Today in 1880, Thomas Edison patented the electric incandescent lamp (or what we know as the light bulb). He came up with the idea of producing light by heating a wire until it glowed brightly. Others had come up with similar ideas, but Edison patented the first practical electric light bulb - and it remains the primary way we light our homes today.
While most of the attention was on the discovery of the right kind of filament that would work, Edison actually had to invent a total of seven system elements that were critical to the practical application of electric lights as an alternative to the gas lights that were prevalent in that day.
These were the development of:
- the parallel circuit
- a durable light bulb
- an improved dynamo
- the underground conductor network
- the devices for maintaining constant voltage
- safety fuses and insulating materials
- light sockets with on-off switches