History of Electricity

Since Ancient times, people knew what electricity was, but the problem was how to create it or to channel it. The history of electricity began as an ancient puzzle; a piece of amber, if rubbed on fur cloth, will attract pieces of straw, but why? The history of electricity for the next thousand years involved trying to find an answer to this question.

The history of electricity finally started to pick up steam in 1600 when
William Gilbert began investigating the phenomenon of the amber and the straw and named the force “electricity”. High profile players were involved in the history of electricity; everyone remembers Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment flying a kite in a storm with a key at the end (but kids, don’t try that at home!). Ben Franklin discovered that he could channel the electricity from the lightening to the key and to his hand, but could have lost his life in the process.

The history of electricity continued with other experiments. In 1786, Galvani found that if he touched a dead frog’s leg with a knife, it would twitch. He thought that the electricity had originated in the frog’s muscles. In 1792, Volta explained that the electricity did not come from the frog, but from the combination of the metal plate and the knife with the frog in between. Volta also showed that electricity could travel through a wire, and he was honored to have his named immortalized in the history of electricity in the form of the word “volt”.

Michael Faraday was one of the most pivotal figures in the history of electricity, since he reasoned that if electricity could produce magnetism, why couldn’t magnetism produce electricity. Finally, in the 20th century, the history of electricity reached a high point with Edison and Bell’s invention of the electric light bulb.

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