[AMRadio] The Attribution of Seminal Inventions

John Lawson jpl15 at panix.com
Tue Dec 26 00:21:02 EST 2006

On Mon, 25 Dec 2006, Jack Schmidling wrote:

> It will no doubt come as a surprise but my uncle Gilbert Schmidling invented 
> not only the fluorescent light

    From the Web, but this info is available everywhere:


The earliest ancestor of the fluorescent lamp is probably the device by 
Heinrich Geissler who, in 1856, obtained a bluish glow from a gas which 
was sealed in a tube and excited with an induction coil.

At the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 
Illinois displayed Nikola Tesla's fluorescent lights.

In 1894, D. McFarlane Moore created the Moore lamp, a commercial gas 
discharge lamp meant to compete with the incandescent light bulb of his 
former boss Thomas Edison. The gases used were nitrogen and carbon dioxide 
emitting respectively pink and white light, and had moderate success.

In 1901, Peter Cooper Hewitt demonstrated the mercury-vapor lamp, which 
emitted light of a blue-green color, and thus was unfit for most practical 
purposes. It was, however, very close to the modern design, and had much 
higher efficiency than incandescent lamps.

In 1926, Edmund Germer and coworkers proposed to increase the operating 
pressure within the tube and to coat the tube with fluorescent powder 
which converts ultraviolet light emitted by an excited plasma into more 
uniformly white-colored light. Germer is today recognized as the inventor 
of the fluorescent lamp.

General Electric later bought Germer's patent and under the direction of 
George E. Inman brought the fluorescent lamp to wide commercial use by 

> but also the first working cathode ray tube 
> usable for TV.

   Hmmmm... NOT Braun, Thomson, Zworykin, Farnsworth...  but Schmidling?

  25 years of on-again, off-again research into the physics, technology, 
principles and practice of thermioninc devices of all types, I must 
confess that I have somehow overlooked your citation, Jack.

   I'm looking forward to your info - there seems to be a possible lack in 
my own rather extensive collection of materials, books, papers and 
publications on this subject, some reaching back now over a hundred 

> I have some really neat old magazine articles and photos that 
> I will put up to support this seemingly preposterous notion.

   I must say that the word 'preposterous' occured to me, as well...

Cheers and Best of the Season!


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