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The Edison Electric Light Company Starts (1878)

The Edison Electric Light Company Starts (1878)

The Edison Electric Light Company was important as it provided Thomas Edison with the funds he needed to be able to pursue his electricity experiments. Although the English inventor Joseph Swan had first coined the phrase filament to describe the strip of wire that carries electric energy to a bulb, Edison, through this company, brought the technology to the mainstream. A special public exhibition at the lab was given for visitors on New Year’s Eve 1879. In 1880, the company merged with Edison’s other businesses, forming the Edison General Electric Company, one of the most innovative and successful businesses of all time. This new company’s biggest competitor was Charles Coffin’s Thomson-Houston Electric Company. Both were very successful but eventually realised that they could not grow without joining forces. This union became known as General Electric, which is still running to this day! Thomas Edison was born in Ohio and actually got his first job because he was a good samaritan. At just 17, Edison saved a small boy from being hit by a train. The boy’s father was so grateful that he offered inexperienced Edison a job as a telegraph operator – furthering the investor’s love of all things technical!

Learn more about technical advancements and communication with these activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Learn more about the invention of cameras and photography – here
  • Have a go at our medium difficulty technology word search – here 
  • Get crafty with this science-based lava lamp craft activity – here 
  • Have a go at these fun, simple electricity experiments – coming soon!