Scientists had been working for nearly 100 years to create a lightbulb. But their bulbs burned out too quickly to be of practical use. Then, in 1878, American inventor Thomas Edison took up the challenge.
Even as a young boy, Edison was curious about how things worked. He wondered if it was the worms birds ate that enabled them to fly. So Edison persuaded a friend to eat some worms. But she didn’t fly — she got sick!
When he was a teenager, Edison learned how to operate a telegraph. Then he came up with an idea for making telegraph equipment work better. Soon Edison set up a workshop where he could build more inventions.
Edison knew that light bulbs glow when electricity flows through a thin wire inside called a filament. This filament resists the electricity flowing through it. The resistance makes the filament heat up and glow — it changes electrical energy into light energy.
Metals, hair, wood — Edison made filaments out of many things. His first lightbulbs lasted just 40 hours. But in 1880, he took out a patent for a lightbulb with a carbon filament that gave more than 1500 hours of light.
It had taken Edison a lot of work to make a truly useful lightbulb, but he never became discouraged. “We now know a thousand ways not to build a lightbulb,” he said. But perhaps his most famous quote was, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
RIPPLES:- Before the lightbulb, people lit their homes with candles, oil lamps and gas lamps. All these light sources were smoky and could start fires. Electric lights were not only safer but they let people stay up later and made streets brighter and safer at night. Factories could be open longer, which led to greater production — and longer work hours.