Today we commemorate the 135th anniversary of the invention of an incandescent light bulb, a discovery that changed the world. On October 22, 1879, after many experiments, Thomas Alva Edison finally managed to light a piece of carbon in a vacuum tube for 13.5 hours.
The effort to find the source of artificial light itself has started much earlier. In the historical record, there are more than twenty scientists who have been researching how to create an incandescent light bulb since the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, their findings were not encouraging. The resulting lights can only last a while and require a large electric current as well as high manufacturing costs. This causes incandescent light bulbs are still difficult to mass-produce.
Then Thomas Alva Edison manages to make an incandescent light bulb that can burn for a long time, 13.5 hours. In fact, a few months later, he improved his findings to last for 1200 hours. On November 4, 1879 he listed this discovery with US patent number 223.898 (adopted on 27 January 1880). The registered patent is an electric lamp that uses a carbon or carbon plate that is twisted and connected with a platinum wire.
This incandescent bulb has a better level of air void and higher endurance so it can be used in many places. This discovery also encouraged the development of electricity grids to the homes of the population. From that day on, the incandescent light bulb became part of human life. Humans use it for home lights, street lighting, flashlights and car lights. The world is changing. Slowly candles and oil lamps are replaced with incandescent light bulbs.
[caption id = "attachment_368375" align = "aligncenter" width = "567" caption = "Thomas Alfa Edison bulb (source: Wikipedia)"]
How many times Thomas Alva Edison tried?
The discovery of incandescent light bulbs is phenomenal and familiar to us. Until now we often read or hear teachers, motivators or speakers remember the events of this discovery, especially when encouraging others not to give up easily. We often hear sentences like, How many times did Thomas Alva Edison fail before finding the incandescent light bulb?
The answer also vary. Some say Thomas Alva Edison tried 999 times. Only in 1000 times did he succeed. Even on the internet, we can find very many versions, some call 300, 700, 999, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 10,000, even 20,000. It is not clear which one is true.
A contributor to one of the most respected media outlets, Forbes, cites the words of Thomas Alva Edison as follows:I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.
I am not failing 10,000 times. I did not fail once. I managed to prove that there were 10,000 wrong ways. When I have figured out the wrong ways, I will finally find a right way.
With so many patents produced by Thomas Alva Edison (2332 patents in various inventions), I believe he does not literally do 10,000 failures in trying to find an incandescent light bulb. In fact, I'm not sure he counts exactly how many times he tried. What is clear, he did it with a hard effort and constantly until finally succeeded.
The effort and persistence of Thomas Alva Edison was not in vain. Now the whole world can enjoy a longer day thanks to its invention, although now the incandescent light bulbs are being replaced by energy saving lamps, and in recent developments LED lights emerge.
We should be grateful this time we have an artificial light source that makes life easier and more comfortable. The brightest world today can make us fall asleep and forget the importance of this discovery. Maybe we just noticed it when the power went out. Maybe we also should be grateful that the electricity conditions in Indonesia are generally still byar-pet actually make us more appreciate the work of Thomas Alva Edison this.