Such a simple object, however so useful, required much research and experiment to be created. Certainly, a fact you already know: its inventor was Thomas Edison.
Want to understand how the first incandescent lamp allowed the creation of other types of lamps, until you get the cutting-edge LED technology? We have prepared this text for those who are curious to know more about lamp history. Good reading!
EDISON AND THE INCANDESCENT LAMP
Thomas Edison is one of the best known – and productive – inventors of all time.
In addition to the lamp, this American perfected the telephone and created the film projector, objects that are unquestionably of great relevance to the history of mankind. Apart from these great deeds, Edison has patented over a thousand other inventions.
When he made the lamp, Edison was already well-known and had an electrical engineering firm (from which the current General Eletrics originated). He thrived because of the profits made on his other creations, which were sold to US public and private companies. In his firm, he had the help of other scientists.
FINALLY, THE LIGHT WAS MADE
Before Edison and his team invented the lamp, electricity was already used to produce illumination through a system known as “arc lamps” -a current that passed between two electrified rods and produced light.
However, this system was inefficient and generated a lot of heat. So, as it could not be used anywhere, houses, shops etc. they were still lit by candles or lamps.
The first light bulb that worked went on October 21, 1879 and stayed on for 45 hours. It was made with a charcoal filament inside a high vacuum glass bulb to favor combustion as it is the electricity to which the lamp is subjected which produces light.
THE LED BULB AND THE ACTUALITY
Edison’s incandescent bulb has been refined, using tungsten instead of coal, and has finally become popular in the United States and around the world.
Some years later, Nikola Tesla, one of the men who worked for Edison, decided to act on his own and created another lamp that used the same mechanism, but used gases such as argon. This lamp is called fluorescent and has proved to be more efficient than incandescent.
But it was with the advent of the LED (light-emitting diode), discovered in 1961 by Robert Biard and Gary Pittman, that the bulbs reached an admirable level of quality.
The LED, at first, was infrared radiation. A year later, in 1962, Nick Holonyak Jr. managed to get reddish light from it. In 1989, it was also possible to obtain bluish LED light, which was then used in TV sets.
And it was from 1999 that LED was adopted in the branch of the illumination, that is, in the constitution of lamps. The mechanism of operation is similar to that of the Edison lamp: electric energy passes through chips made of semiconductor material producing light, but without the need for heat.
ADVANTAGES OF LED BULB
The advancement provided by the LED is noted for the economic and environmental advantages it provides, such as:
- low cost: because of its high light capacity, the LED produces a lot of light with little energy. In addition, most of the energy generates light, not heat;
- High durability: A constantly used LED lamp can last for more than 15 years, 25 times longer than a standard bulb;
- Safety: LED does not cause health damage, as it does not emit ultraviolet rays. In addition, it is safe because its voltage is low;
- sustainability: in the composition of the LED there are no toxic substances, so its use does not emit pollutants, apart from the fact that the lamp of this typecan be recycled.
The story of the lamp would need many pages to be fully told. After all, it is not easy to understand the head of a genius like Thomas Edison, who was able to invent this essential object almost 140 years ago.
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