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Who Really Discovered Electricity: Exploring the Masterminds Behind It All

Electricity has enormous significance. There wouldn’t be lightbulbs in your home if there wasn’t energy. You would need to carry a candle with you everywhere you went. One would not be able to utilize an electric stove or microwave. Neither a phone nor a computer would exist. Without electricity, none of the devices to which we are in any way addicted—the phone, tablet, computer, or video game—would be possible.

Who then discovered electricity? The solution isn’t that easy. Not even a single person found it. Benjamin Franklin is often credited as one of the founding fathers who advanced the usage of electricity. However, the truth is that our current state is the result of several advancements made over millennia.

Let’s examine the true inventors of electricity and see who made it all happen.

What Is Electricity?

Let’s start by discussing what electricity is. The movement of electrons between atoms is called electricity. Lightning is an example of something that has electricity. With the passage of time, scientists discovered how to produce electricity, which is why many contemporary items require it. We can now power devices like laptops, lightbulbs, and kitchen appliances with an electric current. Moreover, throughout the ages, scientists found numerous advancements in electricity. Let’s examine the brilliant minds who discovered electricity.

Ancient Egyptians

There are records from the Ancient Egyptians, dated to approximately 2750 BCE, that speak of electric fish shocks. This fish was known to the Egyptians as the “Thunderer of the Nile.” They went on to say that these fish defended the other fish that were in the water. Additionally, electric fish was utilized medicinally, mostly to treat nerve pain, gout, and headaches. We refer to this procedure as electroanalgesia.

Thales of Miletus

The Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus studied science, mathematics, and the natural world. About 600 BCE, he conducted a number of studies on static electricity and proposed the theory that amber was magnetic due to friction. That was not the case with other minerals. It is believed that the Ancient Greeks discovered static electricity as a result of this discovery. Interestingly, Greek pots with copper sheets were found by archaeologists. They surmised that they might be dated versions of the batteries used to power electric lights.

The Parthians

The Parthians are credited for significantly advancing the usage of electricity as well. The Parthians originated in what is now northern Iran. A clay vase from the Parthian Empire was discovered by archaeologists. There was a hollow copper sheet cylinder inside the clay vase. Another copper sheet was located at the bottom of the cylinder. The cylinder held multiple layers of asphalt within. Then, there was an iron plug on top of the inner layer of asphalt. Scientists have speculated that this might have been something like a battery, whether it was electrical or not. This may have been used to medicine as well.

William Gilbert

Nothing new was discovered about electricity or its applications for a millennium. William Gilbert, an English scientist, didn’t begin studying electricity and magnetism until 1600. His research was presented in the book De Magnete. Gilbert also came to the conclusion that there is a phenomenon known as static electricity that occurs when amber is rubbed together. The Greek word for amber is electricus, which he further labeled that attribute. The phrases electric and electricity were first used in 1646 by the English polymath Thomas Browne, who also Anglicized “electricus.”

Benjamin Franklin

Probably the most influential figure in the development of modern electrical consumption is Benjamin Franklin. With intense curiosity, he studied electricity and came to the conclusion that it contained both positive and negative parts that were always in motion. He flew a kite in a thundering sky in 1752 after fastening a key to it. The events that followed sparked the electric revolution of the following century. He was startled as sparks from the lightning striking the key cascaded down the string. There were similar tests in London and Paris once the story spread.

Alessandro Volta

It’s crucial to clarify the meaning of voltage, or volt, before delving into Alessandro Volta’s work. Electricity is measured in volts. Alessandro Volta was a physicist from Italy. He arrived at the conclusion that electricity can be generated by specific chemical reactions. He constructed the voltaic pile in 1800 using copper and zinc, resembling a primitive form of electric battery. He was the first person to discover and make an electric current because this battery generated one. When he connected positive and negative connectors to produce an electrical charge, he also created the first means of electrical transmission.

Michael Faraday

The man known as the Father of Electricity is Michael Faraday. He created the electric dynamo in 1831. This device resembled an antiquated power plant. The device produced a modest electric current with a copper wire coil. This made a significant contribution to the advancement of electricity use in daily life. It cleared the path for researchers to develop electricity even farther in the present era.

More Modern Inventors

Following the discoveries made by Alessandro Volta, Michael Faraday, and Benjamin Franklin during the 19th century, the pace at which electricity was used in society increased significantly. These are some of the significant figures who achieved breakthroughs.

Thomas Edison

Possibly one of the most well-known inventors in history is Thomas Edison. He is recognized as the light bulb’s inventor. When he accomplished this in 1878, the light bulb was able to remain lighted for several hours. As a result, a completely new and innovative method of putting power in people’s homes and offices was developed. In addition, he collaborated with British scientist Joseph Swan in September 1882 to install New York City’s first electric street lamp.

Along with many other innovations, Edison is also credited with creating the phonograph and the motion picture camera. In addition, he was the first to establish a long-term research facility specifically for his ground-breaking creations.

Nikola Tesla

We’ve all seen the svelte, modern vehicles known as Teslas. However, a man by the name of Nikola Tesla was the most well-known Tesla before the automobile. Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor, made significant contributions to the development of modern electrical usage. He collaborated with numerous scientists, Thomas Edison among them. Alternating current (AC), which is used to generate and transmit electricity, was greatly advanced by Tesla. In addition, he was a driving force behind the development of the polyphase distribution system, the induction motor, and the radio—though Guglielmo Marconi is recognized as the radio’s inventor).

In summary

There you have it: these individuals helped advance our current understanding of electricity usage. Each person on this list contributed to the discovery of electricity in some way. They also produced innovations that paved the path for the subsequent innovation that changed the way we use power today.

Moreover, a great deal of new information regarding electricity was uncovered far into the 20th century. The items we own and use on a daily basis are largely dependent on scientific discoveries, which have been made possible by these findings.

Let’s remember these geniuses who dedicated their entire lives to developing technology that would benefit society the next time we turn on the light or charge our phone. Let’s give these folks a big thank you for their incredible, transformative efforts.