Yablochkov’s electrical candle first shone in a Saint Petersburg apartment in 1878. There lived Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov – it was strange to electrify neighbors when you lived in the dark yourself.
At the age of sixteen, Pavel was admitted to the Nikolayevskoye School of Military Engineering in Saint Petersburg – he demonstrated a propensity for invention in his childhood when he made an angular instrument to measure peasant holdings and a prototype speedometer for the carts.
To his parents’ regret, Yablochkov quit his military service. The love for electricity won. As a retired second lieutenant, he took up a job at a telegraph office of the Moscow-Kursk Railway. And this is where he found out that the then bulbs were unacceptable. And that a new electric source of light was needed. Yablochkov opened his own workshop to manufacture physical instruments and started inventing a bulb.
Yablochkov suffered from a catastrophic shortage of funds, so he decided to go to the United States to find someone who would take interest in his inventions. But he could not cross the Atlantic, as he stayed in Paris. An experienced electrical engineer was hired by Louis François Clément Breguet, an owner and a technical director of the watch and precision instrument workshop. At this place, Yablochkov finished off his invention and obtained the patent No. 112024. Then came a triumph!
The shops of the Louvre and rue de Opéra test lit by bulbs showed that the light from Yablochkov’s bulb was not only brighter but also cheaper for the budget. London followed the example of Paris. Then went Berlin, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden... The bulbs lit the Colosseum ruins in Rome, the People’s Park in Vienna, the Falernian Bay in Greece. San Francisco and Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico, India, Burma... The shah of Persia and the king of Cambodia used Yablochkov’s candles at their palaces.
When Yablochkov’s candle conquered the world, it slowly died away, giving way to the modern incandescent lamp.