Thomas Edison Lightbulb

Let there be Light!Thomas Edison on Time Magazine

Historians agree that Thomas Edison was not the inventor of the electric light bulb, but he did produce the first commercially viable one. Earlier light bulbs were experimented with as far back as 1802; and there were 23 others who had invented light bulbs, some of whom were still working on them at the time of Edison’s work.

Three factors in combination are generally recognized as contributing to Edison’s success:

  1. A durable incandescent material
  2. Elimination of air from the bulb-a better vacuum
  3. A filament material of high resistance

This is an early sketch from Thomas Edison of his light bulb.

Thomas Edison’s serious incandescent light bulb research began in 1878, filing his first patent later that year…”Improvement In Electric Lights” in October 1878. His experiments involved the fabrication and testing of many different metal filaments, including platinum. Platinum was very difficult to work with, and prone to being weakened by heating and oxygen attack.

In addition, platinum was expensive, and too low in resistance; which would require heavy copper conductors in Edison’s electric distribution system he was designing to supply commercial installations of his bulbs. This system would later become the model for our modern electric utility power distribution system of today.

Edison then resorted to a carbon-based, high-resistance, filament. One year later in October 1879 Edison successfully tested a filament that burned for 13.5 hours. Continuing to improve his design, by November 1879, he filed for a U.S. patent for an electric lamp using “a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected … to platina contact wires”. The filament was made from a piece of carbonized thread.

From coneption to invention, this is one of Thomas Edison's early light bulbs.

By New Year’s he was demonstrating lamps using carbonized cardboard filaments to large crowds at the Menlo Park laboratory. It was not until several months after the patent was granted that Edison and his team discovered that a carbonized bamboo filament could last over 1200 hours. A year later, Edison began manufacturing commercial lamps using carbonized Japanese bamboo as filaments.

Throughout his career, Edison worked on many improvements to his signature invention, an invention that literally changed the way we live after dark. Prior to the light bulb, folks burned lamp oils or used manufactured natural gas for illumination, a rather dangerous way to provide illumination. Electric lights became cheap, safe, and convenient to use and the public and commercial concerns installed them in rapidly increasing numbers. The rest is history.



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  2. swagger says:

    can you put more information about how they built the light bulb and with with materials.

  3. Alex says:

    Can you put more information on how it was made

  4. Popo says:

    Mama me hice caca y huele bien

  5. Monique Cook says:

    Can u put more information on how it was made and that because this does not help me that much

  6. Josh says:

    Im doing this for a school porject .. I didt get enougfh info about how it s made and the matriles used

  7. tod says:

    this is awesome

  8. Rasheed says:

    Thomson edison invented the bulb

  9. Jimi says:

    Is it true that Edison made up to 1,000 attempts/efforts before he finally succeeded on Bulb invention? Please clarify this.

  10. Dylan Young says:

    I am a Mechanical Engineering student and this was more than enl8ghtening.. I had guessed he had success with tungsten. I had no idea it was carbonized bamboo that provided him with his success in the longevity of his buld. Good read!

  11. B. K. says:

    As usual the historical truth concerning the light bulb and Edison is incomplete. Lewis H. Latimer was an African American draftsman and inventor who worked for Maxim,Edison’s rival. However no one mentions his patents for the light bulb or the 1st viable light bulbs and improvements to an industry he helped create. Keep in mind the racism of the day & the eugenics movement. Both of which most likely help conceal the historical truth. Hope you are a bit more enlightened.

  12. B. K. says:

    He later worked for and with Edison and was charged with drafting and setting up early power stations in NY, Canada and Europe. Check U.S. patent office for his other notable inventions ad improvements. Toilets on trains, he also drafted the telephone for Alexander Graham Bell. One to grow on…inductee i. The inventors Hall of Fame…

  13. crystal says:

    but where did he invent the light buld

  14. dicle says:

    What difficulties did thomas aďdison have when he invented the light bulb can someone answer

  15. kaylee says:

    what interesting facts did he think of the light bulb i am doing this for a school project and i cant find a web site so can you please put what he thought of the light bulb in the essa thing please please please would you do it,because if i dont find a site i will get an “F” on my paper so please put what he thought abput the light bulb in there please

  16. taylor king says:

    yea right there is more information on the light bulb then this unless they put more informaton i’ll never use the website ever again

  17. taylor king says:

    i agree with kaylee if iget an f i will blame it on you guys

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  19. Ayla says:

    This website is bullshit !! Needs more info on how it was made
    Ayla´s last blog post ..Team Edison Shows Problem Solving in Action!

  20. Eli says:

    I need information of what materials he first used for the filaments because this is after he suceeded

    And it didn’t give much info. And this is for a school project Very disappointing guys!

  21. shanee says:

    This does not give the information i need about contributions Thomas Edison making industrialization with with his light bulb.

  22. Jo says:

    can u plz include more info abt how Thomas Edison made the light bulb.

  23. Philip Augustus says:

    Thomas Edison took advantage of a individual by the name of nikola tesla! Look him up! The history books are far from correct.

  24. please add more information on thomas edison

  25. Devin says:

    You need to tell what happened at the time it was made!

  26. Devin says:

    and the bulb

  27. Dickhead says:

    Edison is a dirty dickhead with nothing but mud in the urethra

  28. Dickface says:

    Edison is a fucking dickhead that needs to know when to shut his dirty whore mouth

  29. Who the fuck is this guy? Thomas Edison? I’m Bill Nye motherfucker and i accomplished more than a fucking light bulb. I fucking creamed religion in the favor of science. Fuck Thomas Edison!!!

  30. Dear Dickheads,

    Your motherfucking website pisses me the fuck off. Thomas fucking Edison is a piss sniffing, snaggle tooth looking, crack dealing mother fucker. If he was still alive todday, i would fuck him in his tight little ass and call him my bitch. HE would cry to his momma that THIS fuck boi WRECKED IT

    Bill Mothafuckin Nye nigga

  31. Dickface says:

    I will grab a niggas dick if you think that Edison invented shit…i can cum bricks cocaine if you think that you bunch of pennsatuckey bitches i swear ima bout to nut on everyones fucking head fuck you bitches
    -Bill Nye

  32. Ed says:

    Edison did NOT invent the light bulb. Period. It is a well known fact to historians that several dozen inventors were using inferior light bulbs trying to make them commercially viable. They were easy to break and also gave off a dim light. One of these inventors Carl Munck a German immigrant had used several filaments and one was a carbonized bamboo. Edison didn’t really “steal” this idea but rather “borrowed” it from a worker. With this Edison made the first bulb that would last a few weeks and not burn or break. Tesla also had ideas “removed” from him when he worked for Edison. Tesla was far more a pioneer than Thomas Edison.

  33. brooke says:

    I’m glad Thomas invented the light its a great use

  34. brooke says:

    Thomas is a good inventer!

  35. thalia says:

    i agree and i have to do a report about thomas edition and there is so much to learn!!!!!!!!

  36. AndrewB says:

    South Foreland lighthouse at Dover, England, had been using a carbon arc electric light bulb since 1859, twenty years before Edison ‘invented’ it!

  37. Talia Mingo says:

    I am doing a report on Thomas Edison and other people might have came up with the idea but Thomas was the one that made it happen!!!

  38. noneyobezzwax says:

    i need to site this article, so how do i do so

  39. Watlon Kelly says:

    It’s a very informative topic. The history behind the discovery of bulb was unknown. Now have came to know about it. So, thank you for this article.

  40. libby says:

    Is there any other facts that anyone might know about Thomas Edison as I need them for a project for school.
    libby´s last blog post ..Intel Edison Awards

  41. Tanya says:

    What is the difference between Thomas Edison’s light bulb and modern light bulbs

  42. Mom says:

    Why are some of these comments allowed to stay posted with the language and off topic rhetoric? Obviously, children use these sites for school report research. Please keep that in mind when allowing vulgar comments to be posted.

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