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Patent for the Electric Lamp
By Thomas Edison
Mar 17, 2006, 1:27pm

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was born in Ohio and grew up in Michigan. His formal education lasted at most four years, in part because his teachers complained that he asked too many questions. By age 12 he was a newsboy and candy seller on the railways. Working as a telegraph operator gave him some of his early lessons in the uses of electricity. Among Edison's many patents were ones for totally new inventions as well as those that dramatically improved the inventions of others. These included patents for the electric motor, motion picture projector, storage battery, Dictaphone, duplicating machine, typewriter, and phonograph ( his most original). But his most far-reaching achievement was his patent for improving the incandescent lightbulb.

Before the invention of the electric lightbulb, homes were lit by candle, kerosene-oil lamp, or gaslight. All flickered, were fire hazards, and emitted smoke and heat. Other inventors of the day were experimenting with a glass globe that, if emptied of air, could contain a light that would not burn out. But no one could find a suitable filament, or wire. The filament creates light when an electric current passes through it, but it must neither burn out quickly nor melt. Edison solved this problem by using carbonized cotton.

Source: NARA - The Digital Classroom


Source Document
View the original patent for the Edison's electric lamp
Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

Lesson Plan
Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Alexander Graham Bell's Patent for the Telephone and Thomas Edison's Patent for the Electric Lamp>
Source: NARA - The Digital Classroom

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