From the dawn of time, humans have needed light. The sun and fire were our first necessities for being able to scavenge for food during the daytime hours and to provide illumination in the dark nights. But as time progressed, the need for more than a simple flickering fire became necessary. This is where the history of lighting begins.
While lighting was regarded as only functional for hundreds of thousands of years, it is only in relatively recent years that decorative lighting has become popular. And the switch to this happened with the larger scale availability of light sources to the public that were safer than candles and the old gaslight.
We credit the electric light bulb to Thomas Edison in 1878, but we forget that modern lighting emerged in 1802 with Humphry Davy’s carbon arc lamp. But once the discovery and more widespread use of electricity came to the forefront, there was a boom in lighting technology. The discovery of LED technology started in 1907 when Henry Joseph Round discovered that volts applied to carborundum crystal emitted a yellowish light, and this spiralled rapidly into the LED technology of today with usable LEDS in various colours.
For a more concise version of this history, Festive Lights have created a video that tells the story of how we came “Out of the Dark” – how lighting changed from something we needed to survive to something that can be decorative. A world without the LED technology of today would be entirely unrecognisable without energy saving bulbs, car headlights, LED TV screens and, of course, the iconic fairy Christmas lights.