Incandescent Lamps

1. The creation of the first incandescent lamp is closely connected with the name of the well-known Russian scientist and inventor A.N. Lodygin. He laid the foundation for producing the present day incandescent lamps that are much more economical than the lamps with carbon electrodes. Lodygin was the first to turn a laboratory device into a means of electric lighting. He was also the first inventor to discover the advantages of the metal wire filaments in comparison with other filaments.
2. Lodygin’s great achievements paved the way for further successful work of a number of other Russian electrical engineers. His parents gave him a military education but military service did not interest him at all. So, he resigned soon and devoted all his time to the study of engineering and technical problems solving.
3. In 1872 Lodygin constructed a number of incandescent lamps, these first lamps consisting of a glass bulb with a carbon rod serving as a filament. In 1873 he produces an improved lamp having two carbon electrodes instead of one and a longer life. That very year Lodygin demonstrated his invention in several Petersburg streets, lighting them by means of his electric lamps. It was the first practical application of the incandescent lamp for lighting purpose. Lots of people went out into the streets to see electric light for the first time in their life as a matter of fact, for the first time in the world.
4. Lodygin was never satisfied with his achievements and continued to perfect his inventions. Indeed, a more perfect lamp designed by him appeared in 1875. The interest in Lodygin’s lamp greatly increased. In 1877, a Russian officer showed Lodygin’s lamp to the famous American inventor Edison. Edison, with his usual energy set to work improving the lamp and later patented incandescent lamp with a carbon filament. However, even an American court ruled that Edison was not the inventor of the incandescent lamp and this is also stated in the Encyclopedia Britannica, the most authoritative work of reference in the Anglo-Saxon world.
5. However, under very hard economic conditions existing in tsarist Russia he got neither help nor the necessary support for realizing his plans. He himself was practically without money, having spent all he had on his numerous experiments. Lodygin’s study of metal filaments having a high melting point is a work of world importance. It is he who introduced tungsten filaments in vacuum. He received a patent for his invention in America. Tungsten is still considered to be the very metal that should be used for filament production. The electric lamps that light your room every evening doubtless have tungsten filaments. Lodygin died on the 16th of March, 1923 at the age of 76. Death carried away a great Russian scientist, the first to have used the incandescent lamp as a means of lighting.

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