The Evolution of Artificial Light



Jane Brox


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010


ISBN: 978-0-547-05527-5

In this day and age we all take for granted the availability of artificial light anytime and anywhere with the flick of a switch. We tend to ignore the fact that until very recently in human history, light was easily available only from the sun. Producing it artificially was difficult and required skill, only to give off subpar illumination. This book will put all of this into historical context, with a series of chapters focused on different historical milestones in the evolution of artificial light. On this journey we will visit the Stone Age, the Middle Ages, the XIX century and modern times and learn the different strategies that were employed to produce quality light. Although my working knowledge of this topic is negligible, I get the impression that this book is somewhat superficial and just barely skims the surface of a fascinating subject. Nevertheless, it will provide plenty of food for thought, and the reader will be reminded just how different the lives of our ancestors were. Perhaps reading this book by candlelight would be in order...