The History of Electricity: How Was Electricity Discovered?

The History of Electricity

Electricity is a foundational energy that powers our entire world. Today, many people take it for granted—that is, until their power goes out and they realize just how much of their home depends on electricity. As the world progresses, more electricity is being generated and used to power everyday life. The auto industry is moving toward electric vehicles. Even lawnmowers and grills are moving to electricity. All of this makes many people wonder, what is the history of electricity? How was electricity discovered?

Who discovered electricity?

To be clear, electricity was not invented—it was discovered. That distinction is important because electricity occurs naturally in the environment. Regarding the history of electricity, there is ample evidence that ancient societies were aware of electricity, even if they did not know exactly what it was or how to harness it. However, most historians will credit William Gilbert, an English physician, for being the first person in modern history to identify, study, and advance electricity. Gilbert did this in 1600, coining the phrase “electricus.”

From that point forward, other researchers, scientists, and inventors around the world began building upon Gilbert’s work. One of the most famous, Benjamin Franklin, achieved more fame than most with his kite experiment in 1752. Tying a metal key to a kite and proving that lightning and electricity were one and the same.

Another famous inventor, Thomas Edison, made arguably the greatest impact on how we use modern electricity. While there is debate about the Edison vs. Nikola Tesla rivalry in the late 1800s, what is not debatable is the impact that Edison’s incandescent light bulbs had on America and the rest of the world, shifting from oil lamps to electricity.

Click here to read about the Falconer Electronics Blog Series on Thomas Edison 

History of Electricity, The History of Electricity: How Was Electricity Discovered?

Wrapping It Up 

Lastly, Thank you for taking the time to read this post. 

For more information on the history of electricity and to find other interesting information about the electrical industry, visit our blog.

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