Updated 26-XII-2018

Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin

This article was written by fellow lamp engineer and collector Edward J. Covington, and originally appeared on his own website of biographical sketches of persons involved in the lamp industry. Following his passing in February 2017, and with kind permission of his family, Ed's words have been preserved here in the hope of maintaining access to his writings for the benefit of subsequent generations.

Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin6

Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin (18 Oct 1847 - 16 Mar 1923), a Russian physicist, first achieved attention in 1873 with an early version of an incandescent lamp. In 1872 he applied for a patent in Russia and No. 1619 was granted him on 11 July 1874. A description of Lodygin's lamp is given below as it was described in an article by Hammer5.
"In 1874 the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences awarded the Lomonossow (Lomonosov) prize of 50,000 roubles (about ,500) to M. Lodyguine, upon the report of Dr. Wild, director of the Imperial Observatory. Describing this lamp Fontaine says (p.173):
"In his lamp, M. Lodyguine employs carbon in a single piece by diminishing the section at the point of the luminous focus, and he places two carbons in the same apparatus with a small exterior commutator, in order to pass the current into the second carbon, when the first has been consumed. Nothing is less practical or less studied than the apparatus of this inventor."
"Dr. Wild is quoted by Fontaine as having said in his report:
"Besides, the resistance of the carbon in question, as a conductor of electricity, is nearly 250 times greater than that of platinum; it results that the small rod of carbon may be fifteen times thicker than a platinum bar of the same length, and that the current traversing it will engender the same quantity of heat."

"It is thus seen that rods of carbon of low resistance and large radiating surface were still the ideals of all inventors or experimenters in this field, and that provision was still made for renewing destroyed burners. An atmosphere of nitrogen gas was first employed, but subsequently this was replaced by a vacuum, more or less perfect."

The references cited below do not consider Lodygin beyond the time period of 1874. However, he did not disappear from the incandescent lamp scene. Below are United States patents granted to him starting in 1886. Lodygin was living in Paris, France in June of that year. The first patent listed (347,164) was also granted in Belgium, Germany, France and England. The second patent listed below (494,149) was granted in 1893 and the assignor, by mesne assignments, was the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

In January of the year 1893 Lodygin was residing in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania when he applied for the fourth patent listed below. Lodygin applied for the fifth patent listed on 10 April 1894 while still residing in Pittsburg.

Reference 6 states that Lodygin returned to Russia in 1907 and then after 1917 returned to the United States. That website states that Lodygin passed away in Brooklyn, New York.

Note: The image of Alexander Lodygin was downloaded from Reference 6. The subject of this writing was also known as Alexander Lodyguine.

  1. 347,164 - 10 Aug 1886 - Manufacture of Incandescents
  2. 494,149 - 28 Mar 1893 - Process of Manufacturing Filaments for Incandescent Lamps
  3. 498,901 - 06 Jun 1893 - Incandescent Electric Lamp
  4. 575,002 - 19 Jan 1897 - Illuminant for Incandescent Lamps
  5. 575,668 - 19 Jan 1897 - Illuminant for Incandescent Lamps

  1. "A Sketch of the Development of the Electric Light", J. Munro, The Telegraphic Journal, Vol.5, 15 Jan 1878, pp.24-25.
  2. "Le Comte Til DU MONCEL", Electric Lighting, George Routledge & Sons, New York, 1882, pp.195-196.
  3. "The Electric Light - Its History, Production, and Applications", ÉM. Alglave and J. Boulard, D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1884, pp.119-122.
  4. "A Short History of Incandescence Lamps", A. Gelyi, The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review, Vol.16, 7 Feb 1885, pp.111-113.
  5. "Incandescent Lamp Development to the Year 1880 - I", Edwin W. Hammer, Electrical World and Engineer, Vol.36, 1 Dec 1900, pg 839-841.
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Lodygin