Edison Light Bulb
1879, American History Museum
The embodiment of the bright idea
On New Year’s Eve 1879, Thomas Edison lit 100 incandescent bulbs at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was a brilliant display of persistence. “Before I got through,” Edison said, “I tested no fewer than 6,000 vegetable growths, and ransacked the world for the most suitable filament material.” His solution: a carbonized paper filament under a glass vacuum bulb. Edison also patented, among other things, the phonograph and the movie camera.