Joseph Wilson Swan

"An inventor is an opportunist, one who takes occasion by the hand; who, having seen where some want exists, successfully applies the right means to attain the desired end."

October 31, 1828
May 27, 1914
Birth Place
Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Current Place
Warlingham, Surrey, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Swan first demonstrated the light bulb at a lecture in Newcastle upon Tyne on 18 December 1878, but he did not receive a patent until 27 November 1880 (patent No. 4933) after improvement to the original lamp. His house was the first in the world to be lit by light bulb, and the world's first electric-light illumination in a public building was for a lecture Swan gave in 1880. In 1881, the Savoy Theatre in the City of Westminster, London, was lit by Swan incandescent light bulbs, the first theatre and the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity. In 1904 Swan was knighted by King Edward VII, awarded the Royal Society's Hughes Medal, and was made an honorary member of the Pharmaceutical Society.

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