From candle to LED technology - the history of artificial light
The history of light guides us through centuries of human invention and technological innovation. Observing nature brought us fire, a source of light and heat that started an avalanche of discoveries and amenities that will change our society once and for all. Now, when the climate crisis is a real threat, we have to look for solutions that not only facilitate our lives, but also support our planet.
First attempts to dispel the darkness
The sun for hundreds of years was the only source of light which, thanks to its properties, became an object of worship in many cultures.
Since people learned to use fire and then start and keep the flame alight themselves, life has become much easier for them. The fire allowed them to extend their functioning also for the time after dark , allowed the rooms and bodies to be heated, and also diversified the menu.
Prehistoric man began to notice that different types of wood burn with varying degrees of violence, and that dry branches catch fire more slowly than wet ones. So slowly appeared the need to carry the fire, which in turn led to the creation of a torch, the prototype of a torch. Vegetable and animal fats have also been found to sustain fire in the same way as wood. These substances were placed in shells or on stones and set on fire.
With time, a prototype of a wick appeared, made of moss or leaves, stabilizing the fire - it resulted in the creation of a lamp. The first ceramic lanterns appeared in ancient Egypt . Specially for the oil vessels, they had the form of an open bowl, which was covered over time, leaving only a small filler hole and a special wick cutout.
Following this, the man began to strengthen the torch with fat or clumps of dry grass, it allowed to increase the lighting properties of the torch, and this is how the prototype of the torch was created. Moss and leaves were replaced with flax fibers, cotton and strips of fabric, which were deeply saturated with flammable substances, were much more durable in their action. The first torches of this type were used to illuminate streets in Syria as early as the 6th century B.C.
Lighten the "dark ages"
The breakthrough came with the invention of a candle made of beeswax. It made the process of lighting and extinguishing the light source much easier, and it was also a small and handy item. Everything points to the fact that already in the second century BCE our ancestors enjoyed the first candles they made. Due to the expensive material, they were used during ceremonies and religious holidays. In the 10th century candles became more common due to a cheaper substitute - tallow candles. Over the centuries, many amenities have been created to brighten the interior - this is how the first candlesticks, candlesticks, chandeliers and wall lamps appeared.
The turn of the 18th and 19th centuries was the time of work on the oil lamp - began to add glass covers to protect the flame, a burner was installed and an air stream was provided from the bottom. Following these changes, the composition of the candle itself was refined, the wax was replaced with stearin, and then with paraffin, and in this form the candle is known to us to this day. In addition, the beginning of the light gas generated by the production of coke dates back to this period. It was used to illuminate the streets of London and then Paris. The next step in the development of lighting were arc lamps, the operation of which was based on the interaction of the electrodes and the flow of current between them.
The breakthrough was the invention of the kerosene lamp, which was done in 1853 by Ignacy Łukasiewicz. He distilled kerosene, and then created a lamp, which became the most popular device illuminating the interior of houses. It took the form of office, bedside or lounge lamps, and even car headlights.
Electricity drives light
Thomas Edison is assumed to be the creator of the bulb, but he worked on a prototype created in 1860 by Joseph Wilson Swan. The idea was patented in 1879. And the inventor of the modern tungsten bulb is Irving Langmuir, who designed it in 1913.
It is worth explaining how the bulb itself actually works and how it produces the light that illuminates our homes. At the center of this device is a filament, a thin tungsten wire that glows when electric current passes through it. However, it is necessary to enclose the wire in a vacuum to prevent the tungsten from oxidizing.
In parallel, his work was continued by Georges Claude, whose work resulted in the creation of the lamp. The light was emitted here thanks to the electric discharges of atoms placed inside the neon. These are the fluorescent lamps we know today, which also appear in the form of colored street neon lights.
In 1938, the first fluorescent lamps appeared on the market, that is fluorescent lamps. The light-emitting substance is a phosphor, which covers the inner surface of the lamp, which is filled with mercury and argon vapors. The discharges there generate ultraviolet radiation, which is then converted by the phosphor into light.
More durable and cheaper light bulbs allowed to illuminate large industrial and commercial areas, they had brighter and more penetrating light, much more pleasant for the human eye.
Over the decades, all kinds of improvements have been made to make light bulbs even more efficient and energy-saving sources of the world. The incredible waste of electricity forced us to invent a technology that will not only save, but also protect the natural environment.
LED technology as an alternative to traditional light sources
Today, the so-called LED bulbs that resemble traditional ones. The light here, however, is obtained in a completely different way, using light-emitting diodes placed in a special housing. Inside, there is also an optical system and a driver. Thanks to this, we can control the amplification, dispersion and proper direction of the light beam.
The beginnings of LED lamps go back to the time when the phenomenon of electroluminescence was discovered, over 100 years ago. However, they were practically used in the 1950s, when infrared was obtained from gallium arsenide and other semiconductors. The first LED, reminiscent of the modern one, is a yellow LED, invented in 1972, which produces a much stronger light. The breakthrough came with the creation of the blue LED, for which its creators - Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amanoi and Shuji Nakamura - were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics .
The first LED bulbs appeared on the market in 2009. However, they were massive and heavy, and definitely too expensive. Technological changes have given the product a much more accessible form. LEDs can now glow with many colors, have continuous spectrum light, and are much cheaper than their prototypes. Today, LED technology accounts for approx. 50% of the global lighting market . It is much more effective than traditional light bulbs. It consumes approx. 80% less energy and is able to shine up to 15 times longer.
Lena Lighting S.A., a leading lighting manufacturer in Poland, offers the highest quality LED technology . LED lighting has been the brand's specialty since 2005. Many years of experience and substantive knowledge is an opportunity to take advantage of many solutions based on the latest technology. LED luminaires from Lena Lighting are distinguished above all by their lifetime (average 50,000 hours, L70B50, ta = 25°C) and durability. Equally important is the lack of sensitivity of the LED lamp to frequent switching on and off, as well as a short time of full illumination (average ignition time <0.5 seconds).
This makes LED lighting an attractive alternative to most popular types of traditional lighting. It is also characterized by high energy efficiency, which in turn translates into significantly lower operating costs. The purchase of LED technology is not only a cost-effective investment, but also an investment for the future, improving the quality of work and functioning at home.