Original incandescent electric carbon filament lamp, by Thomas Alva Edison, Menlo Park, New Jersey, United States of America, with bulb made by Ludwig K. Boehm, Menlo Park, New Jersey, United States of America, 1879
Very early incandescent electric lamp made by Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), this lamp has a single loop of carbon which glowed when a current flowed through it. The glass bulb (made by the glass blower, Boehm) was evacuated so that there was so little oxygen in the bulb that the filament could get white hot without burning.
The first practical electrical incandescent lamps were invented independently in the late 1870s by Joseph Swan in England and Thomas Edison in the USA. Advances in filament design, vacuum technique and glass-blowing led to the rapid refinement of the lamps and ultimately to the ubiquity of electric lighting. Edison himself supervised the installation of the world's first permanent, commercial central power system, which became operative in September 1882, to power electric light.
- Object Number:
- cardboard, copper (alloy), glass, lead (metal), metal (unknown), oak (wood), paper (fibre product) and platinum (metal)
- component - object
- lamp - light bulb
- Thomas A. Edison