The Agapito Flores controversy continues - Agapito Flores has been acclaimed by some as being the inventor of the first fluorescent lamp. However, the dates are all wrong for this being possible. The following points have been taken from "The History of Fluorescent Lights"
- In 1857, the French physicist Alexandre E. Becquerel who had investigated the phenomena of fluorescence and phosphorescence, theorized about the building of fluorescent tubes similar to those made today.
- American, Peter Cooper Hewitt (1861-1921) patented (U.S. patent 889,692) the first mercury vapor lamp in 1901. The low pressure mercury arc lamp of Peter Cooper Hewitt is the very first prototype of today's modern fluorescent lights.
- Edmund Germer (1901 - 1987) who invented a high pressure vapor lamp, also invented an improved fluorescent lamp. In 1927, Edmund Germer co-patented an experimental fluorescent lamp with Friedrich Meyer and Hans Spanner.
So What Is True About Agapito Flores?Agapito Flores was born in Guiguinto, Bulacan, Philippines on September 28, 1897. He worked as an apprentice in a machine shop and later moved to Tondo, Manila where he trained at a vocational school to become an electrician.
It has been reported that Agapito Flores received a French patent for a fluorescent bulb and that the General Electric Company bought Flores' patent rights and manufactured and sold his fluorescent bulb (making millions from it). However, all the inventors named above and more predate Agapito Flores' possible work on any fluorescent bulb.
According to Dr. Benito Vergara of the Philippine Science Heritage Center, "As far as I could learn, a certain Flores presented the idea of fluorescent light to Manuel Quezon when he became president. At that time, General Electric Co. had already presented the fluorescent light to the public."