Incandescent light bulbs existed before Thomas Edison, and when other inventors got wind of Edison's tinkerings, they roundly sued him for patent infringement.
So what did Edison actually do?
He discovered that a special species of bamboo had a higher resistance to electricity than carbonized paper, which means it could more efficiently produce light. Edison got rich off the bamboo, and from superior manufacturing and marketing of his product.
Like all great inventions, the light bulb can’t be credited to one inventor. It was a series of small improvements.
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