We may take advantage of the fact that we have all these different gadgets and mechanisms nowadays because they are just simply there for us to use.
But these necessities such as a lightbulb were never available at one point. How did they even come into fruition and who invented such an imperative invention that was once just an idea?
In this blog, we will run you through the complete history of the lightbulb and how an idea that is now paramount within our daily lives became such a success - when technology was very limited across the globe. Read along to find out more!
Who Invented the Lightbulb?
The light bulb first became a revelation in 1878 when Thomas Edison began extensive research into developing a practical and efficient incandescent lamp. However, he was not the only person at this point who was trying to create a lighting system. Most historians believe that more than 20 people were trying to do this at the same point in time.
However, Thomas Edison has always been credited the right to the inventor and creator of the lightbulb because he was able to create the most effective light out of them all based on certain factors such as:
- Has effective incandescent material
- A higher vacuum than the other lights was able to accomplish
- High resistance to make power distribution from a centralised source feasible environmentally
On October 14th, 1878, Thomas Edison applied with ‘Improvement In Electrical Light Bulbs’ to where he would continue to test different materials within his invention to improve upon his first design.
By November 1879, he filed another patent application for an electric lamp using a carbon filament (part of the lightbulb that produces light) or strip coiled and connected to the platina-connected wires.
Along Edison’s journey, he finally was granted that he and his team discovered that his carbonised bamboo filament could last over 1200 hours due to the ability of the lamp to be resistant to heat and lit up to 14 hours at a time. This discovery completely revolutionised and marked the beginning of commercially manufactured light bulbs. He then named his company Edison Electric Light Company - which was a brand new commercial light bulb that was marketed to perfection under his name!
Early Stages of the Lightbulb
After Edison was the creator and household name so to speak within the lighting industry - this then sparked an uproar in the demand for light bulbs across the world. With this, the next upgrade was not far upon them in 1802, when Humphry Davy crafted the first electrical light.
His experiments with electricity finally enabled him to create an electrical battery - which he connected up with a piece of carbon. Ultimately, this combination of elements caused the carbon to glow, emitting light. Davy’s invention was known as the ‘Electric Arc Lamp’ - however, it didn’t produce lighting for a long time and was too bright for any viable use.
Over the next several decades there was a stagnant stint in the creation of effective lighting that made the breakthrough. The notable one that came close was a British scientist named Warren de la Rue that used a coiled platinum filament in a vacuum tube and passed an electrical current through it.
This was essentially designed on the idea that a high melting point from the platinum would allow the lightbulb to operate at very high temperatures - but also the chamber would contain fewer gas molecules to react with the platinum material, influencing and improving the longevity. However, it turned out to be impractical due to the cost of platinum being too high for the profit margins to be worth the invention.
Finally, in the 1870’s better vacuum pumps became accessible and this is when Swan took advantage of the idea of a longer-lasting lightbulb - using treated cotton thread. But ultimately, the idea of Henry Woodward and his colleague Mathew Evans in 1874 was sold to Edison.
They built their lamps in all different shapes and sizes - but the key difference was how they used carbon rods held between electrodes in glass cylinders filled with nitrogen. Trying to commercialise and contact potential buyers on their own was a struggle - however, they eventually sold their idea and patent to Edison in 1879.
The Future of Lightbulbs
Even with many forms of lighting nowadays, there are only a couple of models out of the many that have been tried and tested that are now popular among the masses.
Still to this day, modern incandescent lights are not energy efficient across the board - as less than 10% of electricity from the power supply is converted into visible light. This is because the remaining 90% will all be lost in the heat from the bulb.
On the other hand, apart from the energy deficiency, there are many advantages of incandescent light such as adaptability for small lighting systems, size availability, low-cost availability and many more! However, due to the energy deficiency - there are a lot cheaper and better options that are becoming more recognised.
The history of LED light bulbs have been short-lived as the first invention of this model was pretty recently in 1962 - created by Nick Holonyak aka ‘the father of the Light-Emitting Diode’. Whilst working at General Electric, he generated the first visible red light.
As we know nowadays, all kinds of colours such as blue, yellow, green etc can reload over and over again creating a party-like atmosphere within a chosen environment. Not only do they look aesthetically pleasing, but they perform well in reducing carbon footprint and saving ludicrous amounts of energy compared to any other form of lighting.
LED lighting (LED strip lights, LED downlights, etc) among the network of specialists is beginning to be acknowledged as the biggest and best form of lighting due to its many benefits. Producing no heat saves energy and less energy required equals longer lasting life. A longer-lasting life will help customers across the globe not need to shop for light bulbs so often - ultimately saving them money in the long run.