The Electric Lights: The Evolution Of The Electric Light

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Humphry Davy, an Enlish scientist, first created the electric light in 1800; he connected wires and a piece of carbon to an electric battery he created, and in return, the carbon produced light. This is called an electric arc. At this point in history, electric lights were only used by society’s elite. A few decades later in 1860, the English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan found that a carbon paper filament worked well, but burned up quickly. He later demonstrated his new electric lamps in Newcastle, England in 1878. In 1877, the American Charles Francis Brush lit up a public square in Cleveland, Ohio with some carbon arcs that he manufactured.
It was not until Thomas Alva Edison’s time that the light bulb was put into more hands and used on a wider scale. Experimenting with thousands of different filaments, he was able to find just the right ingredients that would be long-lasting and at the same time, create a magnificent glow. Eventually in 1879, Edison discovered that a carbon filament, created by his friend Lewis Howard Latimer, in an oxygen-free bulb glowed and was far more efficient than previous designs; he later produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours. As time progressed, improvements to the light bulb revolutionized the world.

The light bulb has changed in a multitude of ways since Thomas Edison perfected it. In order for the inside of the bulb not to become darkened as it glowed, Willis Whitney invented a treatment for the filament in 1903. In 1910, William David Coolidge invented a tungsten filament which lasted even longer than the older filaments. However, these were all improvements for an incandescent light bulb. Heinrich Geissler and Julius Plucker, both German, found that light could b...

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...ts light in a specific direction, so there is no need for reflectors and diffusers that trap light. At first, it was only as efficient as other lighting fixtures, but like all other inventions, improvements have been made to increase its efficiency and effectiveness.

The world today would be lost without lighting fixtures, especially light bulbs. They have provided us with the ability to work at night. Additionally, they keep our streets safer, from the point of view of a innocent human being walking down a street or a car passing through an intersection. We know that light technology will continue to grow and improve. As many environmental problems are discovered, it will become necessary to create greener lighting fixtures. These improvements will not be achieved by one person alone, but by the entire human race working together and educating themselves.

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