Fluorescent Lamp Inventor
Many Filipinos acknowledge Agapito Flores as the inventor of the fluorescent lamp, which is the most widely used source of lighting in the world today. The fluorescent lamp reportedly got its name from Flores. Written articles about Flores said he was born in Bantayan Island in Cebu. The fluorescent lamp, however, was not invented in a particular year. It was the product of 79 years of the development of the lighting method that began with the invention of the electric light bulb by Thomas Edison.
Among the other inventors who claimed credit for developing the fluorescent lamp were French physicist A. E. Becquerel (1867), Nikola Tesla, Albert Hall (1927), Mark Winsor and Edmund Germer. French inventor Andre Claude was recognized for developing the fluorescent tubular lighting systems. Yet, he was not officially recognized as the inventor of fluorescent lamp. It was reported that the General Electric and Westinghouse obtained Claude’s patent rights and developed the fluorescent lamp that we know today.
According to Filipino scientists, fluorescent lamp was not named after Flores. The term fluorescence first cropped up as early as 1852 when English mathematician-physicist George Gabriel Stokes discovered a luminous material called “fluorspar”, which he coined with “escence”. The National Academy of Science and Technology also dismissed Flores being the inventor of fluorescent lamp as a myth. “No scientific report, no valid statement, no rigorous documents can be used to credit Flores for the discovery of the fluorescent lamp. We have tried to correct this misconception, but the media (for one) and our textbooks (for another) keep using the Flores example,” a Filipino scientist wrote in her column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The fluorescent lamps were introduced into the U.S. market in 1938. Still, Filipinos recognize Agapito Flores as the inventor of the product that illuminated the world.