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Calendar of Discovery and Invention

Nature volume 119, page 220 (05 February 1927) | Download Citation



February 6, 1877.—Davy was the first to produce a light by means of electricity, and to him we owe the term ‘arc’ light. His experiments were made in 1808 with a battery of 2000 cells. Fifty years later practical experiments were made with the arc light fed from magneto-electric machines. With the invention of the dynamo—especially of that of Gramme—further developments took place. Among notable inventions was that of Paul Jablochkoff, who on Feb. 6, 1877, took out the British patent for the so-called ‘Jablochkoff candles,’ consisting of two parallel strips of carbon separated by kaolin. These lights were installed in the Place de l'Opéra, Paris, and on the Thames Embankment, and with them begins the history of street lighting by electricity.

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