American Inventor Thomas Edison (pictured) is the person usually credited with inventing the incandescent light bulb. However, the real story is a little more complicated than that , with several English scientists developing early versions of the bulb that Edison produced. In fact, when Edison went to patent his bulb design in 1879, Englishman Joseph Swan, who had publicly demonstrated his bulb just one year earlier, sued Edison for patent infringement. Edison moved to also sue Swan, but instead of fighting it out in court, they formed the ‘Ediswan’ lighting company in 1883. This company went onto become the massive ‘General Electric’ company that is still operating today. Read Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s article on those who tackled the challenge of developing electric lighting, and the reasons why Edison got the credit.
The light bulb is just one of many examples of a product or technology where there is a controversy over who actually invented it. The TV, telephone and tablet computers have been the subject of disputes and sometimes even lawsuits, over who should take the credit for its development.