"New Type Edison" incandescent lamp

Description (Brief)
Invention rarely stops when the inventor introduces a new device. Thomas A. Edison and his team worked to improve his electric lighting system for some years after the initial introduction in 1880. This lamp shows the changes made after six years of labor aimed at lowering costs and increasing production. The simplified base required little material; the diameter and thread-pitch are still used today. The filament was changed from bamboo to a treated cellulose invented by English chemist Joseph Swan. The bulbs were made by semi-skilled laborers blowing glass into iron molds. The cost had dropped from about $1.00 per lamp to less than 30¢.
Object Name
light bulb
incandescent lamp
date made
ca 1886
Edison Lamp Company
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
plaster (overall material)
glass (overall material)
carbon (overall material)
overall: 15 cm x 5.5 cm; 5 29/32 in x 2 5/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
American Enterprise
Energy & Power
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Princeton University, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, thru Dean Howard Menand

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.