Feb 16.2023

LED Now and Then: A Complete Timeline of LED Lights History

The role of LED lights nowadays

Who invented the LED bulb?

The iterations of LED lighting technology

How did LED lights become so popular?

The complete timeline of LED lights history

Bottom Line

The benefits of LED lighting are manifold. They are cost-effective, highly efficient, and produce the highest quality of like. The best part: they perform all the functions of a conventional bulb at a significantly cheaper price. Given its many perks and the fancy designs LED lights come in, many people assume that it is a modern invention. However, such is not the case. LED lights came into inception during the 1900s. This was the first model of the light and not exactly the kind of finished product that we stumble upon today. The design was interesting, and it was adopted in modern technologies creating iconic LED lights.


Having said that, what is the role of LED light these days, and what is the LED lights history? Does the LED technology have multiple iterations, if so, what are they? What spiked the popularity of LED lights? What is the timeline of LED light creation? We will find an answer to all of those questions and more in the following few sections.


The role of LED lights nowadays


LED lights have become a part and parcel of our daily lives. From homes, balconies, patios, and kitchens to schools, offices, shopping malls, and everywhere in between LED lights have taken the world by storm. The biggest highlight of the product is the variety. You will find some of the best ranges of LED lights and each of them come with specific perks. Because these lights are also energy efficient, you won't end up burning a hole in your pocket while paying energy bills. And finally, the biggest takeaway from these lights is that they are extremely sustainable. So, if you are environmentally conscious and want to give back to society, you might consider getting a set of quality LED lights.


In this section, we will discuss the perks of LED lights in detail shedding more light on their popular applications.


Industrial lights


Because LED lights are highly efficient, they are widely used in the industrial segment. That is also the reason why you will find them across multiple streetlights, as garage lighting for empty parking lots, across walkways, patios, and other outdoor areas. In some instances, you will also find LED lighting in the refrigerator and modular kitchens. Nowadays, task-based lights are yet another trend and LED lights are primarily used to work on this product.


Cabinet lights


LEDs are not just portable, but you can also tweak their direction which is why you would want them in tight lighting areas like your reading nook or kitchen countertop. Because you will find a wide range of LEDs suited for each of these roles, it is crucial to explore them before you make the final pick.




If you have seen a kitchen or a bathroom downlight, they are probably LEDs. You will also find a bunch of them in your hallway, office, and other commercial spots. According to research conducted by the DOE, the US alone has 600 million LED downlights.


Replacement bulbs


At this point, you probably understand that LED lights are extremely affordable. So, if your incandescent bulb ranges between 40 to 100 watts, a quality LED light can easily replace it. Having said that, it is crucial to go through the instruction label before installing the fixture, so your LED light is high quality and comes with just the right color.


Vacation lights


Because LED lights are extremely energy efficient, they are also popular as vacation or hotel lights. Most hotels use them, and you are always tempted to use a string of LED lights to deck up your Christmas tree.


Who invented the LED bulb?


The creation and dissemination of LED is not a single person's job and is instead a consistent and collective effort from a bunch of professional scientists. The LED bulb invention did not happen overnight. Over the last couple of decades, multiple scientists experimented with this technology, though the most notable one was Kick Holonyak. An ex-professional at General Electric, Holonyak witnessed his biggest break in 1962 when he was on an assignment to establish a unique form of an infrared laser. He experimented with multiple elements including gallium arsenide when he finally ended up creating a red form of LED. It is worth noting that the creation of LED is completely experimental. Having said that, it is worth noting that the LED invention year is 1962.


The iterations of LED lighting technology


As with every other technology, LED lighting comes with multiple iterations as listed below:


LED 1.0


This is the first version of the Led when it was still used as a popular indicator light for your circuit board. Depending on the scenario, it was also found in certain tiny electrical parts. Having said that, this early specimen of LED technology during the 1960s wasn't the most permanent with a fairly low lumen output. Interestingly enough, the same lights were popular as an energy-efficient option.


LED 2.0


By the 1980s, LEDs went on to become more luminescent and thus increased their LED technology. The 80s are also known as the second generation of technology and during this several strings of LED lights could be collectively used in one circuit. Over time, these bulbs started being used outdoors because many understood their true value. A large number of municipalities adopted them to replace the older incandescent lights that you would otherwise find in a traffic light. Over the years, many also started using LEDs instead of fluorescent and neon bulbs.


LED 3.0


The latest variant of LED technology has multiple applications across commercial and residential applications. Nowadays, many industries are adopting it as well. The reasons are manifold: first, LED is known for exhibiting an exceptional lifespan, it is one of the best products when it comes to boosting performance and overall brightness, and finally, it is energy efficient. Thanks to the amazing power of this technology, nowadays all leading and branded LED lights come with warranties and a set of best practices that apply to the industry. Additionally, several government and legal standards are being enforced when creating LED lights further strengthening their safety.


How did LED lights become so popular?


While LED lights were always popular, over the last couple of years their popularity skyrocketed. Why? Most people choose LED lights because they are cooler when compared to their incandescent variants thus reducing the potential for accidents. Next, because they are crafted from high-quality epoxy lenses, the lights can withstand wear and tear. Third, these lights last you the longest time and you can use them heavily over 40 to 50 holidays. Finally, you can easily install these lights at home without having to overload wall sockets.


The complete timeline of LED lights history


If you are a history buff who is looking to find out all about the history of LED lights, you might want to check out this section.




The oldest version of the LED bulb was invented by Heinrich Gobel who called it a true light bulb. The concept was simple with a glass bulb that contained a carbonized filament. Next, a couple of decades later in 1879, we have the first incandescent bulb by Thomas Edison.




In the 1900s, the biggest event was the first LED prototype created by Zoltan Bay and his associate Gyorgy Szigeti. The lighting unit is crafted from silicone and is electroluminescent. At that point, it was impossible to assume that it would eventually come up as the light bulb that we are familiar with today. This technology was patented.


Almost 10 years later in 1951, William Shockley was the second to file a patent for LED lighting. During the 1950s, several companies patented LED lighting and the year witnessed some of the biggest breakthroughs.


Another 10 years later in 1962, an iconic see-through spectrum LED was launched in New York. This was conceptualized and rolled out by Nick Holonyak. Six years later, Hewlett Packard integrates LEDs into the first forms of portable calculators.


Next, in 1971 Jacques Pankove discovered the iconic blue LEDs. Almost a year later in 1972, a yellow LED, the first of its kind, comes into place. This was invented by M Georges Crawford and the discovery is deemed one of the most crucial one for LEDs.




Shuji Nakamura gets an award for the Millennium Technology Prize for creating the white LED. So, if you have ever been amazed by those impeccable white-lit kitchens, you might want to thank Mr. Shuji. Mr. Shuji was also lauded for the blue Led when he received the award in 2006.


In 2007, Italy was the first to adopt LED lighting. A village in the country known as Torraca was one of the first spots to witness a complete LED conversion.


Bottom Line


Now that you know all about LED lights and how they work, you are probably considering getting one for your home or workplace. LED lights are indeed impeccable, and they offer just the degree of luminosity you are looking for. The best part: they are highly sustainable and eco-friendly. Because most LED lights come with high energy ratings, they do not rake up your electricity bills either. So, if you are still using old bulbs, replace them with quality LED lights and watch your home or office space transform like never before.