Electric light bulb, what was the world’s first light bulb like?


Incandescent lamp, fluorescent lamp, led lamp and etc. We know that in history there were several types of lamps, and the evolution of electricity today allows us to have great lighting with increasing efficiency. In this article the World of Electrical will talk about the history of the lamp, so come on guys!

Electric Lamp: History
This article brings together two very cool things! The first is that through an experience you will be able to learn a little about the history of electricity. The second cool thing is that a lot of people think that the lamp was invented by Thomas Edison, but the great truth is that the first lamp was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy, around 1802.

Here on the website, you have a complete article on the life and history of Thomas Edison. Anyone who knows its history knows that the year 1802 was 45 years before Edison was born. Therefore, the truth is to say that Thomas Edison perfected all the studies on the lamps, in addition to patenting the incandescent lamp as we know it today.

Led lamp, fluorescent lamp, and incandescent lamp
Get to know the history of the first incandescent lamp in history

The invention of the electric lamp
So what did Sir Humphry Davy do? In the middle of 1802, he used a bank of 2,000 cells to generate an arc of light between two sticks of coal. It’s very similar to a very big pile but really big!

At the time of the experiment, the use of a 2000 cell battery made a lamp of this type unfeasible to sell. However, this revealed that electricity could produce high-intensity lighting, but for that, it would be necessary to have a reliable source of energy, and also that it was possible to reduce the wear of carbon graphite rods.

Light bulb experiment
For this experiment, I used a 12V transformer and at the ends of the output cables of this transformer, I put two alligators holding a graphite carbon graphite. This experiment shown in the image below is the principle of the incandescent lamp. If you don’t know, carbon graphite is a great electrical conductor, which is why it heats up so much and emits light when the transformer is turned on. This happens precisely because there is the formation of a direct short circuit in the graphite.

Who invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison?
Electric lamp, experiment with the principle of the incandescent lamp!

We repeated Sir Humphry Davy’s experiment again, but this time we used two much larger and thicker carbon graphite sticks. They were taken from two large batteries, and in the image below you can see how the electric arc is much stronger and the brightness much more intense!

Who invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison?
Electric arc simulating an incandescent lamp!

To perform this experiment I applied a voltage of approximately 14V between the rods, and I also placed a shower resistor in series with my circuit. When the resistors are in series, the current passing through them is the same, but the voltage is divided.

So in this experiment, we have 2 resistances in series, the resistance of the shower that will receive most of the electrical voltage from the network, and also the resistance of the air between the carbon graphite rods.

When we approach the two carbon graphite tips, the air resistance is broken and an electric arc is formed between them. The tips of the carbon rods are heated and the carbon evaporates. This carbon vapor in the arc is highly luminous!

Nowadays this may seem crazy, but after being slightly improved this lamp was used for lighting around 1880. At the time the biggest difficulty faced was that the coal electrodes were wearing out, and when the space between the coals became very large, the arc dissipated and the lamp went out.

Several studies and experiments have been carried out to improve the mechanism and solve this problem. At this time, numerous patents were created, some of which you can see in the image below. There are several electromechanical systems that allowed coal to adjust automatically, most of which were based on the use of solenoids.

Who invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison?
Patents for electric lamp solenoid systems

Another very interesting curiosity is that this lamp was used a lot in the first projectors at the beginning of the cinema. Anyone who sees today’s technology can’t even imagine it, right?

In this video below the World of Electrical, you can see in practice this experiment that we explain here. It is very worth watching to understand every detail and further improve your knowledge on the topic!