Joseph Swan

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (31 October 1828 – 27 May 1914) was a British physicist and chemist, most famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb before its independent invention by the American Thomas Edison.

Swan's first demonstration of the light bulb was at a lecture in Newcastle upon Tyne on 18 December 1878, but he did not receive a patent until 27 November 1880 (patent No. 4933) after improvement to the original lamp. His house (in Gateshead, England) was the first in the world to be lit by a lightbulb, and the world's first electric-light illumination in a public building was for a lecture by Swan in 1880. In 1881, the Savoy Theatre in the City of Westminster, London was lit by Swan incandescent lightbulbs, the first theatre and the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.

In 1904, Swan was knighted by King Edward VII, awarded the Royal Society's Hughes Medal, and was made an honorary member of the Pharmaceutical Society. He had already received the highest decoration in France, the Légion d'honneur, when he visited an international exhibition in Paris in 1881. The exhibition included exhibits of his inventions, and the city was lit with electric light, thanks to Swan's invention.