History of Lighting [INFOGRAPHIC]

History of Lighting [INFOGRAPHIC]

Ever since the invention of fire, the core of illumination has been a presence in our lives. While illumination was once only provided by fire through the use of candles, lanterns, and other sources requiring no electricity, today it is used in several forms and types to cover a vast array of needs. Here is a brief history of lighting to highlight the turning points in this journey.

Oil Becomes the Norm

First used as far back as ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, oil was used to keep fire burning for illumination purposes. While the form would change from time to time, it would find its most useful and popular form in 1780, when Ami Argand introduced an oil burning lamp that used a hollow wick and burner to provide an easy solution for portable lighting.

Gas Lighting Emerges

The invention of gas lighting changed the world forever thanks to William Murdoch in 1792 inventing a coal-burning lamp. While oil was already the main source of illumination, gas lighting would make it easier and more affordable than oil to ensure more people could have lighting at home. Since coal was more readily available than animal oil used in previous oil lamps, this type of light became the new staple on the scene of lighting. From there, coal would be accompanied by kerosene lighting with both staying popular until the coming century.

Electricity Changes the Game

Several scientists, such as Charles Brush, Paul Jablochkoff, and others, worked in competition to create an electric arc lamp in the 1800s. Electric arc lighting used harnessed electricity to produce illumination. This type of lamp would become the norm for a few decades until new advancements were made in the search for the best lighting source. This light source was used for all sorts of applications, but it was a shorter-lived solution and scientists were on the search for a longer lasting solution.


One of the greatest minds of all time, Thomas Edison, would lead the way in the future of lighting. In 1879, Edison would begin producing lamps made with a filament which would become the basis of incandescent bulbs still in use today in many applications. A few years later, there were new innovations in electrical wiring, sockets, and outlets in the home which allowed for the creation of new sources of lighting using the incandescent bulb to be present in nearly every home. This simple operation of the incandescent bulb would become the blueprint for all other types of lighting in one way or another such as metal halide, halogen, and fluorescents.