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Edison's Electric Light
In September 1878, Thomas Alva Edison brashly-and prematurely-proclaimed his breakthrough invention of a workable electric light. That announcement was followed by many months of intense experimentation that led to the successful completion of his Pearl Street station four years later. Edison was not alone-nor was he first-in developing an incandescent light bulb, but his ...more
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Published June 8th 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press
(first published January 1st 1986)
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I think Edison's greatest achievement was to develop a commercially viable incandescent light and the necessary system to power them. Others had worked on incandescent bulbs before, but without much luck in making them more than a laboratory curiosity. Between about 1878 and 1882, Edison and his team at Menlo Park suceeded in finding a workable carbon filament, developed ways of creating a high vacum in a glass bulb (needed to keep the filament from burning out too quickly), developing better ...more
Robert is a professor at the University of Maryland. His latest book is a wide ranging survey of Western Technology since the Middle Ages, A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millenium. Before going to the University of Maryland, he was a historian at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He collaborated on projects for museums ...moreMore about Robert Friedel...