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Contrary to what schools have taught for years, the American icon, Thomas Edison, neither invented the light bulb, nor held the first patent to the modern design of the light bulb. Apparently, we gave the esteemed Mr. Edison credit for the invention only because he owned a power company, later known as General Electric. In reality, light bulbs used as electric lights existed 50 years before Thomas Edison’s 1879 patent update in the U.S. Additionally, Joseph Swan, a British inventor, obtained the first patent for the same light bulb in Britain one year before Edison’s patent date. Swan even publicly launched his carbon filament light bulb in New Castle, England a minimum of 10 years before Edison shocked the world with the announcement that he invented the first light bulb. Edison’s light bulb, in fact, was a carbon copy of Swan’s light bulb. How do two inventors, from two different countries invent the exact same thing? Very easily, if one follows in the others’ footsteps. Swan took Edison to court for patent infringement. Edison was forced to name Swan a partner in his British electric company.

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