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But the voltaic pile was expensive and could be messy.

The invention of the dynamo in 1866 literally generated new possibilities and a few American and European cities had some of their streets illuminated with arc lights by the end of the 1870s.

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Edison was riding high on the fame and profits from his gadgets for telegraph printing, multiplex telegraphy, telephone improvements and the brand-new phonograph.

He figured he and the 40 researchers at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, development lab could come up with a good incandescent bulb in three or four months in 1878.

You will be able to examine the bizarre looking bases and filaments that early light bulbs were once fitted with.

You will also learn why early light bulbs have pointed “tips” at the top and why light bulbs were once commonly referred to as Ever since Edison’s first commercial incandescent light bulb came out in late 1879, light bulbs have been used for many lighting purposes - the homes you live in and the schools you attend, the buses and cars you ride on, the aquarium your fish swim in, the tomato seedlings your dad grows in the basement, the ovens and refrigerators that cook and store your food, the ballparks your favorite teams play on, and the streets and parking lots where you and your friends hang out after dark while your parents wonder where you are.

Businessmen and scientists could work late into the night and people could read, study or socialize after dinner and before bedtime.

As a result, the light bulb ushered into society a new age of enlightenment as it fostered the growth of science, manufacturing, commerce, education, and leisure, vastly improving the lot of many people’s lives.

On this day in 1999, the United States, in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, officially hands over control of the Panama Canal, putting the strategic waterway into Panamanian hands for the first time.

Crowds of Panamanians celebrated the transfer of the 50-mile canal, which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans...

__1879: __Thomas Edison crowns 14 months of testing with an incandescent electric light bulb that lasts 13½ hours.

Sir Humphry Davy had produced incandescent electric light in 1808 by passing battery current through a platinum wire.

On this day in 1775, Patriot forces under Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Richard Montgomery attempt to capture the city of Quebec under cover of darkness and snowfall.