One thing without which life is purely unimaginable is electricity. Escaping the summer heat or enduring the harsh winters would have been impossible without electricity. Almost all our gadgets use electricity to function, and it is no stretch of the imagination to say that the world would come to a standstill if there were no electricity.
So, did you ever wonder who discovered electricity and when was it first used? The simple answer is Benjamin Franklin, but there is more to the tale than you might know of.
So, was it really a man flying a kite that stumbled upon this energy and changed the world forever? The truth is that the experiments carried out by him only established the connection between electricity and lightning. Energy has been around ever since the existence of mankind and it can not be invented, it is rather discovered and manipulated by humans in different forms. It was in the year 1752, that Benjamin Franklin had carried out his kite experiment to prove that the thunder overhead carried energies that passed through the kite and this electricity that passed through the string, gave him a slight electrocution as it had a metal key attached to the end. It was Benjamin Franklin who came up with the idea that electricity has negative and positive elements and flows amidst these two elemental forces.
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So, was it the first time that electricity was ever discovered by a human? The surprising answer to this question is no. As famous as Benjamin's experiments are and despite being acclaimed to be the first one to discover this force, the truth is that people in the ancient times had already discovered electricity and were putting it into use. It was in the year 600 BC that Ancient Greeks had discovered that when one rubs fur on amber which is fossilized tree resin then a magnetic attraction occurs between the two which we termed as static electricity. Furthermore, archaeologists at excavation sites stumbled upon a fascinating discovery which hints at the use of electric batteries in the olden times. These batteries that were basically pots with a sheet of copper inside were used to generate light at ancient Roman sites.
It was not just the ancient Romans but even the Persians who used this form of technology based on the discover if similar batteries in archaeological sites near Baghdad. So, the first battery that was used was somewhat 2000 years ago that makes one question the authenticity of it being called a modern world discovery. These fascinating discoveries proved that our ancestors knew about this force a lot more than they are given credit for.
It was by the 17th century that many other electricity related discoveries were made. From electrostatic generator to differentiation between positive and negative currents and also the classification of materials as conductors.Also, a famous English physician named William Gilbert first used the Latin word ‘electricus’ to describe the energy generated when two substances are rubbed against each other. Later on Thomas Browne who was also an English scientist carried out investigations based on Gilbert's work and used the term ‘electricity’ or description.
While it was Benjamin Franklin who conducted the well-known experiment, he only managed to establish a link between lightning and the electric sparks they generate. On the other hand, it was Italian physicist Alessandro Volta who discovered that certain chemical reactions could produce electricity. He is also the brains behind the early electric battery, voltaic pile that produced steady electric current. He was the very first man to have created a constant flow of electric charge.
What are your views on these obscure details about the discovery of electricity and do you think we humans are doing our utmost best to save it. Share your feedback using the comment box below.
(featured image Courtesy: Bellevue Rare Clinic)