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Thomas Lanier Clingman and the Invention of the Electric Light: A Forgotten Episode


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Thomas Lanier Clingman (1812-1897) was a congressman and general before and during the Civil War who turned to the art of inventing following during his post-bellum career. Clingman became interested in electrical technology and began experimenting with a light bulb designs. Documentation of his invention can be found in patent records and a series of letters exchanged between Edison and Clingman between March and December of 1879. Obviously his zirconia lamp designs did not rival Edison's breakthroughs but he does rank with many other inventors of the era for advancing the area of electrical lighting.
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16854