Discussion reply: additional pros and cons where further


  • Find an example of “back to the drawing board” due to design failure  or the need to improve a design. Summarize the issues you found.


This might be one of the most “back to the drawing board” inventions  there is. Some historians believe there are over 20 inventors of the  incandescent lamps up to the point of Edison’s version. Many of these  inventors did not publish any drawings or designs. Many of the earlier  versions of the incandescent lamps would be made of material that is too  expensive to sustain manufacturing or for the average consumer.

Humphry Davy created  the first electric light in 1802, after experimenting with electricity  and creating an electric battery. When he connected wires to the battery  and a piece of carbon, the carbon lit up and produced light; however,  the Electric Arc lamp was far too bright for practical use (History of  the Light Bulb | Lighting Basics | Bulbs.com, n.d.). Not a realistic  application for a lightbulb. Back to the drawing board.

In 1840 a British Scientist by the name of Warren de la Rue was able  to produce light using coiled platinum filament would allow an electric  current to pass through it. This time, the contraption was set in a  vacuum Although an effective design, the cost of the platinum made it  impractical for commercial production. The design was based on the idea  that the high melting point of platinum would allow it to operate at  high temperatures and that the evacuated chamber would contain fewer gas  molecules to react with the platinum, improving its longevity (History  of the Light Bulb | Lighting Basics | Bulbs.com, n.d.). Again, this was  too expensive. Back to the drawing board.

In the 1850s a physicist by the name of Joseph Swan created a  well-functioning prototype. This prototype was comprised of thin  filaments of carbon paper in a vacuumed glass bulb. However, this  version did not last long nor was there a sufficient flow of  electricity. In 1878 he was able to improve on his prototype because of  vacuum pump technology and replacing carbon filament with treated cotton  thread. This prolonged the life of the light bulb. Not quite there yet,  back to the drawing board.

Also in the 1870s, in Canada, a patent was filed by a medical  electrician Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Their lamps contained  carbon rods held between two electrodes held in a nitrogen filled glass  cylinder. There was a failure to commercialize and was eventually sold.  In comes Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison was able to capture the details of  what worked and what didn’t and was able to patent a working lightbulb  that utilized gas filled cylinders, carbon filament, treated cotton,  wood splinters and eventually create a carbonized bamboo filament could  last over 1200 hours. This lightbulb hit the market and was able to be  distributed commercially by 1880.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of having to go “back to the drawing board.” 

What makes all of this a “perfect back to the drawing board” product  is exactly how many times the electric bulb went back to the design  phase. It is always cheaper to go to the drawing board before a product  hits the manufacturing line. In my line of work (and many others I’m  sure) we have the power of 10. A mistake in the drawings could cost $10  to fix. When it hits the manufacturer, it can cost $100 per product. If  it makes it to the customer it can cost $1000 to correct. Money/cost all  in itself is a pro and a con.

APA Reference

History of the Light Bulb | Lighting Basics | Bulbs.com. (n.d.). Bulbs.com. https://www.bulbs.com/learning/history.aspx 

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