Today, the word “city” conjures images of skyscrapers, bright lights and bustling crowds that never rest.
But cities didn’t begin to develop into the lively places we know today until the second half of the 19th century. Along the way, lighting technology and other innovations accelerated the urbanization process.
Thomas Edison’s carbon-filament incandescent bulb, or electric lighting, was one important invention that made the rise of cities possible. After Edison patented his bulb in 1879, factories quickly invested in electric lighting technology, which promised their businesses longer hours and more efficiency. (“Urbanization and Its Challenges” via Lumen).