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Tour the ProjectsElectric Nation


Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Edison divined that electric lighting might be the next big thing and the best vehicle to demonstrate his idea. First, he needed to create an electric burner that would not quickly burn up or melt at high temperature. After frenzied experiments with dozens of substances shaped into various forms—wires, foils, sticks, buttons—Edison tried a filament made of tough cardboard. The lamp stayed lit for more than a week! Exulted, on November 4, 1879, Edison applied for a patent on a carbon-filament lamp.

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Great Projects: The Building of America



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