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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Edison lightbulb, about 1886Edison lightbulb, about 1886

Thomas Edison patented more than a thousand electrical and mechanical inventions. The Smithsonian has collected many examples of perhaps his most famous—the electric lightbulb. This one, which features a bamboo filament, was donated by Princeton University's engineering department in 1961.

See also: Patent Models, Popular Objects

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