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Edison Invents the Light bulb: Oct. 22-23, 1879

Edison, NJ

Thomas Edison’s test of an electric light bulb was the culmination of a series of experiments in electrical power occurring for over a century before his achievement. Edison’s bulb scaled electrical lighting down to household use. The key element was the filament, housed in a glass bulb, which electric power would burn to generate light. Edison made an electric bulb in 1878, but its platinum filament burned for only a few minutes. Using carbonized sewing thread made the bulb burn for 40 hours, and Edison said, “The electric light is perfected.” Compared to the light emitted by candles, equivalent to 13 lumens, Edison’s 100-watt light bulb emitted 1,200 lumens. By 1940, 78% of American homes were lit electrically.


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