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Joseph Swan, British inventor and industrialist

Joseph Swan, British inventor and industrialist

H419/0237

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Joseph Swan. Portrait of Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914), British pioneer of the electric light bulb and photography. Swan was using carbon filaments in his light bulb experiments as early as 1848. He exhibited his first successful design in December 1878 but failed to take out a patent immediately. This allowed Thomas Edison, who had worked independently, to obtain the British patent. Swan went into the manufacture of light bulbs. He developed regenerated cellulose fibres, the first synthetic fibre, to make the filaments. Swan was also a pioner of photography: he invented a fast photographic paper (1857), the carbon process (1864) and bromide paper (1879).

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