Light Bulbs: LIGHTING UP OUR LIVES

HAPPY DIWALI

Do you ever imagine living in the dark with only sun, moon and stars providing the light? Now think of the time when man could light up fire to get some light whenever he wanted. This lasted till the seventeenth century when in1809, Humphry Davy invented the light bulb. He connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip between the other ends of the wires. It was an extraordinary invention that set the pace for the birth of lighting as a field and an electric bulb in particular.

Then over the next few years, there were improvisations around this model till T.A.Edison in1879 invented a carbon filament that burned for forty hours and placed it in an oxygen-less bulb. This was truly revolutionary as it really helped the human race in more ways than one could imagine. He made the use of light bulbs practical. While Edison was working on the whole lighting system, other European inventors worked on improving the filament and developed tungsten filament that improved the bulb’s efficiency. In 1913, Irving Langmuir figured out that placing an inert gas like nitrogen inside the bulb doubled its efficiency.

In the 19th century, the Geissler tube was made by two Germans who produced light by removing almost all of the air from a long glass tube and passing an electrical current through it. Such Discharge lamps became the basis of many lighting technologies, including neon lights, low-pressure sodium lamps and fluorescent lights. Hewitt created the first blue-green light by passing an electric current through mercury vapour. In the 1930s, experiments on neon tubes coated with phosphorus sparked fluorescent lamp research programs in the U.S. These lights lasted longer and were about three times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Then in 1976, Edward Hammer at General Electric figured out how to bend the fluorescent tube into a spiral shape, creating the first compact fluorescent light (CFL). Since the 1990s, improvements in CFL performance, price, efficiency and lifetime have made them a viable option for everybody.

One of the fastest developing lighting technologies today is the light-emitting diode (or LED). It is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. This industry has not stopped here; it is continuously inventing new things.

The evolution of the bulb and other forms of lighting gadgets over the last 150 years have had a dramatic impact on how we use light energy in our homes and offices. It has led to new energy breakthroughs -- from power plants and electric transmission lines to home appliances and electric motors.

The way different light bulbs have brought incandescence in our lives, let’s promise to light up each others’ lives on this festival of lights for the betterment of the human race.


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