Does electricity affect our way of life

The electric light changed the lives of all of us

Turn night into day. Work anytime, but also read, play, relax. Independence from the course of the sun and its cycle, finding your own rhythm - all of this is only possible through electric light. What is a matter of course for us today, needs a lot of clever minds in order to be developed.

The history of lighting

For a long time, people were satisfied with the open light that was given off by a pine chip, for example, a piece of wood soaked in resin, mostly from the pine that could glow for minutes. Torches burned much longer, which were then replaced by the more practical oil lamps. These were operated with vegetable and animal fats, oils and waxes and, as an absolute novelty, had a wick that produced a quieter flame. Only the rich could afford good candles - their beeswax products cost as much as the lower class earned in a day. These burned sebum or oil, whereby the sebum candles were whitened with arsenic.

Everything changed in the 19th century

The development of light really took off in the 19th century. On the one hand, there were the revolutionary gas lights that were operated with the combustible gas ethine, which was created by combining calcium carbide and water. However, this technology did not find its way into all living rooms, but was instead used as car headlights, bicycle lamps, train lamps, hand lamps as well as table and wall lamps. However, the lamps had a strong smell of their own, which restricted their use indoors.

However, the electric filament did not have such a disadvantage! The researchers who worked on its development probably suspected the potential of this product and worked feverishly on its development - a development that would truly change the whole world!

Different researchers worked independently on the electric lighting

The English chemist Sir Humphry Davy tried to implement a concept with two strips of charcoal as early as 1802, thereby inventing the first arc lamp. It was the basis of all subsequent research on electric light. As early as 1820, Warner de la Rue placed a platinum thread under a glass bell to produce light. However, platinum was far too expensive, which meant that this principle did not prevail. Several unsuccessful attempts followed, most of which of course we do not know. What an exciting time it must have been when the bright minds of the time were busy solving such a weighty problem. Of course, the solution was not long in coming: James Prescott Joule was the first to proclaim that electrical current flowing through a conductor with a high resistance would generate thermal energy and light energy. Now the feverish search for the right filament began. It had to be inexpensive and practical to be used anywhere.

The first real incandescent lamp didn't shine long enough

The first real solution was found in 1840 by the English doctor and chemist Joseph Wilson Swan, who made a carbonized paper conductor glow in a partial vacuum. In 1860 he applied for a patent for his incandescent lamp, which, however, only produced a weak light and did not last long. Thomas Alva Edison perfected this idea and used a filament made of Japanese bamboo, which enabled his incandescent lamp to glow for a full 1,200 hours as early as 1880. That was the beginning of a new era that continues to this day. For the first time it was possible to make electric light usable for everyone, with the known effects on private life and the world of work. But it was not until 1920 that incandescent light replaced the previously common candles and kerosene lights and gas lamps in the streets. Since 2000, thanks to the Internet, these can even be bought in online shops such as Lichtdirekt.

A little thriller began with the invention of the incandescent lamp

Of course, many wanted to claim the invention for themselves. A well-known example is the German Heinrich Goebel, who claims to have invented the light bulb as early as 1854. The spirits still argue about the truthfulness of this statement, but this is officially denied.

From 1885 onwards, Edison Electric Light Co. sued numerous manufacturers of incandescent lamps for infringement of patent law. Of course, this invention is about a lot of money that nobody wanted to let go of. Numerous processes followed, some of which dragged on for years. Many companies, especially in the US electrical industry, wanted the Edison patent to be dropped in order to take advantage of the construction of electrical energy supply networks. At that time, incandescent lamps were the only consumers of electricity in households. The light and the electricity came hand in hand into people's homes and changed our whole world forever. But this development took its time.

The spread of electric light was slow

Electricity was expensive, the power grid had to be expanded and many consumers were not interested in the new technology. So it happened that in 1920 only half of Berlin was connected to the power grid. The energy was only needed for the light; there were hardly any other electrical devices. The companies and municipalities began to pay grants to citizens so that they could take part in the electrification. Electric light had to assert itself against its greatest competitor: gas lighting, which had been able to access a functioning supply network for a long time.

As we know today, this has been achieved across the board - but of course we are only now aware of the disadvantages of electricity production, such as the health risks of nuclear energy.