often ignited due to strong electric current, and some depended on pricey platinum filaments. Edison and the “Muckers” (his lab associates) conducted several experiments and failed thousands of times. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” he said.

Rough Road to Success

It wasn’t a walk in the park as they used a new component each step, from sealed and vacuumed glass bulbs to switches, special wires and meters. Their primary goal was to produce a long-lasting filament material. After numerous tries, they developed the electric light bulb that fits practical application.

Edison cracked the code and found that carbonized cotton thread was the best substance required in making a long-lasting electric light bulb without spending too much. His light produced over 13 hours of continuous illumination. Later, he used carbonized bamboo substance and reached over 1,200 hours.

The light bulb is one of the most important inventions of humankind. Thanks to Thomas Edison, homes, businesses, government services, and streets are brighter, safer even at night. Edison illuminated the way to a brighter future.