Hand Fabricated Lamps!
We can take a look at why Thomas Edison was dubbed the greatest inventor of all times! But lets just take a look back in time to when man begun dabbling with lights. The prehistoric man, used primitive lamps to illuminate his cave! These lamps were made from naturally occurring materials, such as rocks, shells, horns and stones of which were filled with grease containing a fibre wick. These so called lamps were filled with either animal or vegetable fats as fuel!
Hundreds of these lamps can be found in hollow worked stones in the famous Lascaux caves in France, dating back to about 15,000 years ago! Primitive man realised that crude reflectors would help to direct and intensify the light. Niches have been found carved into cave walls that are thought to have served this purpose in and around the Mediterranean vicinity, hand fabricated lamps had appeared in Palestine long before 2000 BC. The discovery of fire has had such a profound effect on humankind that all early societies constructed a myth to commemorate it. Years later to the ancient Greeks, the fire bringer was known as Prometheus!
Experimenting With Incandescent Filaments!
Thomas Edison began to settle more into the Menlo Park routine of experimentation and expansion. Edison had heard about arc lights and read about incandescent filaments! Edison knew that the idea wasn't new! Edison himself had seen an exhibition of an incandescent light by Moses Farmer back in 1859! He was aware that J W Starr had experiment with carbon and platinum in an evacuated glass globe as early as 1845 and even Draper used platinum in 1847 while a scientist known as Staite had tried iridium filaments in 1859 in an attempt to emulate and surpass De Moylens who had used platinum strip as early as 1841! Thomas Edison was indeed also aware of J W Swan, who was residing in Newcastle, England! Swan spent twelve long years experimenting with incandescent filaments only to give up! J W. Swan gave up in disgust in the year 1860! Swan gave up the idea because he came to a fore-gone conclusion that he would never be able achieved a satisfactory vacuum!
Advancement of Science!
There was a proclamation that batteries could never provide sufficiently economic electricity supply! The scientist Depretz tried carbon in nitrogen way back in 1849 as did Lodyguine, in St Petersburg, during 1873! None lasted, none were commercially viable! Thomas Edison recalled his fascination of the glowing Moses Farmer lamp exhibited in the shop window of Charles Williams of Boston! It could
only light up for a short time! In fact it only had an operating life of less than one hour! Nevertheless, Edison himself thought he could do much better and hence, in the spring of 1877 he began his experimenting with a glass globe and a refractory filament with the right electrical properties and a hard vacuum was all that he had required! Some weeks into his initial tinkering with platinum filaments, Professor George Barker, known to Thomas Edison through the American Association for the Advancement of Science! George Baker advised Edison that he had made arrangements for them to visit Ansonia, Connecticut to see a certain William Wallace who was utilising water turbines!