Thomas Edison is given credit for inventing the incandescent electric lamp in 1879.
In addressing the question of who invented the incandescent lamp, historians list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Edison. They conclude that Edison’s version as able to outstrip the others because of a combination of three factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others were able to achieve and a higher resistance that made power distribution from a centralized source economically viable.
Historian Thomas Hughes has attributed Edison’s success to his development of an entire integrated system of electric lighting. The lamp was a small component in his system of lighting and no more critical to its effective functioning than the Edison Jumbo Generator, the Edison main power source and feeder, and the parallel distribution system. Other inventors with generators and incandescent lamps, and with comparable ingenuity and excellence, have long been forgotten because their creators did not preside over their introduction in a system of lighting. (from Wikipedia)