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Six views showing Menlo Park and exterior of Edison's laboratory, and electric light apparatus.
Edison's Menlo Park laboratory where he worked on the electric light bulb

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First Public Demonstration of Edison's Light Bulb
December 31, 1879

On December 31, 1879, after years of work and thousands of experiments, Edison gave the first public demonstration of the incandescent light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. An incandescent light has a thread-like object, or filament, that gives off light when heated to incandescence (hot enough to emit light) by an electric current.

Edison was able to spend so much time on this invention because, thanks to his reputation as a successful inventor, he had the support of some leading financiers of the day. J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts established the Edison Light Company and advanced Edison $30,000 for research and development.

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