Carbon-Arc Light as the Electric Light of 1870

Carbon-Arc Light as the Electric Light of 1870

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Author(s): Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

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DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.581 477 1222 1-7 Volume 3 - Oct 2014


When asked to define the electric light, we immediately think of the artificial lighting produced by incandescent and gas-discharge lamps. But in the past, the electric lamps had a rather different form. About 1870, electric lighting was based on carbon-arc devices powered by magneto-electric generators. We find an interesting and detailed description of this technology in an essay written by Jacob Abbott, an American writer of children's books, and published by Harper’s Magazine in the August Issue of that year. From this Abbott’s essay, we start our discuss of the electric lighting system of the 19th century.


History of Physics, History of Engineering, Carbon-Arc Light, Electromagnetism


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