Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Edison's electric lamp

... Here's Thomas Edison's original design for the electric lamp from 1880. It's pretty simple. There's a sealed glass bulb (1) containing a near vacuum. Inside, there's a coiled carbon thread or filament (2) connected to wires in glass supports (3) that lead out to the electric supply (4). What's so good about it? Edison's big idea was the coiled carbon filament. He tested 6,0...00 different materials (including bamboo, cotton, and even red hair) before deciding this one was best. Edison didn't invent electric light, but his filament produced a *practical* lamp that didn't flicker and lasted much longer. That made people want electric light - and electricity in their homes. Who would supply that electricity? Thomas Edison, of course! He told the world: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."

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