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The invention of the incandescent lamp as we have know it for over a century, is
often attributed to Thomas Alva Edison. Edison however was only one of many
technicians that contributed to the development of a practical method to generate
light with help of electricity. In 1879 Joseph Wilson Swan build an electric lamp out of
a vacuum glass bulb and a platinum filament that lasted a few hours. Thomas Alva
Edison improved this design and in 1880 he succeeded in producing a 16 Watt
incandescent lamp with a carbon filament that burned for about 1500 hours
continuously. Twenty-five years earlier however, in 1854, Heinrich Göbel already
succeeded in the construction of a good performing incandescent lamp. This lamp
had a filament of carbonised bamboo fibres and was constructed from a bottle that
was made vacuum with help of mercury. Göbel his lamp burned for about 400 hours.
In 1879 Edison claimed a patent on a similar lamp but Göbel disputed this patent and
in 1893, one year before he passed away, he finally got his rights. Because Edison
in the end was the first one to succeed in the industrial production of incandescent
lamps, he widely is accepted as the inventor of it.