Who Invented the Light Bulb?

February 11, 2011

by Dionne Aiken

In “light” of today’s Google doodle, one question comes to mind: who really invented the light bulb?!

There’s an endless amount of information on the Web to help answer this question:



And once you start digging, you’ll notice the names of other contributors like Humphrey Davy, Joseph Wilson Swan, Lewis Howard Latimer and William David Coolidge just to name a few.

Joseph Swan's light bulb 1878 (left) - Thomas Edison’s light bulb 1879 (right)

In the race to perfect the light bulb, amidst patent feuds, lawsuits and successions of failed attempts, it becomes unclear as to where proper credit is due for this “bright idea.”  It does shed some light however on one thing:  It took more than just one person.  The end product we’ve come to know today is actually the end result of a multitude of revisions and collaborated efforts from many inventors, physicists and scientists.  It was revolutionized and improved upon over time – each discovery building off of findings from the previous.

There is a great deal to learn from the invention of the light bulb and the power of collaboration in building upon and improving new ideas.  We learn that all the time in our team brainstorming and creative problem-solving process.  The possibilities are endless and far greater than what one person can accomplish.

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