Democrat nominee for the US Presidential Elections in 2020, Joe Biden, declared on Friday that the light bulb was invented by a Black man and not Thomas Alva Edison, who was white. ‘Sleepy Joe’ is prone to goof-ups and there have been occasions in the past where he could not remember where he was.
Video: pic.twitter.com/GePbtYuQId— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 3, 2020
‘Why in God’s name don’t we teach history in history classes,’ Joe Biden said. ‘A black man invented the light bulb, not a white guy named Edison.’ While the comment was made to pander to the African-American community ahead of the elections in November, he was probably referring to Lewis Howard Latimer who made significant improvements to Edison’s invention.
Edison did invent the light bulb but the filament he used for it could only last for 15 hours before it burnt out. Lewis Latimer consequently invented a more durable carbon filament which made electric bulbs more affordable and practical. In 1881, he sold the patent for it to US Electric Co. and consequently, patented a process for efficient manufacturing of the carbon filament.
Thus, while the contributions of Lewis Latimer to the development of the light bulb is indeed significant, his contributions can be recognised and appreciated without engaging in historical revisionism for the sake of garnering more votes in elections.