Although I think Tim’s choice was a good one (see his post ), my choice for the most important event of the nineteenth century, post-Civil War is the invention of the first practical incandescent light bulb by Thomas Edison. His creation of this light bulb as well as his other inventions make him the most recognized inventor of the nineteenth century and perhaps of all time. In fact, reports about his most significant inventions were featured in several nineteenth century issues of Scientific American, more than any inventor of the era.
Newspapers, however, were slow but not reluctant to recognize Edison’s achievements. As a result, there is no single report that marked his most famous invention. The reports were usually topical ones written by staff writers who visited Menlo Park, witnessed demonstrations of his inventions, or interviewed Mr. Edison. Images and a description were featured in the Scientific American issue dated March 22, 1879. Nevertheless, the impact of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb and his other inventions are immeasurable and far-reaching. They continue to play a role in our daily lives and make the world a better place for all mankind.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Note: Images with a supporting article were featured in the March 22, 1879 issue of Scientific American .