History of Lamps and other Lighting Instruments
Since the dawn of the humanity, men tried to create light and chase away the darkness. In that endeavor, he came a long way.
Evidences of the first lamps used by early humans date back to 70.000BC. They were of simple structure - just a shell or a hollow rock, which holds piece
of moss soaked in animal fat that burns with a flame. Since those times, people used other materials for a body of the lamp - terracotta, marble and metal
and instead of fat, oil was used (fish and olive oil). Wick was also often added to prolong burning of the flame and to focus it. Oil lamps were the most
widespread method of illumination until the end of the 18th century.
As the time passed, and new energy sources were discovered, new kinds of lamps were invented. In the 19th century, the kerosene lamps were introduced in
Germany. It was a container with a kerosene in which wick or mantle was dipped that burned. Container had glass chimney or a globe, which protected flame
from a draft.
Last decades of the 18th century saw the first commercial use of coal gas for lightning the house. Coal gas was transported to the place of consumption by
pipes and led into the lamps. In the early 19th century, most of the cities in the Europe and United States have their streets lit with gas light.
Long battle against the night is marked with great inventions in artificial lightning. Some simple and basic, some complicated and lucky they all gave us lamps that we have today so we don’t have to consider darkness as our enemy any more. Find here more information about history of lamps.(more)
When in need for a portable light source - lanterns are a good solution. Some of them have esthetic qualities and some of them even spiritual. Read more about history of lanterns.(more)
Then comes one of the greatest inventions of human history - electricity and electrical lamp. In 1801 Sir Humphrey Davy invented the first electric carbon
arc lamp by connecting two wires to the battery and attaching a charcoal strip to the other end of the wires making charge carbon glow. Again primitive, it
needed perfecting and during the 1870s, both Thomas Edison and Sir Joseph Swann invented electric incandescent lamp independently (Edison by improving the
50 year old patent). It worked when an electric current was passed through a filament, which heated and produced light. These lamps lasted short by modern
standards and were inefficient and fragile, but were a giant leap forward and a good base for what came after. Electric bulb was improved in 1920 when a
carbon filament that was used until then is replaced with tungsten and a space inside a bulb is filled with a gas, which reduced evaporation of tungsten
and with that prolongs the life of a lamp.
Some of the other type of lamps that were stepping-stones in the development of electrical lamps are fluorescent triphosphor lamps, metal halide,
high-pressure sodium lamp and dichroic extra low voltage lamp.
Advancement in technology of electrical lamps is ongoing, and today, we produce many kinds of lamps with various materials, power sources, color of lights
and for different usage. Neon and fluorescent lights are very popular in both industrial and home uses. Mercury lights are, because of their color,
efficiency and life, used for stadiums, factories and for streetlight.
- History of Sky Lanterns
There is a special kind of lantern - a sky lantern. It is a cross between a candle and a hot air balloon. It looks pretty when used but it can be pretty dangerous. Read here about sky lantern history.
- History of Paper Lanterns
Paper lanterns are, at the first glance, simple objects. But they carry a story of a thousand years and a meaning in their light. Find out more.
- History of Lantern
Lantern had use in human life for a very long time. It was designed, before everything, in a practical way - to shield the flame that was burning in it and, in some versions, to enable portability of light. Read more about history of lanterns.
- Oil Lamp History
Every story has a beginning and so does the history of lamps. It begins with oil lamps, maybe one of the first objects that man mass produced. Find out more about history of oil lamps.
- Gas Lamp History
Gas lamps were the next step in providing the world with efficient and practical light source. While with its drawbacks, gas light proved popular and useful. Find out more about history of gas lamps.
- Kerosene Lamp History
Let’s imagine it’s the end of the 19th century, it’s night and you have to do something outside. Oil lamp doesn’t give enough light and you can’t detach gas lamp from the wall without springing a major leak. What to do? Try kerosene lamp! Read more about history of kerosene lamps.
- Electric Lamp History
As the oil, gas and kerosene held the world as the most important sources of energy and light, a new type of energy was slowly making its place in the world - electricity. Find more about birth and history of the electric light.