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Thomas Edison: Victorian Inventor

A black and white portrait of Thomas Edison b Herbert Sidney

Thomas Edison

© Wellcome Collection

    • Have you heard of the American scientist, inventor and businessman Thomas Edison?He lived from 1847 to1931.

      The Science Museum has some great Thomas Edison stuff.

      During the museum's Wallace & Gromit: A World of Cracking Ideas exhibition (now closed), the Science Museum made a film about the telephone Thomas Edison designed.

      You can watch it here:



      A light bulb moment
      Not only does The Science Museum have Edison's telephone, they also have his light bulb in its collection.


      A lightbulb designed by Thomas Edison© Science Museum
      If you click on the link, you can see more photos on the Science Museum website.

      On 27 January, 1880 Edison was granted a patent for his electric light bulb.

      The light bulb, or Edison filament lamp as it was known, has one loop of carbon filament which glows when a current of electricity passes through it.

      This lamp in the Science Museum collection was made one year after Joseph Swan's original 1878-1879 electric light bulb.

      However, both lamps were already out of date by 1883 when Swan and Edison started their successful Edison and Swan United Electric Light Company in Britain.
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