Light bulb

The History Of The Light Bulb

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    The History Of The Light Bulb

  • Humphrey Davy (1778-1829)

    Humphrey Davy (1778-1829)
    In 1809, an English chemist, Humphrey Davy, started the journey to the invention of a practical incandescent light source. He used a high power battery to induce current between two charcoal strips. The current flowing through the two charcoal strips produced an intense incandescent light, creating the first arc lamp.
  • James Bowman Lindsay (1799-1862)

    James Bowman Lindsay (1799-1862)
    James Lindsay was a mathematician and physicist born in Cotton of West Hills in Scotland. In 1835, he created the first prototype incandescent light bulb. Unfortunately, his claims are not well documented. However, he did demonstrate that he could "read a book at a distance of one and a half feet".
  • William Robert Grove (1811-1896)

    William Robert Grove (1811-1896)
    Sir William Robert Grove first demonstrated the fuel cell while experimenting with electrolysis in 1839. He reasoned that if electricity could produce hydrogen and oxygen, then combining the two (reversing the process) should create electricity. At one of his lectures at the Institution he anticipated the electric lighting of to-day by illuminating the theatre with incandescent electric lamps, the filaments being of platinum and the current supplied by a battery of his nitric acid cells.
  • Warren De la Rue (1815-1889)

    Warren De la Rue (1815-1889)
    In 1840, Warren De la Rue made the first known attempt to produce an incandescent light bulb. He enclosed a platinum coil in an evacuated tube and passed an electric current through it. The design was based on the concept that the high melting point of platinum would allow it to operate at high temperatures and that the evacuated chamber would contain less gas particles to react with the platinum, improving its longevity.
  • Frederick de Moleyns (1804-1854)

    Frederick de Moleyns (1804-1854)
    Moleyns was granted the first patent for an incandescent lamp in 1841; he used a platinum filament in an evacuated glass tube to make a light bulb. It was only mildly successful due to a blackening of the bulb, which blocked light output. Combustion of the filament material and blackening Combustion of the filament material and blackening on the upward side of the bulb was a frustrating consistent problem for early lamp inventors.
  • John W. Starr (dates unknown)

    John W. Starr (dates unknown)
    In 1845, American John W. Starr acquired a patent for his incandescent light bulb involving the use of carbon filaments. He died shortly after obtaining the patent, and his invention was never produced commercially. Little else is known about him.
  • Joseph Wilson Swan (1828 - 1914)

    Joseph Wilson Swan (1828 - 1914)
    Sir Joseph Wilson Swan was a British physicist and chemist. He is most famous for inventing an incandescent light bulb with a paper filament. Swan first demonstrated the light bulb at a lecture in Newcastle in 1878, but he did not receive a patent until 1880 (patent No. 4933) 30 years after improvement to his original lamp. His house was the first in the world lit by a lightbulb, and the world's first electric-light illumination in a public building.
  • Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (dates unknown)

    Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (dates unknown)
    In 1851, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin publicly demonstrated incandescent light bulbs on his estate in Blois, France. His light bulbs are on display in the museum of the Château de Blois.
  • Heinrich Goebel (1818-1893)

    Heinrich Goebel (1818-1893)
    Heinrich Goebel was born in Springe, Germany, and was a precision mechanic watchmaker. He designed his incandescent light bulbs with carbon-filaments of high resistance made of fibres of reed (or bamboo). After the death of Henry Goebel, in some countries, the legend came into being that he was the true inventor of the practical incandescent light bulb and not Thomas Edison.
  • John T. Way (dates unknown)

    John T. Way  (dates unknown)
    In 1860, John Thomas Way used arc lamps operated in a mixture of air and mercury vapor at atmospheric pressure for lighting.
  • Alexander De Lodyguine (1847-1923)

    Alexander De Lodyguine (1847-1923)
    In 1872, Russian Alexander Lodygin invented an incandescent light bulb and obtained a Russian patent in 1874. He used as a burner two carbon rods of diminished section in a glass receiver, hermetically sealed, and filled with nitrogen, electrically arranged so that the current could be passed to the second carbon when the first had been consumed.
  • Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

    Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
    Edison created a new lamp that used a carbon filament. This light bulb first lasted for about 13.5 hours, and later improved that to a stunning 40 hours. He made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."
  • Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

    Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)
    Tesla demonstrated wired and wireless transfer of power to electrodeless fluorescent and incandescent lamps in his lectures and articles in 1891, and subsequently patented a system of light and power distribution on those principles.
  • Carl Auer Freiherr von Welsbach (1858-1929)

    Carl Auer Freiherr von Welsbach (1858-1929)
    Welsbach was an Austrian scientist and inventor who introduced osmium into the light bulb. This metal filament light bulb was a huge improvement on the existing carbon filament designs, lasting much longer, using about 1/2 the electricity for the same amount of light, and being much more robust.
  • Werner von Bolton (1868-1912)

    Werner von Bolton (1868-1912)
    Werner von Bolton was a German chemist and materials scientist. He devised a technique for producing filaments for incandescent light bulbs made out of tantalum in 1902. Tantalium allowed for a greater luminosity with lower energy consumption when compared with previous alternatives such as coal. Wires made with metallic tantalum were used for light bulb filaments until tungsten replaced it in widespread use.
  • Willis RodneyWhitney (1887-1958)

    Willis RodneyWhitney (1887-1958)
    In 1903, Whitney invented a metal-coated carbon filament that would not blacken the inside of a light bulb.
  • Franjo Hanaman (1878-1941) & Alexander Just (1874-1937)

    Franjo Hanaman (1878-1941) &  Alexander Just (1874-1937)
    Hanaman and Just patent a sintered tungsten filament. Tungsten proves to be a good material, however it is fragile and hard to work with. It is a step towards the modern bulb.
  • H.J. Round (1881-1966)

    H.J. Round (1881-1966)
    Round (London, UK) discovered electroluminescence when using silicon carbide and a cats whisker. Oleg Losev (Russia) independently discovered the phenomena the same year.
  • William D. Coolidge (1873-1975)

    William D. Coolidge (1873-1975)
    William David Coolidge was an American physicist, who was famous for the invention of "ductile tungsten", which could be more easily drawn into filaments, by purifying tungsten oxide.
  • Irving Langmuir (1881-1957)

    Irving Langmuir (1881-1957)
    Langmuir developed 3 important improvements to the bulb: He worked with Lewi Tonks to develop an argon & Nitrogen-filled bulb, he also developed the tight coiled filament and pioneered a thin molecular hydrogen coating on the inside of the bulb. All of these dramatically improved the bulb.
  • Dr. Ichisuke Fujioka (1857-1918) & Shoichi Miyoshi (dates unknown)

    Dr. Ichisuke Fujioka (1857-1918) & Shoichi Miyoshi (dates unknown)
    Ichisuke Fujioka & Shoichi Miyoshi form Hakunetsusha & Co., Ltd. (later Tokyo Electric Company) in 1890 and in 1921 they developed the double coiled filament. This greatly improved luminous efficacy and helped efficiency.
  • Marvin Pipkin (1889-1977)

    Marvin Pipkin (1889-1977)
    In 1924, Marvin Pipkin, an American chemist, patented a process for frosting the inside of lamp bulbs without weakening them, and then in 1947, he patented a process for coating the inside of lamps with silica.
  • Edmund Germer (1901-1987)

    Edmund Germer (1901-1987)
    Edmund Germer was a German inventor recognized as the father of the fluorescent lamp. The idea of coating the tube of an arc lamp emitting in the ultraviolet with fluorescing powder to transform UV into visible light led to the realization of arc discharge emitters with spectral quality competing with incandescent emitters. He applied for a patent in 1926, which was later purchased by General Electric Company which also licensed his patent on the high-pressure mercury-vapor lamp.
  • Oleg V. Losev (1903-1942)

    Oleg V. Losev (1903-1942)
    Losev studied the phenomena of light emitting diodes in radio sets. His first work on 'LEDs' involved a report on light emission from SiC. In 1927 he published a detailed report but his work was not well known until the 1950s when his papers resurfaced.
  • Johannes Ostermeier (dates unknown)

    Johannes Ostermeier (dates unknown)
    The first electric flash bulb invented was by Johannes Ostermeier in 1929 in Germany. Ostermeier's revolutionary invention was a bulb filled with oxygen under pressure and very thin aluminum foil. The invention served as replacement for dangerous and inconvenient use of flash. The flashbulb was introduced to the American market in 1930 by General Electric. Flash cubes came along in 1966, and the percussively ignitable "Magicube" in 1970.
  • Gerard Philips (1858-1942)

    Gerard Philips (1858-1942)
    The Philips Corp. created the first modern flashbulb: it has a wire in an evacuated bulb. The wire burns ups in a more effective way than aluminum sheets of foil. This design has not changed much.
  • Elmer Fridrich (1920-2010) & Emmett Wiley (dates unknown)

    Elmer Fridrich (1920-2010) & Emmett Wiley (dates unknown)
    Fridrich & Wiley developed the first halogen tungsten lamp prototypes. The first test use of the lamps were on aircraft wingtip lighting in 1955. The team later developed the double ended halogen lamp in 1959. Both worked for General Electric who patened the lamp in 1959.
  • Frederick A. Mosby (1924- )

    Frederick A. Mosby (1924- )
    Mosby also worked for General Electric at the research facility at Nela Park, in Cleveland Ohio. He developed a more efficient halogen lamp and adapted the lamp for use in regular lamp sockets.
  • Gary Pittman (dates unknown)

    Gary Pittman (dates unknown)
    Pittman had started working in 1958 with semiconductor GaAs for creation of early solar cells. This lead him into the group working on tunnel diodes (lasers). A failed attempt to make a laser lead to the infrared LED. Then, in 1961, he teamed with Bob Biard and developed the Infrared LED at Texas instruments.
  • Bob Biard (dates unknown)

    Bob Biard (dates unknown)
    Biard & Gary Pittman developed the Infrared LED at Texas Instruments. This was the first modern LED. It was discovered by 'accident' while TI tried to make a laser diode. The discovery was made during a test of a tunnel diode using a zinc diffused area of a GaAs (Gallium Arsenide) semi-insulating substrate.
  • Nick Holoyak, Jr. (1928- )

    Nick Holoyak, Jr. (1928- )
    The first practical visible-spectrum red LED (light-emitting diode) was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak, Jr., while working at the General Electric Company. Holonyak first reported this breakthrough in the journal Applied Physics Letters. Holonyak is seen as the "father of the light-emitting diode".
  • John Anderson (1924-2007)

    John Anderson (1924-2007)
    Anderson developed the first reliable electrodeless lamp. The induction lamp moves out of experimental stages and the commercial era of the lamp begins. Later his compact GENURA lamp was released in 1994. Anderson was a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and employee of General Electric with 27 patents related to lamp technology. He also advanced regular fluorescent lamps.
  • M. George Craford (dates unknown)

    M. George Craford (dates unknown)
    Craford was a former graduate student of Holonyak and he invented the first yellow LED (light-emitting diode) and improved the brightness of red and red-orange LEDs by a factor of ten.
  • Terry Gou (dates unknown)

    Terry Gou (dates unknown)
    Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., trading as Foxconn, was founded in 1974 by Gou and is a Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company headquartered in Tucheng, New Taipei, Taiwan. It is the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer measured by revenues.
  • Thomas P. Pearsall (dates unknown)

    Thomas P. Pearsall (dates unknown)
    Pearsall developed a special high brightness LEDs for fiber optic use. This improves communications technology worldwide.
  • Edward E. Hammer (1931-2012)

    Edward E. Hammer (1931-2012)
    Hammer develops the compact fluorescent lamp while working under Richard Thayer at Nela Park (Cleveland, OH). Hammer's CFL worked at curbing reflective losses by spacing his spiral design in a certain way. The lamp is not patented early and GE thought that the 28 million dollar cost to build a production facility was too much. The prototype sat in Hammer's office and it is theorized that visitors from competing companies copied the design. The first prototype is now at the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Shuji Nakamura (1954- )

    Shuji Nakamura (1954- )
    Nakamura, a Japanese physicist and electronics engineer, developed the world's first blue LED using GaN (Gallium nitride). It wouldn't be until the 1990s that the blue LED would become low cost for commercial production.
  • Philips Corporation (1891- )

    Philips Corporation (1891- )
    Philips Corporation, founded in 1891, develops the QL induction lamp series. The lamps operated at 2.65 Mz.
  • General Electric (1892- )

    General Electric (1892- )
    GE completed a machine for bending glass, and samples of the so-called Heliax lamp that it produced were issued to the market that year. Sadly the lamp never made it to mass production, owing to extreme difficulty in controlling the production process.
  • Varigon Lighting Company (2013- )

    Varigon Lighting Company (2013- )
    Foxconn is the world’s largest electronics manufacturing company with annual sales of well over $100B. Foxconn is now ready to present a full line of LED lighting products, at cost-effective price points, that should accelerate the replacement of incandescent and CF fluorescent lighting in homes and business everywhere. Varigon Lighting Company (VLC) has been formed to partner with Foxconn in this endeavor.