The pace of technology today can seem breakneck: there’s a new device practically every day. While we do live in an exciting time, some of the most life-altering technological advancements didn’t happen last year… they didn’t even happen in the last century!
It’s appropriately fitting that great ideas are sometimes referred to as light bulb moments, since the light bulb itself was a pretty darn good one. Refined for wide use with a carbon filiment by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879, the incandescent light bulb completely revolutionized the way we live. It made streets safer and businesses more productive. And it gave people hours of time for activities like reading, writing or sewing that had previously been difficult by dim candlelight. But as life changing as this invention was, the incandescent light bulb is just one of many late 19th century inventions that we still love today.
Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876. Original prototypes relied on a series of electromagnets, membranes and cemented iron to reproduce sound.
Levi Strauss patented denim pants reinforced with copper rivets in 1873. Called “waist coveralls,” the rugged work pants were marketed to miners who flocked to California’s gold rush.
James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher, invented Basketball in 1891 to keep students active during long, cold winters. The original version of the game was played by throwing a soccer ball into a peach basket, with the bottom still intact.
George Eastman, looking for ways to make photography more portable, created the first flexible roll of film in 1882, eliminating the need for inconvenient glass plates.
It’s interesting to consider just how far many inventions have continued to develop. Telephones are small and smart. Jeans come in millions of styles. Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. And photography has gone from glass plates, to flexible film, to entirely digital. Yet, one of these inventions has remained virtually unchanged for over a hundred years: the incandescent light bulb.
Think about how many incandescent bulbs you still have in lamps and fixtures throughout your home. Now ask yourself: what other technology do rely on that hasn’t been improved upon in over 130 years? Today’s CFL and LED bulbs might cost a little more at the register, but they’ll save you big over the long term by using 75% less electricity. It’s time to hang up the 1879 technology for 2011!
If you’re a Duke Energy customer, you may qualify for free CFL bulbs. Visit www.duke-energy.com/freecfls to see if this offer is available in your area.