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Light Bulb Types

Incandescent Light bulbs

Definition

The Incandescent bulb is a lighting device that produces light that is a product of the process called incandescence. Incandescence is the process of creating heat (in this case the heating of a filament) to produce light. These bulbs come in a wide array of wattages, voltages and sizes.

Incandescent bulbs are pioneers in electric lighting and have been in use for roughly 140 years. Although Thomas Edison is considered the inventor of the first incandescent bulb, there are actually numerous people who came up with the components and even prototypes of the first incandescent bulb prior to Edison’s practical bulb.

One of the first people who attempted to create the light bulb was physicist Joseph Swan, who received the first ever patent for completing an incandescent light bulb with carbon filaments in 1879. In addition, Swan’s house had the distinction of basking in the light of incandescent bulbs. It was then that Swan and Edison's companies merged and created the first viable light bulb for commercial applications.

Manner of Operation

The typical Incandescent bulb has a glass enclosure that contains a tungsten filament. The electric current passes through the filament thus heating it to a point where it glows, producing light. These bulbs usually come with a glass mount or stem that is attached to its base, which will allow the electric contacts to run through without air or gas leaks. Small wires are embedded within the stem so that it can support the filament or the lead wires in the bulb. The enclosure of glass contains inert gasses or a vacuum that can effectively preserve the filament and prevent it from evaporating prematurely.

Applications

External regulating equipment is unnecessary when operating an incandescent bulb. In addition, they have very low manufacturing costs and can work well on direct current as well as alternating currents, also known as DC and AC. They are also compatible with devices that grant more control over the light produced such as dimmers, photo sensors and timers.

Incandescent bulbs are widely used in households, be it outdoor or indoor areas, as well as commercial buildings. These bulbs are also used in portable light sources like lamps, headlights, advertising lights and even flashlights.

Unfortunately, with the technological advances of today, incandescent light bulbs are slowly being phased out in favour of more energy-efficient lighting solutions.