The electric light bulb was a failure.
In the early 1800’s, the British chemist Humphry Davy invented the light bulb but it was a failure. The light bulb spent almost 80 years being passed from one researcher to another. Finally, in 1879, Thomas Edison figured out to to make a light bulb that people would buy. But the technology wasn’t an immediate success. Another 40 years later the electric utilities were stable and profitable businesses. The light bulb only happened because the utilities created other reasons to use electricity. They found a lot of uses for electric motors and the electric toaster and electric curling iron were invented. They also built Coney Island. And they installed electric streetcars lines in towns. All of these other gadgets gave us the light bulb.