The Electric Light Essay Research Paper On

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The Electric Light Essay, Research Paper On October 22, 1879 Thomas Edison created the electric light or what we know of it today as the light bulb. To make a statement like this that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb is both a huge hyperbole and a huge understatement all at the same time. A more correct view is that he perfected a practical light bulb and that his real plan and accomplishment was the invention of an electrical system to produce and distribute electrical power. He did in fact invent a light bulb with the correct filament but the invention of the light bulb was already pretty much already done. In 1878 the best source of lighting was gas. Unfortunately it was far from convenient and just made one more thing for mom to clean up. It was unsanitary, so of

course it was unhealthy, uncomfortable and dangerous. When gas burned it creates a black residue called soot. Back then there was soot everywhere; soot on the fixtures, soot on the wallpaper, soot on the furniture and even soot on the carpet. The fixtures in the whole house alone had to be cleaned almost every day. It ruined the air quality by producing soot and taking away the oxygen supply. During the summer it made the air even hotter and more uncomfortable. The houses built back then were not built for good circulation and this did not help out very much. It caused explosions, fires, and how were you supposed to trust your kids at home by themselves. One slip and the whole house would go up in smoke. (http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Timeline/Housing19/historyl.htm)

Although, from an industrial’s point of view, the light bulb had no negative characteristics, it indirectly created many environmental and social ramifications. After the invention began to catch on, a great demand for electricity began to take place. Power plants, which were extremely ineffective at first, began to spew pollutants into sky. The original concept of electrical generation was steam-powered turbines. In order for the water to be evaporated, large amounts of heat had to generated. The only economical method of heat generation of the time was fossil fuels. Although today we can filter many of the pollutants out before they are exposed to the air, there simply was no knowledge on how to do this at this time. The power plants began the domino effect that led to the

pollution problem we have today. For decades inventors and businessmen had been trying to invent a better way – a light source powered by electricity. They had already worked out the basic outline. It would be made of a filament in a vacuum, and when a current was passed through the filament it would glow. But they could not get it to work well. The bottom of the problem was finding a filament that would not fall to pieces. (Grolier multimedia encyclopedia 1998) In 1878 Edison decided to throw all of his attention and resources into the perfection of the light bulb. The way he went about this goal illustrates several most important features of how he worked. For example, he usually did not invent something out of a vacuum. Other people had worked long and hard on the

incandescent lamp, and he built on what they learned. The only major exception to this pattern was his invention of the phonograph. Another feature of his work was his inventing methodology. Edison was not an inventor interested in theory. He used a painstaking trial and error method. He literally tested thousands of different substances as filaments and sent men all over the world to try to find better materials. The last feature of his work was that he did not work alone. He was not a solitary inventor working in his basement. He had a large staff and organization to carry out his experiments. There were several other men with prominent roles in the perfection of the light bulb: Charles Batchelor, John Kruesi, Francis Jehl and Frances Upton. To a large degree these men were