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Producing Electric Light: How Resource Scarcity Affected Light Bulbs, 1880-1914
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9558-4621
2020 (English)In: Technology and culture, ISSN 0040-165X, E-ISSN 1097-3729, Vol. 61, no 3, p. 901-922Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A light bulb is manufactured from resources found across the world. Knowing what role these resources play in manufacturing processes helps us understand why some technologies were successful and others were not. The glow from light bulbs depends entirely on the metals in the filament. In the late nineteenth century, manufacturers struggled to find a metal that did not melt when emitting a soft, warm glow. Only a few metals had the sought-after properties, and these became valued resources.

This article explores how the manufacturing of light bulbs affected and was affected by access to metals. Manufacturers competed fiercely to ensure they acquired the resources only found in a few places worldwide in their quest to take over the expanding lighting market. Making light bulbs in an era of protectionism affected extraction sites and politics globally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020. Vol. 61, no 3, p. 901-922
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-175080DOI: 10.1353/tech.2020.0078ISI: 000565082400009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-175080DiVA, id: diva2:1469655
Available from: 2020-09-22 Created: 2020-09-22 Last updated: 2020-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Vikström, Hanna

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  • asciidoc
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