Edison Lamp, 1880
This is a Edison Lamp.
In 1880, Thomas Edison and his team began selling their newly invented electrical lighting system, which incorporated lamps like this example. An electrical current heated a filament of baked bamboo, thereby making the filament glow, or "incandesce." These early Edison lamps provided the same amount of light as gas lamps but they glowed steadily, rather than flickering, and gave off no fumes. With no open flame, incandescent lamps could be used where candles or gas lamps would be dangerous, such as mines and textile factories. They also invited flexibility in lighting design, since they could be installed without regard to fuel flow or flame path. Simple in construction, Edison’s lamps lasted about 650 hours and, unlike gas lamps, could be lit and turned off with the flick of a switch. The new lighting provided a practical and, ultimately, inexpensive way to extend the day, for work and play.
It is credited
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Cat. 310579.01.
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Its dimensions are
H x diam.: 17.8 × 6 cm (7 in. × 2 3/8 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.