Thomas Edison's Patent Drawing for an Improvement in Electric Lamps
Patented January 27, 1880
Records of the Patent and Trademark Office
On January 27, 1880, Thomas Edison received this historic patent embodying the principles of his incandescent lamp that paved the way for the universal domestic use of electric light.
- The date of a document can focus student attention on turning points in history.
- Documents can enable students to make connections between seemingly unrelated information for example, a patent drawing and Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
A teacher who participated in Primarily Teaching, the National Archives summer institute for teachers, developed a lesson plan for the Digital Classroom featuring this patent drawing (available online at www.archives.gov/education/lessons/telephone-light-patents/index.html). Also, the National Archives education staff included it in an article for the 1999 National History Day Teachers’ Guide and in the second Teaching With Documents compilation volume. The lesson plans provide strategies for connecting history and science.