Sir Joseph Wilson Swan

(1828—1914) chemist and inventor

Quick Reference


Born at Sunderland and educated in local schools, Swan was apprenticed to a local pharmacist. At Newcastle upon Tyne he became a partner in a pharmacy. A photographic business and a scientific instruments department were soon added. Swan invented an improved photographic printing technique, which is still in use. In December 1878 and February 1879 he demonstrated his first incandescent electric bulbs. Legal disputes between the Swan and Edison lighting interests were solved by creating a joint venture.

Subjects: British History.

Reference entries