Alexander Lodygin – one of the first inventors of the light bulb
Alexander Nikolaevich Lodygin was born in Stenshino village, Tambov governate, Russian Empire, into a very modest, but very old and well known aristocratic family, whose roots go back to Andrei Kobyla - just like the more well known Romanov dynasty.
Following the old family tradition, which prescribed every male member to serve the Tzar and Motherland, Alexander enrolled into the Voronezh cadet corps in Tambov.The military career, though, proved not to be his cup of tea.
In 1870 Lodygin resigned and moved to Saint Petersburg, where he started working on an electric plane, "elektrolyot", and at the same time experimenting with the first light bulbs. Just like all other inventors of the light bulb, at first he tried using iron wire, but then switched to a coal bar in a glass bulb. The results of his experiments were immediate: in 1871-1874 he was demonstrating electric lighting at the Admiralty!
The historical hour struck in 1872, when Lodygin applied for a patent for the light bulb; in 1874 he was given the patent number 1619, and, as a welcome addition, the Lomonosov award from the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences!
Lodygin also patented the light bulb in multiple countries: Austro-Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, and even in India and Australia.
In the 80s of the XX century, mass arrests of revolutionaries and dissidents began in Russia. Among the people sought by the secret police there were many of Lodygin's friends, so the inventor decided to emigrate - first to France, and later - to America, to New York.
In the New World, he was creating new light bulbs, electric ovens, elecrtic cars, took part in the raising of many of New York's plants and of the underground.
In 1906 another historic moment came: Lodygin sold the rights for his latest invention, a vacuum glass bulb with a melt-resistant tungsten, the classical design of the light bulb, to General Electric Corporation.
Next year Lodygin decided to return to his home country, where the political situation was growing more stable. He brought with him an archive of drawings and schematics: tecnhologies for creating heat-resistant alloys, electric oven plans, drawings of electric motors and welding and cutting machines. But after the February revolution of 1917 the inventor could not find common language with the new authorities and returned to America.
Alexander Lodygin died at 75 in in his home in Brooklyn, New York.
Grigoriev SV Biographical Dictionary . Natural science and technology in Karelia . - Petrozavodsk : Karelia , 1973