“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
Thomas Alva Edison, 1879
This was the core thought of inventing the first commercially practical incandescent light or the electric bulb in 21 October, 1879. Edison first demonstrated his incandescent light bulb to the public on December 31, 1879.
But it was only today in 1880 that Edison patented an electric bulb.
The trick had been choosing a filament that would be durable but inexpensive, and the team at Edison’s “invention factory” in Menlo Park, New Jersey, tested more than 6,000 possible materials before finding one that fit the bill: carbonized bamboo.
To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, Thomas Alva Edison, of Menlo Park, in the State of New Jersey, United States of America, have invented an improvement on Electric Lamps, and in the method of manufacturing the same, (Case No. 186,) of which the following is a specification. The object of this invention is to produce electric lamps giving light by incandescence, which lamps shall have high resistance, so as to allow of the practical subdivision of the electric light.”
This opening paragraph from Edison’s patent application formally presented his light bulb invention to both the U.S. government and the world. The application was filed on 4 November 1879 and the patent was quickly granted on 27 January 1880.
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Thomas Alva Edison