Everyday convenience: The electric light


Probably the earliest form of artificial light the fire lit for warmth and cooking purposes. The torch must have been originally simply a burning stick taken out of the fire. It was perfected when it was found that it would burn longer and more brightly when dipped in fat or oil. The use of far on the torch may have suggested the rushlight, which consisted simply of a rush steam, or some tow, floating in a vessel of oil or liquid fat. The Indian Chirag is just the same principle. A great improvement on the rush light was the candle; but the still greater improvement was the lamp, burning mineral oil, such as kerosene.

Light made our life brighter:

So far, the principle of all artificial lights was the same: they were all oil lights. But the discovery of coal-gas as an illuminant in the 19th century led to a new form of artificial light, namely gas. For the greater part of the 19th Century, gas was the chief kind of artificial light used in the houses and streets of towns. It gave a far better light than candles and lamps and was much more convenient.

But the queen of artificial lights is the electric light, which came into common use in the later part of the 19th century. (the first electric lighting act for England was passed in 1882). There are two kinds of electric lamps- the arc lamp and the incandescent lamp. The arc lamp is generally used out of doors, in railway stations and large public halls; the incandescent lamp in private houses. In the arc lamp, the electric current passing through the space between the ends of the two rods of carbon vaporizes the carbon with intense heat and light. In the incandescent lamp, a resistant thread of carbon, enclosed in a glass bulb from which all the air has been taken (a vacuum), is made white got by the passage through it of an electric current.

Conclusion and present scenario:

Electric light has great advantages over every other kind. It gives a much more brilliant illumination. And it is clean and gives off no smell. Furthermore, it does not consume the oxygen in the air. It is cool, for it produces scarcely any heat. And it is so convenient; for there is no lighting of the lamp, as will oil and gas, but only a switch to turn on or off. No one who has had electric light in his house ever wants to go back to gas, lamps or candles. Nowadays, the streets of every town and even of many a village are lit with electric light; and nearly all the houses in town have electric lighting. So man has captured the lightning and tamed it to his service.

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