Friday, March 02, 2007

At The Flick Of The Switch

The English chemist Humphry Davy demonstrated that electricity could be used to heat metal strips and make them glow in 1801, but electric lighting was not a possibility for householders until much later. In 1878 the English physicist Joseph Swan ran electricity through a carbon filament encased in a glass bulb from which the air had been evacuated, and produced an incandescent light that lasted for several hours. The following year the American inventor Thomas Edison created a light that burned for a couple of days. Honours for the first practical electric light went to Edison.

When electric lights were first installed in hotels and public places in the 1900s, notices were needed to remind people not to light them with a match.

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