This is the photograph of the first incandescent bulb, and it was made by Thomas Edison. With more than one thousand patent to his name and his company, Thomas Alva Edison is one of the most celebrated inventors in the history. His first job was of a telegraph operator at a train station, which was given to him as a gratitude after he saved the daughter of the station owner from an incoming train. His first invention was phonograph. This is often times confused for a gramophone, which it isn’t. Later in his life he was also involved in the invention of motion picture. Lucrative gas and oil lighting market was a growing business in the United States. Which is why the business minded Edison’s goal was to push in on it. Had he been able to break the hegemony of the stated systems, he would have been able to make a bigger fortune from what he already have.
Light Bulb remain his most famous, as well as the most successful invention, to this date. The fame also attracted a lot of critique and controversy. Edison was granted the patent of the electric bulb in 1880. Almost forty one years before Edison the first patents of an electric lamp had already been granted to an English scientist. His lamp was also a filament based incandescent lamp. In his design, he used an electric current to heat powdered charcoal. The powdered charcoal was suspended between two platinum wires. This entire model was placed in an evacuated glass tube.
However, this wasn’t commercially viable, since the platinum was too expensive and burned out too quickly. This doesn’t just stop there. Another English scientist named Joseph Swan displayed his bulb a year before Edison but unfortunately, his light bulb’s filament was also short lived and burned out too quickly making it unfit for selling it to customers. Edison made Swan a partner in his work and eventually bought his patent. Hence it is safe to say that Edison wasn’t inventor of the light bulb, instead he was the creator of the first commercial light bulb.
He used thick cotton thread as filament in his bulb which, after burning, had partially taken the form of carbon.The bulb successfully stayed on and gave light for more than 48 hours after being switched-on on October 19, 1879. Ultimately when the filament of the bulb snapped and it turned off on October 21, 1879, that date was marked to be the date of invention of the electric bulb. Edison is dubbed as a keen businessman rather than an inventor. Which led him to develop a commercially suitable and practical version of light bulb.
The patent that he bought from Swan described various ways on how to create the carbon filament. These included wood splints, cotton and linen thread, and papers coiled in various ways. However, it was not until many months later from when Edison and his team were granted the patent that they discovered that if they use a carbonized “bamboo” filament, it would last for more than 1200 hours.
Modern light bulbs are different from the conventional ones in a way that they are able to stay lit for a fairly longer time. However, they work on the same principle, converting electric energy to light energy. The conventional lamps were simple. Electric current was passed through a filament and it started glowing later they added the glass around to prevent oxygen from getting in which allowed the bulb to stay on for a longer time.
Edison patented a system of distribution of electricity in 1880 in order to capitalize on his invention of light bulb. He used direct current, also known as DC, in his distribution system. However, DC had a lot of limitations and was prone to wastage of electricity. This resulted in loss of interest in people which was bad for the business. Edison launched a campaign trying to portray DC as superior way of distribution. On the other hand Nicholas Tesla had invented alternate current generator or AC generator. This was named “The war of the currents” and their rivalry remains famous till date.