Thomas Edison is a hero of American innovation and known for many inventions such as the phonograph, his most famous association is with the electric lamp.
However, the demonstration of a light bulb on December 3, 1879 was the result of much experimentation by many over time.
The first patents for incandescent bulbs had been issued to British scientists in the 1840s. One of whom, Joseph Swan, Edison had prolonged patent fights with until they decided to align in 1883, eventually forming General Electric.
Research into filaments for the electric bulb was through a syndicate known as the Edison Electric Light company, and Edison eventually proposed a new centralized utility and electric distribution network to illuminate homes.
Source: General Electric, Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries by Rodney Carlisle (Wiley, 2004)