We are surrounded by electricity all the time. And the history of Electricity has amazed, astonished, and inspired humans for generations.
Electricity powers everything from our bedroom lamp to our favorite gaming system to the fridge that stores all of our favorite goodies.
Even if you traveled to the most remote parts of the globe, you might still locate it in the clouds above you throughout a storm.
But do you ever wonder when was electricity invented?
Electricity is produced in various ways, including coal, water, solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, and solar. Understanding where power comes from and how we might utilize it enables us to regulate our consumption better and be more environmentally conscious.
There was little progress in electricity until William Gilbert, an English scientist, documented the electrification of several substances around 1600 and created the term electricity from the Greek word for amber.
Science historians have traced human understanding of magnetism back to 2637 BCE, which appears to be the first time compasses were utilized.
Although archaeologists have discovered evidence of rudimentary, maybe “accidental” electroplating (covering one metal with another), the scientific history of electricity is far more recent.
Thales (c.624–546BCE), a Greek mathematician and philosopher from Miletus (now Turkey), began off our narrative about 600 BCE when he established the fundamental theory of static electricity (electricity that builds up in one place).
He discovered he could pick up other light items, such as fragments of feathers, by rubbing an amber rod (a fossilized tree resin). (You’ve undoubtedly tried something similar by rubbing a ruler or a balloon and picking up pieces of paper.)
People may have justified something like this as magic before Thales came along: ancient people didn’t figure things out scientifically the way we do now. Magic, mysticism, folklore (tales), and religion were frequently used in their explanations.
Thales is sometimes referred to as the world’s first scientist since he was one of the first to come up with reasonable, scientific explanations for events.
His theories weren’t always right (he thought the Universe was ultimately formed of water and that the Earth was a flat disc), but they were the greatest logical inferences he could draw from his observations of the world—and they were scientific in that sense.
The Baghdad ‘battery’ tells the story of electricity in the ancient world.
To the best of our knowledge, some 2,600 years ago, the Greeks were the first to develop the concept of electrical charge. They discovered that rubbing fossilized tree resin, sometimes known as amber, with animal fur attracted dried grass. In essence, the Greeks had come into contact with static electricity.
According to ancient literature, Egyptians were also aware that certain types of electric fish might cause physical shocks.
In reality, the electric Nile Catfish was likely utilized by ancient Egyptians to cure headaches and nerve pain, a method known as ichthyoelectroanalgesia, which was employed in medicine until the late 1600s.
The Baghdad battery is, without a doubt, the most astounding example of electricity in antiquity. In 1936, an expedition led by Dr. Wilhelm Koenig of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad uncovered this strange instrument.
The discovery was a clay vase that stood about 14 centimeters tall and had an 8-centimeter circumference at its widest point.
The relic is thought to be around 2,000 years old, dating from the 1st century AD, when the Parthian empire ruled the region. One of the ancient electric cells (batteries) discovered in Bagdad, with a replica and schematic.
Although the little clay pot appeared to be unremarkable at first glance, scientists rapidly discovered that there was much more to it once they peered inside.
There’s magnetism, and there’s electricity. That’s how individuals like William Gilbert perceived the world, and it’s how we now learn about it in school. Because electricity and magnetism are two distinct ways of looking at the same, more significant event, the concept is not incorrect, but it is a little deceptive.
They’re like the front and rear of a home or two sides of the same coin. Over the years, there have been many hints concerning the connections between electricity and magnetism.
For example, “An account of a remarkable effect of lightning in conveying magnetism” was published in 1735 in the scholarly publication Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.
New DC transformers can convert from low to extremely high voltages in the same way as older AC transformers can. According to a doctor in Yorkshire, a lightning bolt struck the corner of a home where a huge box of metal knives and forks was housed, spreading them around and strangely magnetizing them in the process.
However, a series of innovative tests carried out by European scientists in the 19th century proved the conclusive link between electricity and magnetism. The Earth is thought to be an unlimited supply of positive and negative charges in equal proportions.
Scientists have known since Thales’ discovery that static electricity could be created by rubbing items together, but no one knew why or where the electricity came from.
Luigi Galvani (1737–1798), an Italian naturalist, discovered in the late 18th century that he could generate electricity in an entirely new—and altogether unexpected—way: by utilizing the legs of a dead frog.
When he put brass hooks into a frog’s legs and hanged them from an iron post in his most famous experiment, he watched the legs quiver from time to time as electricity traveled through them.
This led him to believe that living things like frogs possessed “animal energy,” which the metals were unleashing somehow.
Galvani, in reality, had jumped to the erroneous conclusion, as another Italian, scientist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), soon found. The current detector, not the source of the current, was the twitching frog.
“The difference in the metals,” as Volta discovered after experimenting with various materials, was the most crucial factor.
What was going on was that the two dissimilar metals, which were joined by the wet, mushy, froggy tissue, were chemically creating electricity.
When was electricity invented: who discovered electricity?
Electricity does not need to be developed because it is a natural power that exists on our planet. Lightning is a frequent electrical illumination in today’s world. Still, the topic of who developed electricity should be about what went into discovering electricity.
It did, however, require discovery and comprehension. Benjamin Franklin possessed one of history’s most brilliant scientific brains.
He was fascinated by many fields of science, and he created several discoveries and inventions, including bifocal spectacles. He started fascinated by electricity in the mid-1700s.
Around the year 1600, English scientist William Gilbert developed electricity. People had heard of static electricity and shocks from “electric fish” prior to that time.
Gilbert experimented with electricity and magnetism extensively. He coined the phrase “electricity,” and many scientific ideas were destroyed due to his results.
Benjamin Franklin did substantial study and comprehension of electricity in the mid-1700s. He made history by tying a key to the bottom of a wet kite line and flying it during a thunderstorm in June 1752.
The storm’s power caused sparks to fly from the key to the back of his hand, indicating that the lightning was electrical in origin.
Franklin’s renowned kite experiment took place in 1752. He connected a metal key to the kite string to conduct the electricity.
Electricity from the thunderclouds was transmitted to the kite, and electricity poured down the line, giving him a jolt, just as he had predicted.
Many entrepreneurs and scientists spent the next century figuring out how to harness electrical power to create light.
Many other scientists examined electricity and learned more about how it works due to Franklin’s study.
American inventor Thomas Edison, for example, developed the electric light bulb in 1879, and our world has been better ever since! Thomas Edison is a famous inventor. He was lucky not to get wounded, but he won’t fancy the shock because it validated his theory.
Michael Faraday invented the electric dynamo. In 1864, James Clerk Maxwell developed a theoretical model for electromagnetic waves.
By 1886, there were 40 to 50 hydroelectric facilities in operation in the United States and Canada alone, and by 1888, around 200 electric firms used hydropower for at least part of their electricity generation.
As we enter the twenty-first century, electricity continues to change, but advances – at least in terms of power sources – have been slower.
Ben Franklin’s experiment with a lightning-kite
Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Father, and famed inventor, have, discovered electricity by attaching a key to a kite while standing in a rainstorm.
This, however, is not the case. Franklin wasn’t the first scientist to examine charged particles, and he didn’t set out to find electricity; instead, he wanted to show that lightning was a type of static electricity.
Franklin was tinkering with electrical tubes by his friend Peter Collinson in the mid-18th century, long before he went on his famous experiment.
Franklin thought that lighting was caused by a “huge electric spark” due to his encounters and proposed an experiment using an elevated rod to “pull down the electric fire.”
The Frenchman Thomas Francois D’Alimbard utilized a 50-foot vertical pole to draw the “electric fluid” after word of Franklin’s theories reached Europe (lightning). On May 10, 1752, he was successful in Paris.
John Canton, an Englishman, successfully duplicated the experiment in July. After his experiment, Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov came to the same conclusion.
Franklin, seemingly uninformed of the events on the other side of the Atlantic, conducted his version of the experiment during a rainstorm in Philadelphia in June 1752.
He stood outdoors under a cover, clutching a silk kite with a key attached. When lightning struck, the charge on the key was gathered in a Leyden jar, an ancient electrical component that holds a charge.
What Does Electric Power Mean?
Electric power consumed by houses and businesses is often sold by the kilowatt-hour meter, calculated by multiplying the running time in hours by the power in kilowatts. The quantity of power consumed is measured with an electricity meter.
Electric power generation is regarded as environmentally friendly because no byproducts are created. The electric power production sector is considered part of the public utility network since it is required for companies and customers to run commercial and home appliances.
The rate at which electrical energy is used in an electrical circuit is referred to as electric power. Electric power may be generated from various sources, including electric batteries, although electric generators usually generate it.
What is Static electricity?
Have you ever brushed a balloon on a shirt to see what happens? Is there any evidence that the balloon clung to the sweater? When some materials are rubbed together, it gathers on their surfaces. Static electricity is to blame for this.
Positive charges attract opposite charges in one substance and vice versa. The balloon will deflate when there are equal quantities of charges again.
We take electricity for granted, and it’s easy to forget that it’s only been this clean and handy since the end of the 19th century—which is a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things.
Pioneers such as Alessandro Volta, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, and Thomas Edison worked out the mysteries of electricity, how to manufacture it, and how to make it perform useful things during the nineteenth century.
Electricity had been essentially a curiosity: scientists found it fascinating to study and experiment with, but there was nothing more they could do with it.
People used wood or coal stoves to cook and heat their houses, and they started their fires using matches. Chemical processes’ capacity to produce electricity and electricity’s ability to drive chemical reactions has a wide range of applications.
The current energy is the “modern electricity” that powers everything, including your phone in your pocket to the subway you take to school or work (or electric current).
It’s energy that goes down a metal wire from its source (which might be anything from a massive power plant to a bit of battery) to the device it powers (often an electric motor, heating element, or lamp).
Electricity is continually moving, transporting energy from one location to another.
What causes static electricity?
We, like the ancient Greeks, believe that touching items causes electricity. If you live in a house with nylon carpets and metal door handles, you’ll quickly discover that when you walk over the floor, your body builds up a static charge, which can release when you contact a doorknob, causing you a little electric shock.
We learn about static in most classroom experiments by rubbing items together. You’ve undoubtedly tried the “rub a balloon on your clothing to make it stay” method, right? This may lead you to believe that static electricity is linked to friction.
The fact that we’re putting two distinct materials into touch is more essential than rubbing. Rubbing two items together forcefully brings them into touch, again and again, causing static electricity to form due to a process called triboelectricity (or the triboelectric effect).
All materials are made up of atoms, which contain a positive central core (the nucleus) surrounded by a fuzzy “cloud” of electrons, the most interesting parts. Now, certain atoms have a stronger pull on electrons than others, which affects a lot of chemistry.
When two distinct materials are brought into contact, and one draws electrons more than the other, electrons can be drawn from one of the materials.
How Electricity is Produced
The trip of electricity to your socket is both quick and long.
Dams that provide hydroelectric power, fossil-fuel plants, and nuclear power plants provide electricity.
This necessitates electricity utilities planning ahead of time for their electrical needs and maintaining regular coordination with their power stations.
Even today, most of our electricity is generated by massive power plants using fossil fuels like coal.
It is not magic, despite appearances. The following is a step-by-step procedure:
Power is generated in plants that can acquire electricity from fundamental energy. Wind, solar radiation, and tides are examples of primary renewable energy, while coal, natural gas, and oil are examples of non-renewables.
Companies construct power plants and own (in whole or part) so-called power plants and infrastructure. They sell the energy they create to marketing businesses (suppliers).
Once the energy has been gathered and transformed into electricity, it is carried from the power plants to the substations through overhead power lines (supported by towers) or subterranean power lines.
Other components, known as transformers, are employed to guarantee that a suitable electrical voltage is maintained. Substations, generally located outdoors near power plants and on the outskirts of cities, are required to process energy and maintain the proper voltage. If they aren’t too enormous, you might be able to discover them within a building in the city.
From the substations, power is sent to nearby residences. You cannot pick your energy distributor as a consumer or an energy receiver since one is allocated based on your location.
The business you choose will be in charge of making sure that energy reaches your home safely and will rectify any problems. It also owns your power meter and provides the readings to your provider (which is the one that charges you).
Because it is the one that buys the energy from the generation firms and sells it to you, your supplier is the one you may always pick and will always be the one who sends you the bills.
Although there is a free market where you pay according to the terms of your contract, as with any other service tariff (mobile, Wi-Fi, etc.) and a regulated market, the suppliers will offer you different rates and packages.
So, that’s all we have for you on electricity. I hope this article cleared your queries on when electricity was invented, who made the major contributions, and how it is generated.
If there’s anything, you would like to add here, feel free to comment.