The History of Electricity

By Jitender Sharma - February 07, 2018


In this generation, no one can think of their lives without electricity. It is one of the most important assets for daily work. Electricity is a form of energy produced by nature, but it took many years for human beings to understand and appreciate how electricity can be used to get things done. For thousands of years, people around the world have been fascinated by lightning. However, the story of the exploitable form of electricity, which the world is using today is more of a discovery than an invention.

The history of electricity can be dated back before Christ. A scientist names Thales of Miletus was the first to recognize electricity in nature. But the term ‘electricity’ came in use after William Gilbert, a physician who served Queen Elizabeth published his famous book “De magnete, MagneticisiqueCorporibus”. Otto von Guericke invented electrostatic generator in the year 1660 that generated static electricity. A brief journey of electricity and its discovery is given below.
Benjamin Franklin and His Kite

Most of us think that Benjamin Franklin who is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States discovered electricity with his famous kite experiment. His kite flying experiment in the year 1752 demonstrated that lightning is electricity. He was the first person to use the terms negative and positive charge. But the discovery of electricity had a long way to go.
Alessandro Volta’s Battery

For a long time, there was no dependable source of electricity. But in the year 1800, an Italian scientist named Alessandro Volta made a great discovery. He soaked a paper in salt water, and then placed copper and zinc on opposite sides of the soaked paper and let the chemical reaction produce electric current. Alessandro Volta was the first person to create an electric cell.

Current began with Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday was an English scientist born on 22 September 1791 in Newington Butts. He made one of the most significant discoveries in the history of electricity. Faraday was the first person to discover that electric current can be produced by passing a magnet through a copper wire. Many inventions came based on his work, but they all came 50 to 100 years later.
Thomas Alva Edison with His light Bulb

Thomas Alva Edison has been described as America's greatest inventor with 1093 patents. In the year 1879, Edison focused on inventing a practical light bulb. The problem he was facing was finding the right filament (a small wire inside the bulb that conducts the electric current). Finally, Thomas Alva Edison discovered the light bulb by using ordinary cotton thread soaked in carbon as the filament.

Nikola Tesla: Turning point of the electric age

Nikola Tesla is referred as the greatest inventive genius of all time. He came to the US to work with Thomas Alva Edison, but after falling out, Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field and invented Alternating Current (AC) system. In 1886 Nikola Tesla designed the system that is used to generate electricity at the Niagara Falls which is the first hydroelectric plant in the United States.
      

This journey of discoveries and experiments will not end, as humans are constantly discovering advanced and new discoveries that may someday even take us to a new dimension. Subscribe to BYJU’S YouTube Channel to watch interesting science videos in an interactive manner.   
 

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