During a event Thursday in Kenosha Wisconsin, Joe Biden made a provocative claim that does not pass muster.
Biden said “People fear that which is different. We’ve got to, for example, 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.”
He added “There’s so much — did anybody know before what recently happened that Black Wall Street in Oklahoma was burned to the ground. Anybody know these things? Because we don’t teach them. We’ve got to give people facts.”
Joe Biden: "Why in God's name don't we teach history in history classes? A Black man invented the lightbulb. Not a white guy named Edison." pic.twitter.com/KLcr5OUGY9
— The Hill (@thehill) September 4, 2020
Fox News reports “It was Edison who first invented the light bulb and a filament that could last 1,200 hours. According to the Department of Energy, Edison secured patents for the incandescent light bulb in 1879 and 1880.”
They add “Biden was likely referring to Lewis Howard Latimer, who, according to a biography by MIT, patented an improved version of an incandescent light bulb in 1881 that could last even longer than Edison’s. For perspective, 1,200 hours is 50 days — far less time than modern incandescent bulbs last.”
According to LeadStories, a fact checking site, the idea that Latimer invented the light bulb is FALSE.
Molly Weisner writes “Did Lewis Latimer, an African-American man from Massachusetts who was bought from slavery, invent the light bulb and telephone? No, that’s not true: Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb. But, Latimer did play an important role in helping both inventions become more refined and patented in the late 1800s.”
According to World Atlas “Many inventors and scientists are thought to have taken part in the invention of the first electric bulb. However, the invention of the electric bulb is mostly linked to Thomas Alva Edison. He was an innovator and a businessman of American origin.The invention of the light bulb was complemented by Joseph Swan and Hiram Maxim. Swan invented an impractical lamp by using the arc lamp element. Hiram Maxim, on the other hand, invented and installed the first electric lights.”
According to History.com “The light bulb itself was invented by Thomas Edison, but the innovation used to create longer-lasting light bulbs with a carbon filament came from African-American inventor Lewis Latimer. Latimer, the son of runaway slaves, began work in a patent law firm after serving in the military for the Union during the Civil War. He was recognized for his talent drafting patents and was promoted to head draftsman, where he co-invented an improved bathroom for railroad trains.”