Who Invented the Electric Bulb?

Discover the fascinating history of the electric bulb and the inventor behind it. Learn who invented the electricity bulb and how it revolutionized our lives.


The role of Thomas Edison in inventing the electricity bulb

The role of Thomas Edison in inventing the electricity bulb

Electricity is an essential part of our daily lives, powering everything from our homes to our workplaces. One of the most iconic inventions in the history of electricity is the electric bulb. This revolutionary invention transformed the way we live and work, enabling us to illuminate our lives even after the sun has set. In this article, we will explore the history of the electric bulb and the inventor behind it.

Early Attempts

Evolution of the electricity bulb: Innovations in design

Evolution of the electricity bulb: Innovations in design

The quest to create electric light has fascinated inventors for centuries. As early as the 1700s, scientists were experimenting with electricity and attempting to create a suitable source of light. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that the first practical attempts at creating electric light were made.

In 1802, Humphry Davy, a British chemist, created the first electric arc lamp. This lamp used two carbon electrodes to create a bright, white light. However, it was not practical for everyday use, as it required a large battery and produced a lot of heat.

In the 1830s, Warren de la Rue, a British astronomer, and Frederick de Moleyns, an English lawyer, both independently created incandescent lamps. These lamps used a filament made of platinum or iridium, which was heated by an electric current until it glowed. However, the filaments were expensive and had a short lifespan, making them impractical for widespread use.

Despite these early attempts, it was not until the late 19th century that the electric bulb as we know it today was invented.

The Race to Invent the Electric Bulb

The race to invent the electric bulb was a fierce competition between two inventors: Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan. Both inventors made significant contributions to the development of the electric bulb, but there is controversy surrounding who should be credited with the invention.

Thomas Edison is often credited with inventing the electric bulb, but this is somewhat of a misnomer. While Edison did invent a practical and affordable electric bulb, he did not invent the concept of electric light. Edison’s contribution was in creating a bulb with a long-lasting filament made of carbonized bamboo, which could be mass-produced at an affordable cost.

Joseph Swan, a British inventor, also played a significant role in the development of the electric bulb. In fact, Swan was the first to demonstrate a working incandescent bulb in 1878, a year before Edison. Swan’s bulb used a carbon filament, similar to Edison’s, and was the first to be used in a public demonstration of electric light.

The Invention of the First Electric Bulb

The invention of the first electric bulb was a long and arduous process, with many inventors contributing to its development. However, it was Thomas Edison who ultimately succeeded in creating a practical and affordable bulb.

Edison’s invention process involved testing over 6,000 different materials for use as a filament, including bamboo, cotton, and hair. Eventually, he discovered that carbonized bamboo was the most effective material for creating a long-lasting filament.

In 1879, Edison’s team successfully created a bulb with a filament that could burn for over 1,200 hours. This bulb was the first practical and affordable electric bulb and quickly became a staple in homes and businesses around the world.

The impact of the electric bulb was enormous, transforming the way we live and work. It enabled people to work and socialize after dark, revolutionized the way we light our homes, and paved the way for many other innovations in the field of electricity.

Evolution of the Electric Bulb

The invention of the electric bulb was just the beginning. Over the years, many improvements have been made to the design to make it more efficient and cost-effective. In the early days, bulbs were designed to be used with direct current (DC) electricity. However, with the widespread adoption of alternating current (AC) electricity, new designs had to be developed.

One of the most significant changes was the introduction of tungsten filaments in the early 20th century. Tungsten was found to be a more durable and longer-lasting material than previous filaments, and it remains the most commonly used filament material today.

In the 1950s, fluorescent bulbs were introduced, which were more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. These bulbs used a gas and a coating of phosphor to produce light, rather than a filament. More recently, LED bulbs have become popular, offering even greater energy efficiency and longer lifespans.


In conclusion, the electric bulb has had a significant impact on our lives and remains an essential part of our daily existence. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many inventors who worked tirelessly to develop this revolutionary technology. The electric bulb has evolved over time, with new materials and designs making it more efficient and cost-effective. As we continue to seek out new and better ways to power our lives, the electric bulb will undoubtedly remain a crucial part of our technological landscape.

As a technology review website, Reviews AZ is committed to providing our readers with the latest information on the products that shape our world. We hope this article has been informative and has helped you better understand the history and evolution of the electric bulb.