There are many things that we use on a daily basis that we take for granted. We never give these items a second thought but we really should learn to appreciate many of these modern conveniences by learning a little bit about their history. For example, the electric light bulb is one convenience that everyone uses on a daily basis. It would be hard to imagine what life would be like without the electric light bulb if it was never to have been invented.
Thomas Edison is given credit for the creation of the electric light bulb. It is interesting to note however that there were many inventors working on this amazing yet simple device during the same time period. The reason why Thomas Edison received the credit for this invention was due to three factors. First, he utilized an incandescent material that was effective. Second, Mr. Edison was able to create a higher vacuum than his competitors. Third, his light bulb had a high resistance which made power distribution more economically viable from a centralized source.
Other inventors who were working on the electric light bulb at that time were Humphry Davy, Warren de la Rue, and Joseph Wilson Swan just to name a few of the more than 20 inventors who were trying to accomplish what Thomas Edison did during the 1800s. Thomas Edison began his serious research into the light bulb in 1878 and during the same year he filed his first patent application. He continued however to look for ways to improve his electric light bulb by trying different types of filaments.
One of the challenges that Edison had as he continued to improve the light bulb was how to make the filament last longer. The early carbon filaments which utilized a cotton linen thread, wood splinters and coiled paper strips were not efficient enough to last very long. As he continued to research this challenge he eventually came up with a carbonized bamboo filament which had the ability to last for more than 1200 hrs. These facts are just a few of the interesting points that anyone can appreciate when researching one of mankind’s most utilized modern conveniences, the electric light bulb.