10 World-Changing Inventions People Thought Were Useless

10. The Lightbulb

lightbulb newton cradle
"Good enough for our transatlantic friends […] but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men."British Parliamentary Committee, referring to Edison’s light bulb, 1878.

Perhaps their judgement was clouded by a bit of traditional British snobbery for the Yanks, but the british Parliamentary Committee rather fail to see the potential in the light bulb. Bearing in mind that these were the people who decorated their Christmas trees with candles, so quite why they thought they were qualified to comment on practicality is anyone's guess.

To be fair to them, the national electrical grid was non-existent at the time, and anyone wishing to power their fancy new lightbulbs would need their own generator or enormous battery.

Although Edison is widely credited with the invention of the incandescent lightbulb in the 1870s, at least 22 other inventors had some version of it before him. He did, however, produce the most viable version with a higher vacuum and higher resistance.

"Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure."Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison’s light bulb, 1880.

Luckily enough, Henry Morton was wrong, and that conspicuous failure is now conspicuously visible from space.

Portugal To Paris LIghts From Space
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