A Short History Of The Incandescent Bulb

Today, Tungsten Filament Bulbs

Who actually invented the incandescent lamp? Difficult to answer. One of the pioneers was Heinrich Goebel who built a carbon filament bulb to illuminate his clock shop in 1854. This German-American engineer had noticed that the carbonization of bamboo fibers gave a conductive filament and that It was possible to make it incandescent under vacuum.Yet his invention has not succeeded in attracting industrialists.

In England, researcher Josef Wilson Swan is also working on the creation of this light bulb. He presented the results of his experiments in 1879 without taking the precaution of filing a patent. Six months later, in the United States, Thomas Edison announced the development of a non-combustible lamp capable of functioning for months without deteriorating, a process for which he filed a patent. This first incandescent lamp lasts 40 hours. The United States is enthusiastic. It was soon over with gas or petrol, smelly and dangerous, which had itself replaced tallow candles and wax candles a century earlier. This first “carbon filament” lamp is rapidly perfected to be
manufactured in large series and to have a longer life. In 1881, Lamb’s Hotel in Scotland was one of the first hotels in Europe to be equipped with electric lighting. In the same year, the first public electricity company in the world was created, in South London. It installs the first street lighting.

In 1898, the German Hermann Walther Nernst invented an electric lamp with a metallic filament. This lamp, which succeeds the lamps with a carbon filament, is a precursor of the current incandescent bulbs. Other engineers are trying to improve. In 1902 Werner Von Bolton succeeded in producing a filament made of tantalum which gives a yield five times higher than the carbon filament lamp. In 1904, the Austrian Alexander Justt agglomerates the tungsten powder to produce a filament that can be worn at very high temperatures without being destroyed quickly. In 1908, William D. Coolidge developed a process for spinning tungsten at high temperature, which made the filament even more resistant.Gradually, the power and lifespan of the bulbs improved.