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A light bulb is a glass tube or bulb that emits light when an electric current passes through it. The light bulb's ability to illuminate once darkened factories and homes created a more productive and industrialized world.

The Light Bulb - A Bright Idea

Like most great inventions, it is almost impossible to give credit to one individual for its creation. Although Thomas Edison is seen by many as the inventor of the light bulb, he was only able to accomplish his invention with the help of many people that came before him. The invention of the light bulb shaped the way that people live, move, and work forever.

After numerous trials and errors, in 1879 Thomas Edison created the first completely functional carbon-filament that emitted a strong light when an electric current ran through it. Soon enough, the nation’s power grids expanded from coast to coast and quickly illuminated the world. What the light bulb did was transform global productivity. Factories could be open 24 hours a day, which produced more jobs, more markets, and more goods. Homes no longer needed to rely on fire-causing kerosene lamps, and instead had a more reliable and safer lighting alternative. The light bulb illuminated not only the homes of humans, but their productivity and potential as well.

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Learn more about inventions and discoveries that have changed the world in our Picture Encyclopedia of Innovations!
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