This Day in History – October 1st, 1880

Thomas_edison_glühbirneThomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, but he certainly knew how to sell it, and on this day in 1880 he opened his first electric lamp factory.

After many experiments, first with carbon filaments and then with platinum and other metals, in the end Edison returned to a carbon filament. The first successful test was on October 22, 1879; it lasted 13.5 hours. Edison continued to improve this design and by November 4, 1879, filed for U.S. patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using “a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wires”.

Earlier, in 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

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