The light bulb was invented as an alternative to other forms of artificial lighting. And, to some degree, because it was an interesting science experiment. I mean, who wouldn’t want to say, “Hey Marge, look at this! If I hook this wire up to this pile, it glows!” Then Marge says, “that sure would be a lot cleaner and safer than the oil lamps. And so much brighter!”
Here are some facts about the history of the light bulb you’ve probably never heard of!
Edison Wasn’t The Only Inventor
All major inventions were an evolution of ideas and inventors over many years. Many light bulbs were invented before Edison’s that worked in the laboratory and for short-term demonstrations. There were more than twenty inventors that filed patents for various versions of the incandescent lamp before Edison, and there have been dozens of inventors that have filed patents for incandescent lamps since Edison. Edison built the entire infrastructure, including the bulb factories, the socket factories, the generating companies, not to mention switches, fuses, and meters. He promoted the system and arranged for financing. He was a showman who sold the concept to the investors.
Static Electricity Was Made For Entertainment Before The Light Bulb Came In
Static electricity was used as entertainment in the 1800ths. To draw enormous sparks on stage also draw the public. It is calculated that they had static generators that produced 500.000 V, as a stage act. The what factor must have been enormous.
Before The Light Bulb, The Telegraph Used Electricity
The largest application of electricity before the commercialization of the incandescent lightbulb in the late 1870s was the telegraph. Apart from that, it was only used for physics experiments and a few prototypes of electric arc furnaces for metallurgy.
Edison Wanted To Create A Cheap But Long Lasting Light Source
Edison’s main challenge was to make a bulb that was not only cheap and long-lived (long enough anyway), but he knew it had to have high resistance so it could operate on 100 to 110V. He understood Ohm’s Law and realized it would be impossible to wire up a building, much less a city block with a low voltage system, like 6 or 12 V. The amount of copper required would have been prohibitive. That’s pretty much how we get to use better light bulbs now like the 45 Watts Daylight Photography Lighting Bulb! It’s bright, it’s long-lasting and you can it for your photography! Thank Edison, right?
Edison Did More Than Perfect The Light Bulb
Edison didn’t just perfect the light bulb. He developed the entire lighting system. If all he did was make the best light bulb in the world, he couldn’t have sold any, except perhaps a few as laboratory curiosities. There were no sockets to put them into, no sources of power, no way to meter the power. He couldn’t sell the bulbs to General Electric because they didn’t exist.
Edison gets a lot of credit because his lamps were the most popular. The reason they were the most popular wasn’t that Edison just sold lamps; he also sold electricity. The lamps were a way to get people to buy his electricity, which was his real profit center. So really, light bulbs were invented to sell electricity.