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Fact: Edison invented the light bulb, Latimer made it practical

Fact: Edison invented the light bulb, Latimer made it practical

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BIDEN: "Why in God's name don't we teach history in history classes? A Black man invented the light bulb, not a white guy named Edison." — in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday.

THE FACTS: Biden is shading the actual story a bit. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb, but it burned out quickly. It was Lewis Latimer, an African American inventor who worked with Alexander Bell and later with Edison, who made light bulbs practical to use. Latimer created a light bulb with a durable carbon filament and sold the patent to the U.S. Electric Co. in 1881.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Although today's light bulbs use filaments of tungsten, which lasts even longer than carbon, Latimer will always be remembered for making the widespread use of electric light possible, in public and at home." Latimer is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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