Biden: ‘A Black Man Invented the Light Bulb, Not a White Guy Named Edison’
Former vice president gives false history lesson
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden schooled some unsuspecting residents of Kenosha with a brief history lesson on Thursday, asking why children are taught a white man invented the light bulb.
“Why in God’s name don’t we teach history in history classes?” Biden said during the event at Grace Lutheran Church.
“A black man invented the light bulb," he stated.
"Not a white guy named Edison. Okay?"
"There’s so much. Did anybody know?" he asked.
But Biden is wrong.
Though historians have argued whether Thomas Edison can claim sole credit for inventing the light bulb, his invention took place in 1879 before being patented in 1880.
Lewis Latimer, a black man, later came up with an improvement on the design.
In 1881, Latimer designed a carbon light bulb filament before it being patented in 1882.
"People fear that's, which, that which is different. We gotta, for example, why in God's name don't we teach history in history classes? A black man invented the light bulb, not a white guy named Edison." @JoeBiden spreads a false meme: https://t.co/OI4lIbEAiS pic.twitter.com/XcCPUjgwg1— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 3, 2020
His iterative contribution to the technology greatly improved each bulb’s durability, according to History.com.
Latimer had begun work in a patent law firm after serving in the military for the Union during the Civil War.
His talent was recognized for drafting patents before being promoted to head draftsman, were he co-invented an improved bathroom for railroad trains.
After his success caught the attention of the U.S. Electric Lighting Company, he was put in direct competition with Edison in 1880.
Latimer then patented a new filament for the light bulb, which used carbon instead of more incendiary materials, like bamboo.
The lifespan of the lightbulb was increased by adding carbon filament, which usually stopped working after a few days.
He went to work with Edison at the Edison Electric Light Company in 1884.
The DOE added a tribute to Edison’s continued work:
What makes Edison’s contribution to electric lighting so extraordinary is that he didn’t stop with improving the bulb — he developed a whole suite of inventions that made the use of light bulbs practical. Edison modeled his lighting technology on the existing gas lighting system. In 1882 with the Holborn Viaduct in London, he demonstrated that electricity could be distributed from a centrally located generator through a series of wires and tubes (also called conduits). Simultaneously, he focused on improving the generation of electricity, developing the first commercial power utility called the Pearl Street Station in lower Manhattan. And to track how much electricity each customer was using, Edison developed the first electric meter.