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Tungsram works in Újpest in 1906
Poster for Tungsram incandescent light bulbs, Hungary, ca. 1910
Incandescent light bulbs with carbon filaments (left) and the modern tungsten bulb (right)
Tungsram commercial vacuum tubes from the 1970s
Tungsram television prototype in 1937

Tungsram is in one of Hungary's largest, oldest, and internationally most prestigious firms, known for light bulbs and electronics. Established in Újpest in 1896, it initially produced telephones, wires and switchboards. The name "Tungsram" is a portmanteau of "tungsten" /ˈtʌŋstən/ and "wolfram" /ˈwʊlfrəm/ (the two common names of the metal used for making light bulb filaments).


On 13 December 1904, Hungarian Sándor Just and Croatian Franjo Hanaman were granted Hungarian patent no. 34541 for the world's first tungsten filament bulb that lasted longer and produced brighter light than a carbon filament. The co-inventors licensed their patent to the company, which came to be named Tungsram after the eponymous tungsten incandescent bulbs, which are still called Tungsram bulbs in many European countries. In 1934, Tungsram incorporated a patent by Imre Bródy for bulbs filled with krypton gas, providing for longer bulb lifetime. During World War I mass production of radio tubes began and became the most profitable division of the company.[1]

British Tungsram Radio Works was a subsidiary of Hungarian Tungsram in pre-war days.

In 1990, General Electric acquired a majority stake in Tungsram and over six years invested $600 million in the venture, thoroughly restructuring every aspect of its operations. To date, this has been the largest manufacturing investment by a U.S. firm in Central and Eastern Europe.[2] Tungsram is today a subsidiary of General Electric and the name is merely retained as a brand.

Famous engineers and inventors[edit]

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  1. ^ Károly Jeney; Ferenc Gáspár; English translator:Erwin Dunay (1990). The History of Tungsram 1896-1945 (PDF). Tungsram Rt. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-939197-29-4. 
  2. ^ http://www.worldbank.org/html/prddr/trans/janfeb97/art9.htm