One of the First Electric Light Bulbs

Contributed by Discovery Museum

Cragside type lamps had long neck and a 'pip' at the top, where the bulb was sealed. © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

The electric light bulb inspired the development of the radio valve and the television tube.Can we imagine what the world would have been like in the 20th and 21st centuries without the light bulb? Joseph Swan was its inventor. Born in Sunderland, he studied chemistry and moved to Tyneside where, after many years of persistent effort, he created the first successful 'incandescent filament electric lamp' - the light bulb. He gave public demonstrations of this scientific breakthrough in late 1878 and early 1879, using experimental lamps.
Swan continued to develop his invention and in 1880 his friend William Armstrong's house at Cragside, near Rothbury in Northumberland, was the first private home to be lit by electric light bulbs. The Cragside type lamp became the first light bulb to be made in large numbers in 1881, when Swan established the world's first light bulb factory at Benwell in Newcastle. In 1883 Swan teamed up with Thomas Edison of the USA, who also had just made a successful electric light bulb.

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