Answer: Humphrey Davy
Thomas Edison, the renowned and successful American inventor, has a clothes list of accomplishments, including the invention of all sorts of gadgets. What's interesting about the list, though, is that a considerable number of things we attribute to Edison have been refined by him in some way ̵
Edison has invented neither electric lighting nor the light bulb itself. However, he extensively experimented with filament and incandescent design to produce one of the first commercially viable incandescent bulbs. He also played a major role in the early development of power grids and power distribution. The actual invention of the light bulb, however, is an award reserved for Sir Humphry Davy.
In the first decade of the 19th century, Humphry Davy gave the first demonstration of a light bulb. The device, which we now call an arc lamp, generates large amounts of electricity between two carbon rods. The lighting was extremely bright and impractical for residential applications. The original demonstration was more like a proof-of-concept demonstration than anything else, as the arc lamp quickly emptied the battery to which it was attached. With the advent of more advanced electrical delivery systems (such as on site electrical grids and generators), the arc lamp has become more practical, albeit with limited applications. The lamps were used in large buildings and in public areas where bright lighting is required.
Several experimentalists tried to tame Davy's brilliant arc lamps into something more practical for small use (such as in a home or business), but with limited success. Early attempts to make longer lasting filaments were unsuccessful as the filaments eventually burned due to the oxygen-rich environment. During the 19th century experiments were carried out with different filaments, but it was not until the inventors, beginning with Warren de la Rue and Frederick de Moleyns, began to pump out the air and create vacuum incandescent lamps that gave the filaments a chance.
Toward the end of the 19th century, Edison turned to the problem of electric lighting and, after much experimentation and study of the failed bulb designs, began to make strands of carbonized bamboo filament. Its early bulbs had a light life of about 1,200 hours, which was enough to attract the attention and interest of the public.
Image – Public Domain / Wikimedia.