2007-7-3 09:35 PM
The earliest ancestor of the fluorescent lamp is probably the device by Heinrich Geissler who obtained in 1856 a bluish glow from a gas sealed in a tube, excited with an induction coil. Though he is remembered as a physicist, Geissler was educated as a glassblower.
At the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois displayed Nikola Tesla's fluorescent lights.
In 1894, D. McFarlane Moore created the Moore lamp, a commercial gas discharge lamp meant to compete with the incandescent light bulb of his former boss Thomas Edison. The gases used were nitrogen and carbon dioxide emitting respectively pink and white light, and had moderate success.
In 1901, Peter Cooper Hewitt demonstrated the mercury-vapor lamp, which emitted light of a blue-green color, and thus was unfit for most practical purposes. It was, however, very close to the modern design. This lamp had some applications in photography where color was not yet an issue, thanks to its much higher efficiency than incandescent lamps.
Edmund Germer and coworkers proposed in 1926 to increase the operating pressure within the tube and to coat the tube with fluorescent powder which converts ultraviolet light emitted by a rare gas into more uniformly white-colored light. Germer is today recognized as the inventor of fluorescent lamp.
General Electric later bought Germer's patent and under the direction of George Inman brought the fluorescent lamp to wide commercial use in 1938