North American Coalition for Maintaining Mother Earth

Posted by Alexa On April - 21 - 2016 0 Comment

One of the everyday conveniences that we use, and sometimes take for granted, is light. It is one of life’s greatest necessities. Think about it…we use lighting for practically everything we do. As soon as we wake up in the morning there is light until we go to back to bed at night. Aside from natural lighting, electric light is the most common way humans use light. Over 150 years ago, inventors started experimenting on how to create electric light. This invention changed the way we live our daily lives. It increased the length of the average workday and led to new energy discoveries such as power plants and home appliances. The light bulb has changed immensely through the years, and like all great inventions, it can only continue to advance from here.  

Back in 1802, Humphry Davy invented the first electric light. Wires were connected to a battery and a piece of carbon, which created the light. This was known as the Electric Arc Lamp. Inventors continued to create “light bulbs” throughout the next seven decades, but no invention was ever successful in creating the longevity of the light.ThArcLampsDbleS300

Over 70 years later, Thomas Edison began studying how to invent a practical incandescent lamp. By October 1879, Edison and his team invented a light bulb that could last 14.5 hours. It was made with a carbonized filament of uncoated cotton thread. Later, Edison made a filament out of bamboo that gave lamps a lifetime of up to 1,200 hours. This was the filament that was used for the next 10 years.


Throughout the 1900’s the light bulb continued to improve in efficiency.  In 1920 the first frosted light bulb and neon lighting were produced. Moving along to the 1930’s, one-time flashbulbs for photography and tanning lamps were invented. In the late 1950’s light dimmers were invented by Joel Spira. Light dimmers produced far less heat, used less electricity, and extended the life of the light bulb.  Compact fluorescent light (CFL) was created in the 1980’s, but it carried high retail prices, which was a drawback when purchasing light bulbs. However, in 1990 improvements were made with CFL’s and the price dropped to as little as $1.74 per bulb.

Now we have reached the fastest lighting technology today called light-emitting diode (LED). These are the most efficient lights on the market, and legislation in the US has started phasing out incandescent bulbs for LED lamps. LED lights are also superior for dimming. A dimmer switch for LED provides better dimming control and quality when compared to CFLs that do not dim down far enough and flicker when dimmed.


The evolution of the light bulb continues to progress in efficiency. It is difficult to tell where the light bulb will be years from now, but at least we can say there is a bright future ahead of us.  For more history on the evolution of light bulbs check out this website.


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