Who invented the light bulb?

Who invented the light bulb? Sir Joseph Wilson Swan or Thomas Edison?

Reading time: 3 minute

Many say that the light bulb was invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879. However, the American is not the only one who contributed to this invention, countless personalities trying to outline this idea and needs that would help humanity develop.

Humphry Davy (1778-1829)

In 1807, Humphry Davy (British inventor and chemist), discovered that uIn the carbon arc it can produce light if it is connected to a power source.

He built the first arc lamp, using a 2000-cell battery to create a 100-millimeter (4-inch) arc between two "charcoal sticks."

His most important contribution is the discovery of the metals potassium, sodium, calcium, barium, magnesium and boron metalloid.

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828–1914)

Fifty years later, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (British physicist and chemist) was the one who conceived first version of light bulb. He managed to obtain a viable prototype until 1860 by encapsulating carbonized paper filaments in a glass cylinder.

The experiment would be a success, but the major problem was that that "light bulb" was burning too fastthat is, he could not keep the vacuum inside.

Contributed by Thomas Edison

Here comes Thomas Edison, who in 1879 lay the bases of the filament bulb, which allowed its operation for several hours. He realized that the problem with the design thought by his counterpart was the filament.

Thus, Thomas Edison would fix Swan's mistake and make a thin graphite filament bulb with high electrical resistance. It managed to illuminate continuously for 40 hours.

That was when the light bulb began to become a usable tool, with amazing practicality in everything that meant household chores, everyday, which is why it is believed that the inventor of the light bulb was the US scientist. .

Swan United Electric Light Company

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan applied Edison's technique to his light bulbs and founded an electric lighting company, the first of its kind in England (Swan United Electric Company).

Outraged, Edison sued Swan for patent infringement. Fortunately, they quickly realized that a trial would be foolish and a waste of time.

The two inventors decided to join forces under the name of Edison-Swan United, a company that would become the world's largest manufacturer of light bulbs.

A year after the great discovery, Edison and his team realize the first distribution of electricity.

The company of the two installs a power plant on the transatlantic liner "Columbia", which thus became the first ship in the world to offer electric lighting.




  1. It is worth writing an article about Nernst, the German chemist, who invented the bulb without burning in a vacuum, the filament emits light directly into the atmospheric air.

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