Edison's filament lamp, American, 1879.

Image number: 10276213

Edison's filament lamp, American, 1879.

Made by Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), this lamp has a single loop of carbon which glowed when a current flowed through it. The glass bulb (made by the glass blower, Boehm) was evacuated so that there was so little oxygen in the bulb that the filament could get white hot without burning. This lamp was made one year after Joseph Swan's pioneering electric light bulb, but both were obsolete by the time Swan and Edison joined forces in Britain in 1883 to form the Edison and Swan United Electric Light Company.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
20 October 2003 12:24
Image rights:
Science Museum

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