Segments in this Video

Incandescent Lighting (07:32)


Thomas Edison was the 23rd inventor to attempt to create the electric light, but was the first to patent, and then mass produce the invention. Michael Faraday created the first electromagnetic generator. Arc light was used commercially, so Edison created a smaller, safer version for domestic lighting.

Thomas Edison's Team of Innovators (08:56)

Edison pressured investors on Wall Street to invest heavily in his lighting project so he could beat Joseph Swan and William Sawyer to the patent. Edison's closest friend and colleague was Charles Bachelor. Edison took "cat naps" on laboratory benches until a project was completed.

Vacuum Sealed Bulbs (08:48)

The filaments Edison chose for his electric lightbulbs failed and the inventor was only able to sleep following a large dose of morphine. His team worked to create vacuum sealed bulbs. Edison and his team discovered the best filament thus far was carbonized sewing thread; he created a New Years demonstration of his newest electric light.

Electrical Lighting Systems (08:52)

Joseph Swan created an incandescent electric lamp a year ahead of Edison, but had not created a lamp that would work in a large scale system. Wall Street continued investing in the electric light project as Edison moved his operation to New York. Edison convinced New York politicians to let him install lightbulbs along the streets of a neighborhood in the city; he married Mina Miller following the death of his first wife.

Edison Lighting System (09:04)

Nikola Tesla invented the DC current that Edison used for his electrical lighting system, and later developed the improved AC current used to combat Edison's work. Capitalists took over the future of the electrical industry with the formation of General Electric, leaving off Edison's name from the company. America entered the age of electricity at the turn of the century.

Credits: The Electric Light (00:23)

Credits: The Electric Light

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Modern Marvels: The Electric Light

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Probably Thomas Edison's best known invention is the electric light. But the familiar light bulb is only the most obvious element of Edison's accomplishment. He also created from scratch a delivery system for his light.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL160898

Copyright date: ©1998

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.