Thomas Edison did not invent electric lights nor did he invent the lightbulb. Edison established “invention factory” in rural Menlo Park, New Jersey in 1876. He employed a large staff of assistants to help turn his idea into reality. Edison combined his knowledge of electricity and gas lights to invent a whole system of electric lighting in 1879. After testing hundreds of materials including coconut fiber, fishing line, and even hairs from employees’ beards—Edison and his team decided to use filaments of carbonized bamboo in their light bulbs.