In 1809, an English chemist by the name of Humphry Davy connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip between the other ends of the wire. The electrified strip glowed, making the first arc lamp. As it turned out, this would be the birth of the incandescent light bulb. Thomas Edison would later perfect the light and lay claim as the inventor of the modern day light bulb.
Modern incandescent light bulbs use electricity to pass through a filament, heating it until it produces light. The surrounding glass bulb prevents air from reaching the hot metal fiber, which would otherwise be destroyed by oxidation.
Incandescent lights come in a wide range of sizes and handle all kinds of voltage. These lights are manufactured at a low cost and work well with various types of current. As a result, incandescent lights became the popular choice for most households and offices. You can also find these lights in miners’ lamps, car headlights, flash lights, and even in a popular child’s toy known as the Easy-Bake oven.
But as society moves towards more cost efficient and longer lasting sources of light, the incandescent bulb is slowly being fazed out. Compact fluorescents, high intensity lamps, and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the new wave of up-to-the-minute lighting. European bans on some types of (75 and 100-watts bulbs) incandescent lights have been implemented. Eco groups believe a transition to more energy efficient lights will eliminate some 30m tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Congress passed a bill in 2007 that will ban incandescent bulbs as well. The phase-out plan begins with 100-watt bulbs in 2010 and end in 2014 with the 40-watt.
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