Who was Thomas Alva Edison Part 4
But the name of Gramophone became so popular that in this era many recording devices came to be called Gramophone. But the phonograph or gramophone was just the beginning. Another idea came out of the magician scientist’s box which surprised everyone once again. The idea was to light up every American home with electricity. The nights of America and Europe had begun to light up before eighteen hundred and fifty.
Electric towers were also installed and large arc lights were lit in the streets at night. But the problem was that these arc lights provided so much light and so much heat that they could not be used in homes. It could only be hung high on parks or intersections. Until now, people used to arrange lighting with gas or oil in their houses. So in 1888, Edison boasted to reporters that he would soon light up American homes.
Now that such a great scientist had made this claim, the Americans would have had to wait, so they began to wait. It doesn’t even bite into the eyes like an arc light. He estimated that if air was removed from the lamp, that is, a vacuum was created, and then some thin wires were inserted into the lamp and current was passed through it, then the lamp would light up. These tiny wires are called filaments.
But Edison himself used to say that the idea is only one percent of any project and the remaining ninety-nine percent can be completed with hard work , so he started working on the same ninety-nine percent. The first step was to create a vacuum in the lamp, the bulb was not particularly difficult. The question was which material would this filament be made of? Because scientists did not know of any such material at that time.
Edison was the first to make a paper filament. But when the current passed through it, its parts fell apart. Then a line of elements appeared. Anything that comes in front of Edison and his team, whatever metal comes in, will pass an electric current through it and see if the bulb is lit. In this obsessive way, they tested and released horse hair, coconut fiber, spider webs and even some employees’ beard hair.
But no element was standing in front of the current. Platinum filament was once successfully tested, but platinum was a very expensive metal. It was impossible to use it commercially. If it were used, the bulb would obviously be so expensive that ordinary Americans and ordinary people around the world would not be able to afford it. Edison wanted to make a cheap bulb that could reach every home.
So he rejected the platinum filament and instructed his team to continue the experiments. After nearly a year of brainstorming and testing 6,000 materials, Edison’s team was able to create a cheap and standard filament. And that was the carbon filament. Although there is still controversy in history as to who is responsible for the invention of the carbon filament?
The head of Edison or the head of one of his black employees, Edward Lewis Letty Mir? Many people, including the famous West Indies cricketer Michael Holding, think that the inventor of the filament was not Edison but Letty Mir. Those who credited the black employee with the invention believe that white racists have done injustice to blacks by giving credit to Edison for flaming, distorting history.
Now the carbon filament may have been made by Letty Meyer but its commercial benefit was taken by Edison anyway. He made an incandescent light bulb. Now was the time to test it. In 1879, he lit a bulb with a carbon filament and kept it lit for thirteen hours. It was an invention that would revolutionize the world.