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1/ Who invented the lightbulb?
History is the study of the past. What is studied in history is carefully chosen and interpreted, and then it is told. If this is the first year you have heard of Juneteenth-congratulations, you are experiencing first hand how history actually works
2/ If you have heard of Juneteenth in school, that is because your teacher probably learned of it on his or her own, because it is not in textbooks or is it taught outside of specialized college classes. And this is on purpose. History is about power and control.
3/ Case in point: Thomas Edison. Most of us probably have a view of Thomas Edison as a workaholic, toiling away in his lab at all hours of the night. After all, he invented the lightbulb and so many other things, right?

Not quite.
4/ Thomas Edison's lightbulb was made first with a paper filament and then cotton. As a result, it did not last long--only 14 or so hours. The first functional lightbulb, with a carbon-based filament was invented by a black man. His name was Lewis Latimer.
5/ Lewis Latimer patented the first carbon-based lightbulb in 1881 and sold the patent to the U.S. Electric Company. He then went on to patent the process of making carbon filaments which resulted in faster production and cheaper bulbs.
6/ He even patented the threaded socket that became the standard for all lightbulbs. He wrote the first book on electric lighting as well. Thomas Edison eventually hired Lewis Latimer in 1884.
7/ And Latimer then became Edison's chief patent writer and further helped Edison improve upon the lightbulb.

Thomas Edison may have invented the first lightbulb. But it is Lewis Latimer's version that became the standard upon which all lightbulbs after were patterned.
8/ And it is Thomas Edison that is remembered in history. So many companies at the time were working on the lightbulb. Thomas Edison and his research lab were just one of hundreds. The history is a lot more complex than what we are told.
9/ You won't find even a mention at all of Latimer on the Energy Department's "History of the Lightbulb" page (By the way, Latimer also worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the telephone, as well).
10/ That is how history works: the history we think we know, may not be the history that happened.

#LewisLatimer #Lightbulb
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