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incandescent lamp

A lighting device in which light is produced using electrical current to heat a thin filament (thread) or metal to a temperature where it gives off light. Household incandescents usually use tungsten or tungsten-alloy filaments.

The development of the commercial incandescent lamp is one of inventor Thomas Edison's most storied achievements, but what most people don't realize is that tungsten is rather unique in its ability to withstand long periods of being heated to white-hot temperatures, and its discovery was a very long and costly process. Over one thousand different materials were tested as filaments before tungsten was discovered to be durable enough for commercial use. Edison's quest for commercial incandescence was widely covered by the financial and mainstream press of the day, and as the search continued for years beyond Edison's most pessimistic predictions, leading many experts of the day to conclude that incandescent light might not be possible to produce.

See also:

fluorescent lamp, high-intensity discharge lamp