The Invention of the Light Bulb
The 19th century saw the invention of one of the most impactful items in history: the light bulb. The incandescent light bulb was an invention that took nearly a century to perfect and was the focus of many inventors from all over the globe. The light bulb revolutionized life as we know it today by altering how we plan buildings, lengthening the typical workweek, and creating fresh industries. It also sparked the development of brand-new energy innovations, including electric motors, transmission lines, power plants, and residential appliances.
In 1802, British chemist Humphry Davy invented the first light bulb by attaching wires and carbon to a homemade battery. The combination caused the wires to glow with intense brightness for a short period. His version of the light bulb was known as an “electric arc lamp.” Over the next five decades, many inventors around the globe would go on attempting to perfect Davy’s design, without great success.
It wasn’t until 1840 that another British scientist named Warren De La Rue transmitted an electric current through a platinum filament contained in a vacuum tube. The idea behind the design was that platinum's high melting point would enable it to function at high temperatures and that an evacuated chamber would have fewer gas molecules than a non-evacuated one, extending the life of the platinum. Despite being an effective concept, commercial manufacturing was impossible due to the price of platinum.
His team began by first trying carbon, then platinum, and then returning to a carbon filament. Edison's team then created a light bulb with a carbonized filament made of uncoated cotton thread in October 1879, which had a 14.5-hour lifespan. Finally, they tested a bamboo-based filament and found success with a light bulb lifespan of up to 1,200 hours; this filament ended up being the norm for the Edison bulb for the following ten years. Other changes Edison made to the light bulb included designing the famous Edison screw and an improved vacuum pump.
Thanks to the trailblazing work of inventors from around the world, Edison was able to create and patent the first commercially successful light bulb. While Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, he vastly improved it and developed the infrastructure necessary to bring light to the general public.
Light Bulbs Today
Here at Shine Retrofits, we are glad to be a part of an ever-evolving industry with a rich history. We are proud to offer our customers modernized lighting on the cutting edge of advanced lighting technology. If you have questions about what’s new in the lighting industry or need help fulfilling your next project, our lighting experts at Shine Retrofits are here to help.
Give us a call at 1-877-643-4534 anytime Monday through Friday, from 6 am to 6 pm, Mountain Standard Time. We can’t wait to hear from you and help you get your project off the ground!