Early Edison carbon filament lamp, 1897.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Carbon filament lamp made by the American inventer Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1913). A close up view of a filament lamp (filament broken) with platinum screw clamps to hold the filament. Edison's lamp had a single loop of carbon which glowed when a current flowed through it. The glas bulb contained a partial vacuum; there was so little oxygen in the bulb that the filament could get very hot without catching fire.