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Time Capsule: 1879

Snapshots of the world from one year in the past

EDISON HAS HIS LIGHT-BULB MOMENT

After months of failures and disappointments, on 21 October 1879, inventor Tomas Edison finally achieved a successful test of his electric light bulb. His wasn’t the first electric light but, by using a carbon filament, his lasted the longest – 13 hours – and required less power, making it more practical. Edison filed a patent for the first commercially practical and incandescent light, with gas lighting slowly becoming redundant. Finally the world was lifted out of the darkness and into the modern era.

ALAMY X1, AKG IMAGES X1, GETTY X6
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About History Revealed

Today, Che Guevara is best known as one of the 20th century's iconic images. But the events of the Cuban Revolution, in which he was a key figure 60 years ago, would have wide-reaching consequences - including almost bringing about a third world war. What made it such a global affair, with superpowers going eyeball to eyeball? Plus: Cousins Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots have an almighty falling out (leading to one losing her head), outlandish medical cures, Roman Emperor Constantine, the great Thames Frost Fairs of the Victorian era, and more.