Thomas Alva Edison spent all day inventing the incandescent lightbulb. It cost USD 40,000 or $850,000 today, but it worked well and lasted for half a day. Thomas Edison and his team worked tirelessly to improve the bulb over the next 20 years. Finally, the first commercially-available light bulb was launched.
Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb. It became a huge success and is considered one of America’s most important inventions. The “Wizard of Menlo Park,” a larger-than-life inventor, was well-known for his unique ability to draw ideas from thin air. This fascinating biography chronicles the life and work of Edison, one of America’s most prolific innovators.
Before Edison’s invention, scientists had been working on a practical lightbulb, they had seen experiments in which carbon filaments burned out quickly, but they had not solved the fundamental problem of making the light bulb that would last for a long time. Scientists needed to make a thin filament and a better vacuum to solve this problem.
Problems plagued Edison’s early experiments with incandescent lighting. The first designs were too expensive, impractical, and used too much electricity. But he was still determined to develop a light bulb and borrowed $300,000 from investors, including J.P. Morgan, to develop a light bulb that would last a long time. His efforts paid off in 1882 when he invented the light bulb.
Humphry Davy, a British physicist, was a major contributor to the advancement and promotion of science. He was knighted in 1812 and was also a fellow at the Royal Society. His work was further advanced when he met the American scientist Michael Faraday, who augmented his experiments. Faraday’s discoveries made Davy a more prominent scientist. However, Davy’s health deteriorated over time, and he resigned from the Royal Society in 1827. On May 29, 1829, he died unexpectedly in Geneva.
Humphry Davy was a Penzance, Cornwall, England, native. He was a highly educated man who was naturally curious and intelligent. He started writing poetry early and was a natural enthusiast for nature. He was a keen fisherman and also collected minerals.
Humphry Davy wasn’t the first to invent the lightbulb, but he was one of the first to make the working bulb. Other inventors attempted to duplicate the concept, but their designs were less effective than Humphry Davy’s. As a result, the question of “when was the light bulb invented” remains uncertain.
The invention of the lightbulb is credited to Joseph Swan. He was a chemist who had previously experimented with vacuum pumps and carbon filaments that removed air from lamps. He obtained a British Patent for his invention in 1880. By the end of the decade, he had a working prototype.
For the first time, his invention made it possible to light public buildings, including the Savoy Theatre in London. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and later received an honorary doctorate from the University of Durham. He was also knighted in 1904 and became a Pharmaceutical Society member. Swan died in 1914 in Surrey, England.
Swan began studying electricity in 1850 and had by 1858 developed a carbonized paper filament lightbulb. In 1861, he demonstrated the light bulb to the public and was granted a patent. The first light bulbs were not very efficient and had a short life span. He improved the light bulb over time and used carbonized thread as the filament.
Woodward and Evans
Woodward and Evans were amateur scientists and medical students who developed an electric light using carbon filaments. They created a prototype for an incandescent lightbulb and patent it. However, it was not commercially feasible due to the high cost of the materials. Their patent was rejected by some financiers and they departed to England.
Joseph Wilson Swan, a British inventor, began experimenting with lighter filament materials in the late 1850s. The carbonized paper was used instead of platinum and showed promise. He had a working prototype for his invention by 1860. Although his prototype was not equipped with a vacuum or an adequate electrical supply, it was a significant step toward the modern lightbulb. Thomas Edison eventually bought the idea and created a better design.
Thomas Edison and Swan began to collaborate on the commercialization of the light bulb after the 1874 patent. While Woodward and Evans were the first to patent the lightbulb, Edison and Swan were the first to make a commercially viable lightbulb. The Edison-Swan Union was the first to produce lightbulbs.