Who invented the lightbulb?

They joined forces shortly after and formed Edison-Swan – probably the largest light bulb manufacturing company.

But although these two inventors created the first commercially successful light bulb in 1879, their glory rested on the shoulders of many others before them.

It was Italian inventor Alessandro Volta who generated the first incandescent lighting, almost 80 years earlier in 1800.

The lighting was a by-product of the glowing of charged copper wire, connected to a voltaic pile – the forerunner to the modern battery.

  • Samuel Morse
  • Nikola Tesla
  • John Swan
  • Guglielmo Marconi

The Answer: The correct answer is John Swan.

Who invented the lightbulb?

The story of the light bulb begins long before Edison patented the first commercially successful bulb in 1879. In 1800, Italian inventor Alessandro Volta developed the first practical method of generating electricity, the voltaic pile. Made of alternating discs of zinc and copper — interspersed with layers of cardboards soaked in salt water — the pile conducted electricity when a copper wire was connected at either end. While actually a predecessor of the modern battery, Volta’s glowing copper wire is also considered to be one of the earliest manifestations of incandescent lighting.

Not long after Volta presented his discovery of a continuous source of electricity to the Royal Society in London, Humphry Davy, an English chemist and inventor, produced the world’s first electric lamp by connecting voltaic piles to charcoal electrodes. Davy’s 1802 invention was known as an electric arc lamp, named for the bright arc of light emitted between its two carbon rods.

In 2018 the LED lighting market was worth almost $52 billion and is expected to reach over $112 billion by 2024. But 200 years before LEDs were a multibillion-dollar industry, and decades before Edison showed up, light bulbs were an idea just starting to enter the minds of curious scientists.

They may look the same, but the lights of today are almost nothing like those of yesterday. Watch the video to find out more about the transformation of the light bulb.