Edison's "New Year's Eve" Lamp

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 2/2/2012

Thomas Edison used this carbon-filament bulb in the first public demonstration of his most famous invention, the first practical electric incandescent lamp, which took place at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory on New Year's Eve, 1879.

As the quintessential American inventor-hero, Edison personified the ideal of the hardworking self-made man. He received a record 1,093 patents and became a skilled entrepreneur. Though occasionally unsuccessful, Edison and his team developed many practical devices in his "invention factory," and fostered faith in technological progress.

Measurements: light bulb: 6 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.; 16.51 x 6.985 cm

Maker: Thomas Alva Edison

Date Made: 1879

Place Made: United States: New Jersey, Menlo Park

Credit Line: from General Electric Co.

Use this Investigation Sheet to guide students through describing the object and analyzing its meaning.

Instructional Strategies