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Thomas Edison’s Contributions to Lighting


Amanda Moon - Public Relations

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February 12, 2019


If playing a word association game, when you hear ‘Thomas Edison,’ you would be likely to say ‘inventor.’ With over 1,000 patents, he is known for his prolific work in a variety of areas including the phonograph, stock ticker, kinetograph, AND the incandescent lightbulb.

 

The 1870s were an exciting time for lighting as several inventors were working on ways to produce it. After seeing an arc light exhibit by Moses Farmer, Edison decided to create an incandescent lightbulb—much softer than arc lighting was. It took many years to finetune the bulb, and Edison also had to figure out to produce electricity on a larger scale, first debuting power to a mile area in Manhattan.

 

Edison used direct current (DC) in all of his systems, while a former employee of his, Nikola Tesla, preferred alternating current (AC). AC is when the electrical current frequently reverses direction, while DC moves in one polarity of voltage or current. Tesla was now working for George Westinghouse building an AC system. Edison and Tesla had a pretty public dispute on the matter, and Edison even staged some “accidents” to make AC less favorable. Both men were extremely talented, and their contributions to science are still relevant today.

 

In honor of Edison’s birthday on February 11, we have a Facebook poll going on who contributed more to the lighting industry, Edison or Tesla. Join the conversation!

 
 

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