Inventions are new things that make life easier and better. In the past two
centuries, there have been many useful inventions such as the airplane, the
printing press, the calculator, the camera and the computer. But there is one
invention that stands out as one of the most important inventions of all time -
the light bulb.
The person most commonly credited with the invention of the
light bulb is Thomas Edison. In actual fact, Edison was not the only one working
on this. Others including Sir Joseph Wilson Swan and Willis Whitney experimented
with the light bulb and all of them contributed to the final invention. Finding
the right material for the filament was the most challenging. They experimented
with thousands of materials to find one that would give out light for a longer
time. They tried cotton, bamboo, and even human hair. Eventually, Edison
produced a light bulb that could last 1500 hours. Later on, William Coolidge
discovered that tungsten lasted even longer.
Edison's light bulb was a glass vacuum bulb which contained a filament, a
thin wire of tightly spun material. When electricity was passed through the
filament, it would heat up and give off heat and light. In the oxygen-free bulb,
the filament glowed but did not burn up. Edison's light bulb is called an
incandescent light bulb. Today, there are many different types of light bulbs.
The common ones are fluorescent tubes, ultraviolet and LED lights.
Before the light bulb was invented, people relied on gas lamps and candles
for light. The electricity powered light bulb provides better quality lighting
which makes it easy to see at night. It has changed the way people live and
work. It enables people to stay up for social and leisure activities at night.
It enables work to be done round the clock
thereby increasing production. Light bulbs are also used in many modern machines
and devices such as cameras, televisions, computer monitors and vehicles.
Hence, it is clear what an important invention the light bulb is. This object
that was invented two centuries ago is still essential to modern life. The
modern light bulb is more durable and more energy-efficient, and comes in many
shapes, colours and sizes. Scientists are continuing to experiment with ways to
make the light bulb better.