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Evolution of the Light Bulb

Evolution of the Light Bulb

Over the years, humans have benefited from the evolution of the light bulb in numerous ways. From enhancing typical workdays to being a steady nighttime companion, the light bulb is essential for all that we do. This amazing innovation has seen a vast number of transformations over the years, so let's explore some of them here.

Arc Lamps

Unlike the modern-day bulbs you might think of today, arc lamps operated around the concept of producing an electrical spark in the air between two carbon rods. To generate the maximum amount of light, the space between these two rods had to be optimal. A space too small would generate minimal light, whereas too large of a space would flicker and go out.

As previously stated, the arc lamp’s rods were composed of carbon, and the vaporization of these occurred at high temperatures. Carbon vapors are luminous, making it necessary for the carbon to be present in the arc lamps to produce the necessary light. Although innovative, these had serious disadvantages, such as producing harmful UV rays and emitting carbon monoxide gas.

Incandescent Bulbs

In 1879, Thomas A. Edison received a patent for the incandescent light bulb. The emission of light from an incandescent bulb is produced from a filament being heated, which contains an inert gas. The filament within the incandescent bulbs is made from tungsten, making the glow more luminous and consumes less energy.

Even though Edison is credited with creating the incandescent light bulb, the first signs of continuous electric light were reported as early as 1835. Some theories have surfaced that it was Nikola Tesla who invented the incandescent bulb. Still, there is little to no proof to back up these theories – leaving Edison the victor.

Halogen Light Bulbs

“Halogen” can be defined as a group of elements on the periodic table – fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. This group of elements is nonmetallic and reactive, forming strong acidic compounds with hydrogen. So, what does this mean in terms of the light bulb’s evolution?

Using a halogen, such as iodine or bromine, improves the life of the tungsten filament and increases the illumination that comes from the bulb. The advantage of using halogens instead of inert gas allows for the byproduct of the tungsten to be redeposited, increasing the filament’s life within the bulb.


Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are a type of light bulb that create more illumination and use 25% less energy than the halogen bulbs. Amidst the oil crisis, Edward Hammer found a way to bend fluorescent tubes, creating the first CFLs in 1976.

Finding a new, more energy-efficient means of lighting was necessary during this time. CFLs used Argon and a small amount of mercury vapor within the bent tubing coated in phosphor. As the electric current passes through these gasses, invisible ultraviolet light is produced, triggering the phosphor, emitting the white glowing light. Colored CFLs are the product of the above light recipe, but with colored tubing!

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LED lighting is a game-changer in the evolution of the light bulb. The first usable LED products to hit the market were HP’s LED display and Monsanto’s LED indicator lamp in 1968. These first LEDs were red lights that were only bright enough for use as indicators. These breakthroughs were the beginning of LED lighting.

Still, it wasn’t until 2014 when experimental white LEDs produced 303 lumens per watt of electricity. The illumination comes from tiny bulbs that are fit together in a bulb, emitting light in a single direction by the movement of semiconductor electrons.

Now, LEDs are not only white but red, green, blue, and every other color of the rainbow. Koda’s LED ceiling light is an example of this. This LED light is a dimmable, bright LED that offers 1600 lumens with advanced motion sensing technology to turn on or off as you enter or leave the room. You can also choose from 16 colors and four unique ambiance modes, all from a remote that allows you to control all the light’s functions.

We have come a long way since the first arc lamps. Now we can set the mood with a colorful LED lighting arrangement or secure our homes with outdoor LED floodlights. Thomas Edison would be proud!

Are you interested in learning more about the advanced LED lighting for indoor and outdoor use available from Koda? Visit https://kodabuilt.com/ for more lighting options.