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Lighting A Revolution Home Link from any page on the site.

This web site accompanies an exhibition at the National Museum of American History exploring the process of invention. The story is told in two parallel sections comparing Thomas Edison's light bulb invention with several electric lighting inventions of a century later. Objects and graphics from both sections of the exhibition can be viewed on this site, as can the complete exhibition script.

Link: 19th Century Invention Link: 20th Century Invention Link: Guest Lounge and 

The process of innovation can be considered in a sequence of five steps.

  • Step 1: "preconditions" or prior knowledge that inventors build on
  • Step 2: the act of "invention" itself
  • Step 3: "promotion" of the invention
  • Step 4: "competition" to the invention
  • Step 5: "consequences" stemming from use of the invention

The doors above will lead you to these steps for Thomas Edison's work in the late 19th century, and for the work of lamp inventors in the late 20th century. In the Guest Lounge there are photographs, a reference library, links to interesting sites, and the scripts and lists from the physical exhibition.

Enjoy your tour!


for the physical exhibition.

What's New
on this site.

Exhibition Script:
19th century section
Site Map Exhibition Script:
20th century section

19th Century
Invention Hall
20th Century
Invention Hall
Guest Lounge
& Library
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May 2020
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