Joseph Swan (1828-1914) was born in Northumberland, England. He is most famous for being the actual inventor of the electric lamp, receiving a patent a year before Thomas Edison with whom he later started the Edison & Swan United Electric Light Company, commonly known as Ediswan.
Swan's claim is one of many cases where national pride plays a role in deciding who should get the credit for an invention. In the United States it is proverbial that "Edison invented the electric light," while in the U. K. the credit generally goes to Swan. In 1996 it transpired that Encarta, Microsoft's encyclopedia, presents different "facts" in different editions, crediting Edison in the U. S. Edition and Edison and Swan coequally in the British edition.
Notes and references
- The Microsoft Way, Robert McHenry, former editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica