A reliable light source at the flick of a switch is something which we today take for granted. Before the dawn of the age of the light bulb in the early 1800s people had to rely on gas lamps, oil lanterns and candles for their source of light. The invention of the light bulb is a process in which many innovative individuals have taken part. Experiments by English Chemist Humphrey Davy began to pave the way when he experimented with batteries to induce a current between two charcoal strips. The current flowing through the strips produced an intense incandescent light. Various other inventors tweaked this method, experimenting with various gases, vacuum chambers and filaments with the aim of obtaining a low reaction rate and improving the longevity of the bulb.
It is difficult to believe today that light bulbs once were only made with the precious metal platinum. Today they are relatively cheap to manufacture and require no external regulating equipment. Innovations in the light bulbs are also aiming to save the consumer money and making significant steps to meeting energy targets. The development of newer heat conversion techniques are allowing manufacturers to phase out less efficient incandescent light bulbs in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives. The leading light bulb manufacturer in the United States is General Electric.