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Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

Thomas Edison's Light Bulb

The "incandescent lamp"
Less than a year after he developed the first practical light bulb, Thomas Edison designed this version, the first to have all the essential features of a modern light bulb: an incandescent filament in an evacuated glass bulb with a screw base. The most critical factor was finding the right material for the filament, the part inside the light bulb that glows when an electric current is passed through it. Edison tested more than 1,600 materials, including coconut fiber, fishing line--even hairs from a workers' beard. Finally, Edison decided to use for the filament: carbonized bamboo.

Thomas Alva Edison, born February 11, 1847, Milan, OH; died October 18, 1931, West Orange, NJ

Learn more!
· Thomas Alva Edison from Edison After Forty, 1999
· Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931: Celebrating Thomas Alva Edison's Birthday at the Lemelson Center-
· Lighting A Revolution virtual exhibition

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