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A Short History of Electric Light

by Frank Andrews

List of Inventors & Others of Importance

This list is intended to cover all whose discoveries or activities contributed in some way to electric lighting. Where no definite dates are known the important date is the likely period of activity.

This internet version is not so useful for finding the cross references which was managed in the book by the index – I will amend this version to include all the inventions.

Akesters 1880 Carbonised vegetable fibre lamp.  
Sir William Armstrong 1880 First house with Swan lamps UK
Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach 1858-1929 1898   Austria
Peter Behrens 1905    
Werner Bolton 1896   Germany
Bouliguine 1876   Russia
Hugo Bremmer 1889 Flame arc lamp  
Charles Francis Brush 1849-1929 1876 Designed and marketed dynamo and arc lamp. USA
Bunsen 1811-99 1844 Battery  
de Changy 1856 Made open filament lamp, used in mines France
Jabez Church 1845 Carbon purification  
André Claude 1932   France
George Claude 1907   France
A. Compton 1920’s   USA
William Coolidge 1908   USA
Peter Cooper-Hewitt 1901    
Colonel R. E. B. Crompton 1845-1940. 1878 Set up company to make Arc lamps and sell dynamoes. (1879 Differential arc) UK
Sir William Crookes 1832-1919 1860’s Lamp with M shaped filament. UK
Alessandro Cruto 1847-1908 1873 Created dense carbon. (1881 the first synthetic filament lamp) Italy
Daniell 1790-1845 1836 Battery  
Sir Humphrey Davy 1778-1829 1808 First public demonstartion of Electric Light (Carbon Arc) UK
Warren De La Rue 1815-89 1840 Showed air would prevent practical use of platinum filament  
Joseph Deleuil 1844 Arc lamp France
Dr J. W. Draper 1846 Platinum wire lamp. Copied by Edison and Maxim who patented it. USA
Captain Drummond 1839 Limelight  
Thomas Alva Edison 1847-1931 1879 First practical carbon lightbulb, independent of Swan. USA
Michael Faraday 1791-1867 1831 Discovery of Electro-magnetic induction and First transformer. Dynamo, Electric motor. UK
Moses G. Farmer 1820-93 1858 Made dynamo and first house lit by platinum (Draper type) lamps. USA
W. Fenton 1924   USA
Sebastian Ziani Ferranti 1864- 1882 Revolutionary alternator (Zig-zag armature) UK
de Fontaine-Moreau 1895 Arc lamp carbons France
Jean Bernard Léon Foucault 1819-68 1840 Plumbago (Gas carbon) rod for arc lamps. Automation of arc lamp. France
Benjamin Franklin 1759 Nature of lightning, Lightning rod (1760) USA
Otto Freurlin 1903    
Luigi Galvani 1737-1798 1780 First battery or pile Italy
Heinrich Geissler 1854   Germany
Edmund Germer 1926   Germany
Dr William Gilbert. 1540-1603 1600 His paper gave birth to the sudy of electricity as a science. Magnetic unit Gilbert. UK
C. H. Gimingham. 1881    
Heinrich Göebel 1854 First carbon filament lamps, for his own use only! 39 years before Edison and Swan. Germany / USA
Théophile Gramme 1866   France
Reverend Robert Green 1872 Vacuum pump, used by Swan UK
William Grove 1811-96 1840 Made coiled filament platinum lamp - to demonstrate his battery.  
Johann Georg Halske 1847   Germany
Franz Hanaman 1903   Austria
Hannay 1880   UK
Friederich von Hefner-Alteneck 1878 Self regulating differential arc (Siemens) Germany
Joseph Henry 1831 Discovery of Electro-magnetic induction in USA. USA
Frederick H. Holmes 1850 Arc lamp UK
Paul Jablochoff 1847-94. 1876 Arc lamp automatic Russia
Jobard 1838 Discovery of improved arc burning if free of air Belgium
Alexander Just 1903   Austria
Augustus King 1845 with Starr - Platinum wire lamp UK
S. W. Konn 1875 Incandescent carbon rod lamp. Russia
R. Küch 1906    
Hans Kuzel 1907    
St. George Lane-Fox 1878 Platinum Iridium filament lamp, first use of Nitrogen in a lamp with asbestos wick. UK
American Irving Langmuir 1913    
E. Lax 1920’s   Germany
G. Leclanché 1839-82 1866 Battery France
Carl von Linde 1907   France
James B Lindsay 1835    
Lodyguine 1872 Made 200 carbon block lamps and lit St. Petersburg harbour. Russia
T. H. Maiman 1927-? 1960   USA
Joseph Van Malderen 1850   Belgium
Arturo Malignani 1880 Filament manufacture Italy
Albon Man 1880   USA
John Mawson 1879   UK
Hiram Stephen Maxim 1840-1916 1881 Carbonised Paper M filament. (1884 Machine gun) USA / UK
Friederich Mayer 1926   Germany
A. H. McKeag 1942   UK
de Moleyns 1841 First UK patent for platinum filament lamp. UK
D McFarlan Moore 1896   USA
Pieter van Musschenbroek 1745 Static electricity, the Leyden Jar Netherland
Walther Hermann Nernst 1864-1941 1897 Iron wire evacuated lamp. (Nobel prize 1920) Germany
M. Nollet 1794-1853 1850   UK
Antonio Pacinotti 1841-1912 1860 Dynamo Italy
W. Petrie 1820-94 1848 (1870 improved version Staite arc lamp) UK
M.Pirani 1920’s   Germany
H. Pixii 1823 Generator France
J. Plücker 1854   Germany
Peter Ranby 1950    
Emil Rathenau 1838-1915 1881   Germany
T. Rechinsky 1906    
G. H. Reiling 1961    
J. Ridington 1924   USA
August de la Rive 1820 First platinum filament light in partial vacuum Switzerland
M. J. Roberts 1841    
Mr C. J. Robertson 1893   UK
William Sawyer 1880   USA
Serrin 1857   France
E. C. Shephard 1850    
Carl Siemens 1829-1906 1853   Germany
Dr. Werner Siemens 1816-1892 1866 1866 Word 'dynamo' devloped cheap dynamo with Gramme armature Germany
Wilhelm Siemens 1823-1883 (Later Sir William) 1858   Germany / UK
Sinsteden 1854 Invented Storage battery.  
Slater 1860’s    
Duboscq Soleil 1858   France
Hans Spanner 1926   Germany
Sprengel 1865 Mercury Vacuum pump - First suitable for evacuating air for light bulbs cheaply.  
W. E. Staite 1809-54 1847 M shaped Platinum-Iridium filament (1846-Weight driven arc lamp) UK
J. W. Starr 1822-47 1845 with King - Platinum wire lamp USA
C. H. Stearn 1877    
Sir Joseph Wilson Swan 1828-1914 1879 First practical carbon lightbulb, independent of Edison. UK
Nikola Tesla 1857-1943 1881    
Louis Jacques de Thenard 1777-1857 1801 Incandescence (disputed) France
S.  A. Varley 1866    
Count Alessandro Volta 1745-1827 1796 Improved Galvani pile - Voltaic cell, demostartion of the Carbon Arc Italy
C. C. van Voorhis 1920’s   USA
William Wallace 1878   USA
Watson 1860’s    
Sir Charles Wheatstone 1802-75 1866   UK
Willis Whitney 1905   USA
Wilde 1866    

Next Chapter - Bibliography

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