Australia has long been a nation of innovators. From the iconic to the unique and quirky, explore some of the thousands of patents, designs and trademarks in the National Archives' collection.
Let there be light
Did you know that patents, trademarks and designs are only commercially protected in countries where they have been registered?
This explains why we hold a patent application from American inventor Thomas Edison for his ‘Improvements in Electric Lamps’ from 1881. His electric lamp – which we know as the common light bulb, ‘consist[ed] of an incandescing conductor of high resistance, hermetically sealed in a glass vacuum chamber … ’ Edison achieved this despite the fact that the maintenance of a stable vacuum had been pronounced impossible by many scientists. The patent also describes a method of continuing the flow of electricity in a circuit in the event that a bulb is blown.