A Brief History of Lighting
Throughout history, humans have relied on natural or artificial lighting to light their way, perform tasks after dark or create a cosy atmosphere. Reliable, efficient lighting plays an important role in modern life, and lighting technology has come a long way to get to where we are today. From early fires and candles to the invention of the first lightbulb, see below for a brief history of how we’ve lit up our homes through the ages.
Humans have been using controlled fires for light and heat for around 120,000 years, and it’s thought that this discovery was made independently by people all over the world. Wildfires could be kept burning by adding animal dung or wood – and soon after, early humans discovered how to spark their own fires using flints. Historians believe that fire was used to light cave drawings and bring them to life, as well as being used as a storytelling device.
Many early civilizations used the sun, moon and stars to dictate the structure of their days, and these natural light sources had a significant influence on architecture too. The Pantheon in Rome is designed around an open-air circle in the roof of the dome, which allows concentrated light to fill the whole building. The stones of Stonehenge are also thought to have been placed in alignment with the movement of the sun.
Candles were invented all the way back in 3000 BCE, and were made from beeswax or tallow (a derivative of animal fat). Candles were the most common light source (along with fires) until the invention of the oil lamp by French chemist Ami Argand in 1780. This was a major breakthrough in domestic lighting, with the lamps producing the same amount of light as ten candles.
William Murdoch invented the gas lamp in 1790, and by the 1820s there were more than 40,000 gas lamps on London’s streets. Gas lights began to enter middle-class domestic homes in the 1840s, although impure gas caused a range of issues including unpleasant smells, headaches, blackening of walls and stifling heat.
Electric lights were developed during the 1870s by several different inventors across the globe, and Thomas Edison patented his version of an incandescent light in 1879. It could burn for 13 and a half hours, and formed the prototype for the modern light bulbs we see today.
Electricity didn’t make its way into the majority of domestic homes until after the First World War. The National Grid was established offering safe, reliable lighting at the flick of a switch. Nowadays there are many forms of lighting available, including energy saving bulbs, LED lights, fluorescent strip lights and more.
If you’re in need of professional lighting and electrical solutions in Glasgow and beyond, get in touch with Interlink Lighting. We have a full range of light and electrical services including lighting design, maintenance, LED lighting, electrical installation and more. To discuss your domestic or commercial lighting requirements, give us a call today or visit our website.