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Thomas Edison

While Thomas Edison’s 1879 lightbulb represented an epochal advance, it remained far from perfect: its carbonized cellulose filament gulped power. In 1905 managers at General Electric’s pioneering research laboratory in Schenectady, New York, decided to figure out a way to improve filament performance. They hired 32-year-old William Coolidge, a research assistant to Arthur Noyes at MIT’s Department of Chemistry.

edison lights
Edison's dazzling light display at the 1904 World Fair.

No tale in all the chronicles of American invention would seem to be better known than the story of Thomas Edison’s incandescent electric light.

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