There are many things in this world that I don’t think we as people would much know what to do without anymore. One such thing is lightbulbs. They are in almost every western home and used every single day. So how long have these things even been around and how did they even come to be in our societies?

While US inventor Thomas Edison gets all the credit for the invention of the lightbulb, there is evidence to suggest that he was not the first to try and introduce this idea into the world. Two hundred years before, an English chemist by the name of Humphry Davey made the breakthrough of using electricity to make light. He however had a problem finding a cheap and effective material that would burn brightly for many hours. 40 years before Edison, British chemist Warren De La Rue found platinum worked for the filament however its expensive nature, as well as the difficulty creating the vacuum required for delayed burnout, made it difficult to mass produce for sale. In 1878, Joseph Swan demonstrated the first light but its thick filament meant that there was quick burnout with the bulbs. So while Edison had not made the first lightbulb, he did make the first commercially viable lightbulb that lasted for extended periods. However there were many precursors to his work that he took inspiration from and developed his own ideas from that tend to fade into the background. 

Light is something that humans strived for in a journey of discovery that spanned at least several hundred of years. Now that we have this convenience, what will the next step be and who will be the one to improve it next?


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