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The invention of the gas lamp by Thomas Edison in 1879 marked an important milestone in the development of gas lighting. Yet it is important to remember that by the time of this invention incandescent lighting was already a mature and well-developed industry with sound infrastructure in place and a host of players. Many inventors had dabbled in the making of electric lamps with little success but all contributed to the understanding of electric light. Among the players Edison's time were Sir Humphrey Davy, Warren De la Rue, James Bowman Lindsay, James Prescott Joule, Frederick de Moleyns and Heinrich Göbel. From the very beginning, there was a serious fight for control of the lighting industry with the main players determined to control its advancement. While hundreds of companies were involved, two eventually emerged as industry leaders and, by use of patents managed to emerge as clear monopolies. These companies are General Electric and Westinghouse. Between 1878 and 1880, Edison and his associates made innumerable attempts to develop an incandescent light bulb. Their aim was to develop a variety with a high resistance system and one that would require less electric power than the arc lamps. This was achieved in 1879 when Edison developed an incandescent electric light that worked by passing electricity through a thin platinum filament in the glass vacuum bulb. The mere number of attempts at achieving the bulb that Edison had in mind is a study in perseverance. After the filament disappointed by burning for only a short period, Edison tested thousands of other materials and by the end of 1880 had produced a 16-watt bulb that could last for 1500 hours.

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History of Light Bulbs