Lightbulbs

Lighting up the world since 1879

Edison creates a new kind of light

Throughout the 1800s, several people tried to make an electric light that would light up homes all around the world. Until Thomas Edison unveiled his incandescent light bulb design in 1879, none were successful.

No air + high resistance = success

To make the 1st practical light bulb, Edison had to create a bulb that would burn for a useful amount of time and could be fairly easily installed and used. He did this by 1) making a bulb that had no oxygen in it, so it wouldn't catch on fire or melt, and 2) making a filament that had a high resistance to electricity, so it didn't use very much energy. Created in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Edison's first bulb burned out after 13 1/2 hours. Just a year later, he created a filament that would burn for 1200 hours.

Lighting up the world

Naturally, the light bulb was a huge and instant success. The ability to have light on demand, with the flip of a switch, was huge and got bigger and bigger until lights were used everywhere, like today. The light bulb's impact on America is immeasurable.