First public demonstration of the incandescent light bulb


Thomas Edison’s incandescent was not the first light bulb, but rather the first that would be practical on a wide scale due to its carbon filament and the use of a vacuum pump that removed air from inside the bulb. The introduction of this incandescent light bulb signaled a point where electricity would become widespread, especially within classrooms. Unlike prior magic lantern devices that used oil, gas, or limelight, or carbon arc, the Edison bulb paved the way for the electric stereopticon, film projectors, overhead lamps, slide projectors—all essential tools in the context of education.

Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. 15 June 2015. “Let There Be Light Bulbs: How Incandescents Became the Icons of Innovation.” Collectors Weekly. Accessed May 5, 2018.


Edison’s Assistants in His Menlo Park, New Jersey, Lab. 1880. Photograph. Museum of Innovation and Science.

Edison, Thomas. 1879. First Practical Incandescent Electric Lamp. Spark Museum of Electrical Innovation.