7 Things You Never Knew About Light Bulbs

by Dan

lightbulbLightbulbs are an integral part of modern society. Without electric light, the world we know today would be very different. Here are seven facts that you might not know about the light bulb.

  1. The light bulb was patented by Thomas Edison in 1880, having created a working incandescent electric bulb the year before. There were around 3000 bulb designs produced by the Edison Light Company in the two years previous to the patent.
  2. Edison’s patent was not without contest. English physicist Joseph Wilson Swan took Edison to court for patent infringement and won. As a result of the outcome, Edison had to take Swan on as a partner, creating the Edison and Swan United Electric Company, which became Ediswan.
  3. The earliest attempts at producing an incandescent light bulb goes back as far as the 1800s. The earliest documented attempt was by Warren de la Rue in 1820. The design was very much along the lines of future light bulbs, but de la Rue used platinum for the filament, making the cost of production inhibitive.
  4. The traditional light bulb works because the tungsten filament in the bulb is heated to such a high degree that it makes the filament glow. The glass shell is filled with inert gas or a vacuum. This protects the filament from the outside, helping to reduce deterioration. Only 25{71b550cbed0aca3fea2335d26076176dc834a5ad6e765af844b2cea64fe7483b} of a traditional light bulb’s output is light, the rest is heat.
  5. Normally, when talking about the brightness of a bulb, we refer to watts. This, however, is inaccurate. Wattage only refers to the power output. It is the measurement of lumens that indicate brightness. To give an idea, when we think of the brightness of a 60 watt bulb, this will most likely be 800 lumens, whereas a 40 watt bulb is around 450 lumens.
  6. The world’s largest light bulb was built to commemorate Thomas Edison and those early days of invention. It is located on top of the Edison Memorial Tower located in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The bulb weighs a staggering 3 tons, and is made from 153 pieces of 2 inch thick Pyrex glass.
  7. The longest lasting electric light bulb in the world can be found in California’s Livermore Fire Station. Although it only has a low power output of 4 watts, it has been working since it was fitted in 1901. The bulb wasn’t mass produced, but made to order by a glass blower. It’s kept a constant light for more than a hundred years, apart from one change in that time when it was hung from a different fitting.

O’Brien’s Lighting is a retailer of light fittings and floor lamps.

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