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What is Electronic Bulb

Have you ever imagined how homes were illuminated? How would people live without electricity? How were electric lamps invented? In 1878, Thomas Alva Edison began research into developing a practical incandescent lamp, and in 1879, the Electronic bulb was invented. Edison applied for a patent for “Improvement in Electric Lights” on 14 October 1878.

What is Electronic Bulb?

The electronic bulb is the simplest electrical lamp that was invented for illumination more than a century ago. It was the small and simplest light that brightened the dark space. The electronic bulb is also known as an incandescent lamp, incandescent light globe or incandescent light bulb. Bulb comes in different sizes and light output and operates with a voltage range from 1.5 Volts to about 300 Volts. Now let us study the parts and structure of the bulb in detail.

Structure Of The Electronic Bulb

An electronic bulb is a small and simple light source that uses a wire filament to glow on the application of electricity. The structure of incandescent light bulbs is shown in the figure below.

The light bulb consists of three key parts

  • The filament
  • The glass bulb
  • The base of the light bulb

The filament, which is a coiled thin wire, is made of tungsten. Tungsten is chosen as filament since it has a high melting point, which avoids the melting of the filament at high temperatures.

The filament is enclosed in a globe-shaped glass mount and is connected with copper and lead wires connected to the lamp’s base. The wires and the filament are enclosed in a glass bulb, which is filled with an inert gas like argon. Since argon is an inactive gas, it protects the filament from burning as well as increases the lifetime of the filament. Thin glass is used to manufacture the bulb, preventing the air from reaching the filament to protect it from burning.

When electric power is passed through the bulb, it reaches the filament through copper and lead wires. The base holds the bulb upright and connects to the electric circuit.

Copper and lead wires let the electricity pass from the base to the tungsten filament. It causes the filament to emit light and glow.

There are two types of bulb bases:

  • Spiral base
  • Two side nails base

The picture of the spiral base bulb is shown below:

The spiral base bulb features a piece of lead that directly connects the lamp to the electric circuit.

The picture of two side nails base bulb is as shown below:

It has nails in the base and contains two pieces of lead that connect the lamp to the electric circuit.

Uses Of Electronic Bulb

  • It is used in portable lighting such as table lamps
  • It is used in vehicle lights and car headlights.
  • It is used in household and commercial lighting
  • It is used in decorative and advertising lighting

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Bulb


  • Bulbs offer longer life than any other light source.
  • The working time ranges from 8000 to 15000 hours.
  • It is affordable and economical.
  • It is easy to install.
  • It comes in various sizes and shapes.
  • Produces relatively high output.


  • It is energy inefficient.
  • A short lamp lifetime is about 1000 hours typically.
  • It produces warm light.
  • Requires higher operating cost.
  • Since it is made of glass, it is fragile and should be handled with care.
  • Bulb generates low lumen per watt.

Safety and Precautions

Here are some of the safety measures to be followed while handling bulb:

  • Electronic bulbs must be handled carefully since they can break very easily.
  • The breakable parts of the bulb are extremely sharp and can puncture the skin if touched.
  • Since the bulb contains chemicals like argon and mercury, handling should be done carefully. Mercury is toxic to the human body.
  • When the bulb breaks, the mercury inside escapes as vapour or fine droplets and can settle on nearby objects. Inhaling mercury is hazardous.
  • Proper disposal of the bulbs should be ensured.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Electronic Bulb

1. Who discovered the electronic bulb?

Thomas Alva Edison.

2. What is the operating voltage of the bulb?

Bulb operates in the range of 1.5 Volts to 300 Volts.

3. What are the two types of electronic bulbs?

Spiral base bulb and two side nails base bulb.

4. Name the parts of the bulb

  • The filament
  • The glass
  • The base

5. Why is argon gas used in the manufacturing of the bulb?

Argon gas protects the filament from burning and increases the lifetime of the filament.

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