History of Lighting Inventors

When looking at the complicated history of what we know as the lighting industry today, there were a few important milestones that paved the way. These milestones changed the world forever by changing the ways we use light in homes, businesses, and public spaces. When looking at the milestones, it's important to look at the intrepid individuals who pioneered in the field lighting technology. Let's take a look at the most notable individuals through a few facts about the history of lighting inventors.

When looking at the history of lighting inventors, the race to create usable light sources for public and professional purposes started in the 18th century and continues still today with new advancements in LED. Here are a few highlights of some of the most important inventors of lighting worth knowing.

Aime Argand

Born in the Republic of Geneva in 1750, Aime Argand was a physicist and chemist. In 1780, he would create a central draught fixed oil lamp and in 1784 he added glass chimneys to the central draught lamp design. His invention was aptly named the Argand lamp and would revolutionize the world. While there were other oil lamps at the time, Argand saw the possibilities of improving them by creating a lamp that used a cylindrical wick to allow for air flow through and around the wick which would then increase the intensity of the illumination being produced. This invention would prove to useful because it also allowed for a mechanism to raise and lower the wick to provide a more customizable light source. His invention was brighter and cheaper than candles, and also cleaner and more effective.

William Murdoch

William Murdoch was born in 1754 in Scotland and was an engineer and inventor. He invented several advancements of the time, from steam-powered engines for locomotives to chemistry finds such as substances combined to form an iron cement used on trains, which would change the world forever. In 1792, Murdoch produced the first gas lighting. This invention would change how lighting was used, especially in widespread public instances such as street lamps. While this was considered his greatest achievement to modern society, he never patented his gas lighting model and the work would eventually be worked over again and again by other inventors as the blueprint in the race to create the next sustainable light system.

Humphry Davy

Born in England in 1778, Humphry Davy would go on to change the race in finding successful lighting for both homes and commercial locations. While he would discover several new chemical elements in his work, such as chorine and magnesium, his biggest contribution would be in the form of electric lighting. Davy was concerned with oil miners working with gas lighting in the mines. Coal was a necessary part of society and how it functioned, so miners were an important part of keeping society running, but gas lighting was proving dangerous and deadly in the setting of the workers. In fact, major mining disasters such as the Felling Mine Disaster resulted in 92 deaths so this type of lighting was proving to be a growing concern. From the period of 1800-1809, Davy worked on what were called electrolysis experiments trying to find a suitable light source using a battery source so to speak. In 1809, he began publicly demonstrating the first electric lamp which could offer an unheard of 10,000 lumens while removing the issue of using oil or gas. By 1815, the design was dubbed the miner's safety lamp, but its applications had proven to be stunted by the fact the lamp couldn't last as long as other options.

Thomas Edison

When looking at the history of lighting inventors, Thomas Edison is usually the common name people think of in regard to inventions still used in the modern world. Born in America in 1847 long after Davy's electric lighting invention, Edison would go on to invent several important things such as phonographs, carbon telephone transmitters, and more. His role in developing new lighting technology for the time paved way to such inventions as the first carbon thread incandescent lamp in 1879. This lamp was important because it offered up to 40 hours of illumination which made it more applicable to homes and commercial locations. In 1880, Edison invented a 16 watt light bulb which lasted an incredible 1500 hours. He would go on to create several variations of electric lighting to help improve upon existing systems and pave the way for what we know as modern lighting still to this day.