What Was the Social Impact of the Light Bulb?

The primary social impact of the light bulb was to give people control over light and darkness inside their dwellings and businesses simply by touching a switch. People were no longer controlled by the natural alternation of light and darkness with the rising and setting of the sun.

By the beginning of World War II, just about everyone had electric lighting in their homes, even outside cities. The oil lamps and candles that people had used for nighttime light went into closets and drawers, only pulled out when the power failed.

On a social level, people no longer had to follow a set rhythm of life, because people didn’t have to stop working or socializing because of a lack of light. Instead, around-the-clock work began, as factories brought workers in for different shifts, and cities were able to stay open all night.

Having electricity in homes for lighting opened the door to a whole host of other devices. With the wiring in place, homes could now power appliances to make household tasks easier, as well as entertainment devices such as radios and televisions. Families who had relied on playing games, playing instruments and making conversation for entertainment now found that an electric device could entertain them, and all they had to do was watch or listen.