Many teams and individuals have been involved with electric lighting
technology during the past 120 years. Their collective efforts turned
the marvel of electric lighting into a mundane part of our technical
infrastructureand in the process changed the way we live.
This section (to be expanded in future updates) presents some details
of the history they have shaped.
Advertising: Ink Blotters
Light bulb makers have tried many methods of advertising their
products. A common technique involved giving consumers (or retailers)
a low-cost, useful item imprinted with an advertisement. In 1998
General Electric donated to the museum an archival collection that
included an assortment of 38 ink blotters dating from early in the
20th century. Made of cardboard and measuring about 15.25 x 7.5
cm (6 x 3 inches), these blotters could be printed with the name
of the participating store or electric utility.
Eighteen of the blotters are presented below. Click on any of the
images for an enlarged view and additional information about that
blotter. The General Electric Nela Park
material is collection number 0789 in the museum's Archives Center. Researchers may view this material by making
an appointment with the Archives
All blotters images are reproduced through the
courtesy of General Electric Lighting Co.
Patents show the intent of an inventor and provide minute details
of an invention. Exploring these documents can give insight
into the inventive process, and show paths considered but not taken.
Also, patents sometime contain interesting examples of ideas that
were ahead of their time.
-- Thomas Edison:
-- Thomas Edison:
-- Elmer Fridrich and Emmett Wiley:
tungsten halogen lamp.
-- Frederick Mosby:
tungsten halogen lamp for the home.
-- Charles P. Steinmetz:
mercury lamp with halide salts.
-- Elmer Fridrich:
machine for making short-arc lamps.