See more objects with the tag lighting, domestic, electricity, rounded, public, offices, tool, innovative, transparent.

See more objects with the color darkslategrey grey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Edison Lamp

This is a Edison Lamp.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of American History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated 1880. Its medium is bamboo, glass, wood, brass, plaster, platinum, cork.

In 1880, Thomas Edison and his team began selling their newly invented electrical lighting system, which incorporated lamps like this example. An electrical current heated a filament of baked bamboo, thereby making the filament glow, or "incandesce." These early Edison lamps provided the same amount of light as gas lamps but they glowed steadily, rather than flickering, and gave off no fumes. With no open flame, incandescent lamps could be used where candles or gas lamps would be dangerous, such as mines and textile factories. They also invited flexibility in lighting design, since they could be installed without regard to fuel flow or flame path. Simple in construction, Edison’s lamps lasted about 650 hours and, unlike gas lamps, could be lit and turned off with the flick of a switch. The new lighting provided a practical and, ultimately, inexpensive way to extend the day, for work and play.

It is credited Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Cat. 310579.01.

  • Bulb Lamp
  • mold-blown glass, chrome-plated metal, incandescent bulb.
  • Gift of Ingo Maurer.
  • 2008-16-1-a,b

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 17.8 × 6 cm (7 in. × 2 3/8 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Edison Lamp |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>