The idea of electric lighting was not new. A number of people had worked on and even developed forms of electric lighting. But up to that time, nothing had been developed that was remotely practical for home use. Edison's achievement was inventing not just an incandescent electric light, but also an electric lighting system that contained all the elements necessary to make the incandescent light practical, safe, and economical. He accomplished this when he was able to come up with an incandescent lamp with a filament of carbonized sewing thread that burned for thirteen and a half hours.
Edison was tireless in his persistence to change a subject into something else through “trial and error” until he found the idea that worked. In Edison’s laboratory there is a staggering display of hundreds of phonograph horns of every shape, size and material. Some are round, square, angular, thin, short, squat while others are curved and as long as six feet tall. This collection of rejected ideas is a visual testament to Edison’s approach to creativity— which was, in essence, to try out every possible design he could possibly conceive of. Once asked to describe the key to creativity, he reportedly said to never quit working on your subject until you get what you’re after.