Incandescent - Carbon Filament

Updated
08-XII-2014
The carbon filament lamp was the first practical form of incandescent lamp, this material originally being favoured because of the possibility to operate it at temperatures higher than any other electrical conductor that could be produced in filamentary forms at the time. Higher temperature is the continual goal of the incandescent lamp engineer, owing to the fact that the efficiency of conversion of electrical energy into visible light increases under such conditions.

For more than two decades carbon held court as the filament material of choice, but at the beginning of the twentieth century developments in metallurgy enabled the production of metal wires that could be driven at higher temperatures. This resulted in the near-total disappearance of the carbon lamp by 1910. Due to its superior resistance to mechanical shocks than the brittle metallic filaments, it took a little longer to displace in some industrial and vibration-service applications, and its advantages as an infra-red source saw its limited manufacture for some heating appliances. Most curiously its popularity began to rise again after the 1990s, as a light source for decorative applications thanks to its warm glow with a colour similar to candlelight.

American Lamps

Edison

~5CP

First Commercial Lamp, Bristol Board Filament
1879-1880

Edison

16CP

Bamboo Filament with Copper Clamps
1884-1886

BrushSwan

16CP

Original stem design with Swan Bayonet Cap
c.1885-93

BrushSwan

16CP

Later stem design with Thomson-Houston Cap
c.1893-95

Edison

16CP

New Type with Cellulose Filament
1893-1899

Packard?

16CP

Pollard non-infringing lamp with silver film seal
1892-1894

Novak

16CP

Bromine-Filled Carbon Filament Lamp
1893-1894

Ft.Wayne

16CP

Adams-Bagnall Style Tipless Lamp
1897-1898
   

British Lamps

Lane-Fox

20CP

Lane-Fox Carbon Lamp with Mercury Seals
1882

Maxim

~5CP

Maxim Carbon Lamp of suspected British Origin
c.1883-90

Robertson

8CP

2nd Generation of Vitrite Cap with Brass Ring
1901-1902

Decorative Lamps

Ediswan

16CP

Fancy Lamps Series - Natural Coloured Glass
c.1890

Ediswan

16CP

Fancy Lamps Series - Opal Striped Glass
c.1890

Ediswan

16CP

Fancy Lamps Series - Iced Glass
c.1890

G & A

16CP

Fancy Lamps Series - Dimpled Brown Glass
c.1900