Home Blog Meet Lewis Latimore , The Black Man Who Invented The Light Bulbs We Use Today!

Meet Lewis Latimore , The Black Man Who Invented The Light Bulbs We Use Today!


Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on September 4, 1848. He learned mechanical drawing in the patent attorney office of Crosby and Gould, Boston, Massachusetts. He invented a toilet system for railroad cars in 1873, referred to as watercloset for railroad cars. He also invented an electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket for light bulbs. He supervised the installation of carbon filament electriclighting in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. He was responsible for preparing the mechanical drawings for Alexander Graham Bell s patent application for his telephone design. Lewis Latimer had the distinction of being the only African American member of the Edison Pioneers, a member of Thomas Edison s man2engineering division of the Edison Company.

He joined the EdisonElectric Light Company in 1884 and conducted research on electrical lighting. In 1890 he published Incandescent Electric Lighting, a technical engineering book which became a guide for lighting engineers. For years he served as an expert witness in the court battles over Thomas Edison s patents. At the time of Latimer s death in 1928, the Edison Pioneers attributed his “important inventions” to a “keen perception of the potential of the electriclight and kindred industries.” Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament for electric lighting, replacing the too-fast burning paper filament of Thomas Edison.

Edison’s bulbs were not sustainable, and Latimer’s filaments were not only that, but far more cost-efficient. Latimer previously invented a toilet system for railroad cars, in 1873. he went on to supervise the installation of carbon filament electric lighting in NYC, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. he was the person who prepared Alexander graham bell’s mechanical drawings and the patent application for bell’s telephone.

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