“filament” : a fine wire or connection.

 

What’s in a name…

When you ask most people who invented the light bulb they will, incorrectly, tell you it was Edison. The actual invention of the bulb should really be attributed to Volta, Swan, Goebel or several others working in this field prior to Edison. The reason for this common misconception is that Edison did something far greater than invent it. He turned it into a product, and then brought that product to the world.

So what’s the difference between and invention and a product?

What if I told you that I had invented a working time machine, yes that’s right just call me Doc Brown. The time machine however can only move you back or forward in time by 0.0001 of a second. Although it is a remarkable technical achievement the reality is that no one would use it other than for a brief gimmick. This is where the difference between invention and product lies.

A product goes beyond invention as it satisfies more than the technical requirements, it combines technical with user and market needs creating a seamless interaction adding real value to people’s lives.

Now back to the light bulb…

Although others invented the idea of the bulb, the early filaments they used to carry the current and produce light would only last for a very short period of time. The energy emitted by the arcing of the wire would break it shortly after it had been lit…”let there be light!”, if only for a brief moment. Edison referred to these early prototypes as “parlor ticks” and had something far greater in mind. He arguably had two great achievements going from parlor trick to product, the achievements of which revolve around the humble filament.

Achievement no 1 : the filament

In the 1870s, understanding that it was key to productising the bulb, Edison experimented with thousands of different filaments to find just the right material and form to glow bright and be long-lasting. In 1879, Edison discovered that coiling a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed  for up to 40 hours. He tested and iterated this design until eventually he produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours. In placing the right filament in the right environment this parlor trick invention was turned into a product that would revolutionise the modern world.

Achievement no 2 : the grid

In turning the bulb into a product Edison stumbled upon a far greater challenge, how to commercialise this and take it to the global market. Sure everyone could have a bulb in their house but there was no means to power them. In 1880 he filed a patent for “electricity distribution” essential for capitalising on his developed product. This patent detailed a system of energy delivering connections, filaments if you will, that would eventually become the basis of the national grid on which, every iPhone, fridge , TV and every piece of tech in todays modern world is powered by.

So like the story of the bulb, we are the filament that carries the initial spark of invention making it user and market friendly, ensuring that it burns bright and is long lasting. We then create the connections, the grid, to deliver and bring these sparks to the global market.

Meet the team

Gregor Aikman

Gregor Aikman

Design Engineer / Director

Craig Lynn

Craig Lynn

Design Engineer / Director

Danny Kane

Danny Kane

Design Engineer / Director

Dave Reekie

Dave Reekie

Product Design Engineer

Ewan Alston

Ewan Alston

Product Design Engineer

David Wylie

David Wylie

Product Design Engineer

Chris Perrott

Chris Perrott

Electronics Consultant

Mino Russo

Mino Russo

Business Development

Eilidh Price

Eilidh Price

Creative Office Manager