The fluorescent lamp employs two scientific phenomena that have long been known: that certain materials are excited to fluorescence by ultra-violet radiation, and that an electric discharge through mercury under low pressure produces a high proportion of invisible ultra-violet radiation. Knowledge of fluorescent materials dates back to the sixteenth century; it was in 1852 that Sir George Stokes discovered that some of them are excited by ultra-violet rays. Becquerel constructed the first attempt at a fluorescent lamp in 1859, when he placed fluorescent materials inside a Geissler discharge tube, but this was a crude and inefficient device. Numbers of more recent attempts were made to build lamps in which fluorescent materials were excited by the rays from a vacuum tube, but they were also inefficient and are more closely related to the television tube than the fluorescent lamp.
KeywordsDiesel Engine Fluorescent Lamp Internal Combustion Locomotive Fluorescent Material Magnetic Compass
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