It’s easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t have light bulbs in our homes. Like washing machines, boilers and even the internet, they’ve dramatically changed the way we live. With all these great inventions come a rich history of inventors and enthusiasts, each toiling away to perfect the devices that we have in our homes today.

Light bulbs have undergone massive changes since their first invention in the early 19th century. Over the course of two centuries the evolution of these devices has changed to provide more light for less energy. are experts with all things energy saving, and think you should be too, so read on for a journey through the story of the modern lightbulb.

Origins: 1800 – 1880

Whilst many will contend that Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb (usually with an American accent) Britain had been developing electric lighting for nearly a hundred years before he finalised his design. The first ever electric lighting was demonstrated by Sir Humphry Davy, a Cornish chemist and inventor, who produced light through an arc lamp.

The exact year is unknown, but is suspected to be somewhere between 1802 – 1809. This innovation inspired a flood of inventors to begin creating a smaller, replaceable conducting device, which would become known as the light bulb. Many of the first bulbs created were fraught with difficulty; short lifespans, high costs and the amount of energy used meant they were yet to be embraced by the public.

The first successful invention of this is credited to both Thomas Edison and British inventor Joseph Swann, both gaining patents in 1880. In Britain, Swann perfected a longer life bulb that would go on to light buildings such as the Savoy Theatre and his own home. After an out of court legal settlement, the two combined forces, and marketed the incandescent light bulb to the world.

Developments: 1900 – 1950

With a reliable and lower cost product, more and more homes over the course of the early 20th century began installing electric light bulbs, until they became the norm. In 1904 carbon filaments were replaced with the much more efficient tungsten. This allowed light bulbs to burn brighter for much longer and were a big step toward the energy saving bulbs we have today.

By the late 1920s, scientists were developing fluorescent technology, eventually overtaking incandescent bulbs after the Second World War due to an increased demand for even more efficient lighting systems. These can be seen not only in homes throughout the world, but also street lamps and even in strip lighting for offices.

The Energy Saving Movement 1950 – Now

Whilst the fluorescent light bulbs were being adopted across the world,  Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) were just being invented. In 1962 Nick Holonyak jr. created the very first visible system, and ushered in research for this incredible energy saving lighting system. By the early 21st century, light bulbs were widely released to the market and offered an even longer lasting, although more expensive, energy saving upgrade.

Whilst LEDS were in their dormancy lighting up digital watches, the spiral Compact Fluorescent Light was being perfected for market release in 1985. By twisting the bulb, they could provide a much greater level of light than previous models. As the demand for energy efficiency grew, the price for these bulbs dropped and they are now one of the Energy Savings Trust’s bulbs of choice.

Changing a single, older light bulb to an energy bulb could save you £3 a year, however, replacing a whole house could save around £55 a year for such a simple change.

The Continuing Evolution Of The Light Bulb

As we demand more and more energy efficient devices, the light bulb will be set to develop even more.With conductive materials constantly being invented and discovered, the possibilities broaden to lighting our home.

Expect LED prices to lower, and potentially even more exciting light bulbs to be created in the future.

What do you think the future holds for lighting? Have you got energy efficient bulbs in your home? Let us know on Twitter @greendealshop


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