Crompton arc lamp

Contributed by Chelmsford Museum

Invented by Humphrey Davy in the early 19th century, arc lamps were developed in France until 1878 when R E B Crompton started to manufacture an improved version at his Arc Works in Chelmsford. He placed the arc at the bottom of the lamp, so that the lamp housing did not cast a shadow and improved the mechanism by which the length of the arc was kept constant. This gave a steadier light. Crompton and Company were the UK's first electrical engineers and by the 1890s were installing generating and lighting systems throughout the country and in Europe. The firm expanded to manufacture electric motors, switchgear and electrical instruments and continued in production in Chelmsford until 1968.

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1890s

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