Edison screw-in bulb, c 1880.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Edison screw-in bulb was the first light bulb to be manufactured on a large scale. In sending a current to heat a filament, and thus produce light, the Edison screw-in bulb worked like any other bulb. What made it stand out, was Thomas Edison's (1847- 1931) determination to produce a bulb capable of heating a room for weeks. Edison also worked hard on how to create a vacuum within the bulb, and therefore increase its burning capacity. By 1879, he had made pumps which could achieve a vacuum a millionth of standard atmospheric presure.