The knowledge of static electricity dates back to the earliest civilizations, but for millennia it remained merely an interesting and mystifying phenomenon, without a theory to explain its behavior and often confused with magnetism. The ancients were acquainted with other curious properties possessed by two minerals, amber (ἤλεκτρον) and magnetic iron ore. The former, when rubbed, attracts light bodies : the latter has the power of attracting iron.
Based on his find of an Olmec hematite artifact in Central America, the American astronomer John Carlson has suggested that "the Olmec may have discovered and used the geomagnetic lodestone compass earlier than 1000 BC". If true, this "predates the Chinese discovery of the geomagnetic lodestone compass by more than a millennium". Carlson speculates that the Olmecs may have used similar artifacts as a directional device for astrological or geomantic purposes, or to orientate their temples, the dwellings of the living or the interments of the dead. The earliest Chinese literature reference to magnetism lies in a 4th century BC book called Book of the Devil Valley Master (鬼谷子): "The lodestone makes iron come or it attracts it.
The discovery of amber and other similar substances in the ancient times suggests the possible perception of it by pre-historic man. The accidental rubbing against the skins with which he clothed himself may have caused an attraction by the resin, thus electrified, of the light fur in sufficiently marked degree to arrest his attention. Between such a mere observation of the fact, however, and the making of any deduction from it, vast periods may have elapsed; but there came a time at last, when the amber was looked upon as a strange inanimate substance which could influence or even draw to itself other things; and this by its own apparent capacity, and not through any mechanical bond or connection extending from it to them; when it was recognized, in brief, that nature held a lifeless thing showing an attribute of life.
Long before any knowledge of electromagnetism existed, people were indirectly aware of the effects of electricity. Lightning, of course, and certain other manifestations of electricity, were known to the philosophers of ancient times, but to them no thought was more remote than that these manifestations had a common origin. Ancient Egyptians were aware of shocks when interacting with electric fish (such as the Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eels). The shocks from animals were apparent to observers since pre-history by a variety of peoples that came into contact with them. Texts from 2750 BC by the ancient Egyptians, referred to these fish as "thunderer of the Nile", and saw them as the "protectors" of all the other fish. Possibly the earliest and nearest approach to the discovery of the identity of lightning, and electricity from any other source, is to be attributed to the Arabs, who before the 15th century had the Arabic word for lightning (raad) applied to the Electric ray.
According to Thales of Miletus, writing at around 600 BC, noted that a form of electricity was observed by the Ancient Greeks that would cause a particular attraction by rubbing fur on various substances, such as amber. Thales wrote on the effect now known as static electricity. The Greeks noted that the amber buttons could attract light objects such as hair and that if they rubbed the amber for long enough they could even get a spark to jump. During this time in alchemy and natural philosophy, the existence of a medium of the æther, a space-filling substance or field, thought to exist.
The electrostatic phenomena was again reported millennia later by Roman and Arabic naturalists and physicians. Several ancient writers, such as Pliny the Elder and Scribonius Largus, attested to the numbing effect of electric shocks delivered by catfish and torpedo rays. Pliny in his books writes: "The ancient Tuscans by their learning hold that there are nine gods that send forth lightning and those of eleven sorts." This was in general the early pagan idea of lightning. The ancients held some concept that that shocks could travel along conducting objects. Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or headache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt might cure them.
A number of objects found in Iraq in 1938 dated to the early centuries AD (Sassanid Mesopotamia), called the Baghdad Battery, resembles a galvanic cell and is believed by some to have been used for electroplating. The claims are controversial because of supporting evidence and theories for the uses of the artifacts, physical evidence on the objects conducive for electrical functions, and if they were electrical in nature. As a result the nature of these objects is based on speculation, and the function of these artifacts remains in doubt.
In the 11th century, the Chinese scientist Shen Kuo (1031-1095) was the first person to write of the magnetic needle compass and that it improved the accuracy of navigation by employing the astronomical concept of true north (Dream Pool Essays, AD 1088 ), and by the 12th century the Chinese were known to use the lodestone compass for navigation. In 1187, Alexander Neckham was the first in Europe to describe the compass and its use for navigation.
Magnetism was one of the few sciences which progressed in medieval Europe; for in the thirteenth century Peter Peregrinus, a native of Maricourt in Picardy, made a discovery of fundamental importance. The French 13th century scholar conducted experiments on magnetism and wrote the first extant treatise describing the properties of magnets and pivoting compass needles.
Archbishop Eustathias, of Thessalonica, Greek scholar and writer of the 12th century, records that Woliver, king of the Goths, was able to draw sparks from his body. The same writer states that a certain philosopher was able while dressing to draw sparks from his clothes, a result seemingly akin to that obtained by Symmer in his silk stocking experiments, a careful account of which may be found in the 'Philosophical Transactions,' 1759.
Italian physician Girolamo Cardano wrote about electricity in De Subtilitate (1550) distinguishing, perhaps for the first time, between electrical and magnetic forces. Toward the latter part of the 16th century a physician of Queen Elizabeth's time, Dr. William Gilbert, in De Magnete, expanded on Cardano's work and coined the New Latin word electricus from ἤλεκτρον (elektron), the Greek word for "amber". The first usage of the word electricity is ascribed to Sir Thomas Browne in his 1646 work, Pseudodoxia Epidemica. Gilbert undertook a number of careful electrical experiments, in the course of which he discovered that many substances other than amber, such as sulphur, wax, glass, etc., were capable of manifesting electrical properties. Gilbert also discovered that a heated body lost its electricity and that moisture prevented the electrification of all bodies, due to the now well-known fact that moisture impaired the insulation of such bodies. He also noticed that electrified substances attracted all other substances indiscriminately, whereas a magnet only attracted iron. The many discoveries of this nature earned for Gilbert the title of founder of the electrical science.
Another pioneers was Robert Boyle, who in 1675 stated that electric attraction and repulsion can act across a vacuum. One of his important discoveries was that electrified bodies in a vacuum would attract light substances, this indicating that the electrical effect did not depend upon the air as a medium. He also added resin to the then known list of electrics.
This was followed in 1660 by Otto von Guericke, who invented an early electrostatic generator. By the end of the 17th Century, researchers had developed practical means of generating electricity by friction in electrostatic generator, but the development of electrostatic machines did not begin in earnest until the 18th century, when they became fundamental instruments in the studies about the new science of electricity. Electrostatic generators operate by using manual (or other) power to transform mechanical work into electric energy. They develop electrostatic charges of opposite signs rendered to two conductors, using only electric forces.
Isaac Newton contended that light was made up of numerous small particles. This could explain such features as light's ability to travel in straight lines and reflect off surfaces. This theory was known to have its problems: although it explained reflection well, its explanation of refraction and diffraction was less satisfactory. In order to explain refraction, Newton's Opticks (1704) postulated an "Aethereal Medium" transmitting vibrations faster than light, by which light, when overtaken, is put into "Fits of easy Reflexion and easy Transmission", which caused refraction and diffraction.
The electric machine was subsequently improved by Hawkesbee or Haukesbee, Litzendorf, and by Prof. George Mathias Boze, about 1750. Litzendorf substituted a glass ball for the sulphur ball of Guericke. Boze was the first to employ the "prime conductor" in such machines, this consisting of an iron rod held in the hand of a person whose body was insulated by standing on a cake of resin. Dr. Ingenhousz, in 1746, invented electric machines made of plate glass. Experiments with the electric machine were largely aided by the discovery of the property of a glass plate, when coated on both sides with tinfoil, of accumulating a charge of electricity when connected with a source of electromotive force. The electric machine was soon further improved by Andrew Gordon, a Scotchman, Professor at Erfurt, who substituted a glass cylinder in place of a glass globe; and by Giessing of Leipzig who added a "rubber" consisting of a cushion of woolen material. The collector, consisting of a series of metal points, was added to the machine by Benjamin Wilson about 1746, and Mr. John Canton of England (also the originator of the first pith ball electrometer) in 1762 made a notable improvement in the efficiency of electric machines by sprinkling an amalgam of tin over the surface of the rubber.
In the second quarter of the 18th century, Stephen Gray, who in 1729 classified materials as conductors and insulators. Gray in a series of interesting experiments for the first time demonstrated the difference between conductors and non-conductors (insulators), showing amongst other things that a metal wire and even pack thread conducted electricity, whereas silk did not. In one of his experiments he sent an electric current through 700 feet of hempen thread which was suspended at intervals by loops of silk thread; probably explainable on supposition that the hemp is more absorbent of moisture than silk. Subsequently C. F. du Fay first identified the two types of electricity that would later be called positive and negative. Du Fay transmitted a current through a wet hempen string to a distance of 1,256 feet, the string being insulated by means of glass.
The Leyden jar, a type of capacitor for electrical energy in large quantities, was invented at Leiden University by Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1745. William Watson, when experimenting with the Leyden jar, discovered in 1747 that a discharge of static electricity was equivalent to an electric current. The capacitive property, now and for many years availed of in the electric condenser, was first observed by Von Kleist of Leyden in 1754. Von Kleist happened to hold, near his electric machine, a small bottle, in the neck of which there was an iron nail. Touching the iron nail accidentally with his other hand he received a severe electric shock. In much the same way Prof. Pieter van Musschenbroeck assisted by Cunaens received a more severe shock from a somewhat similar glass bottle. Sir William Watson of England greatly improved this device, by covering the bottle, or jar, outside and in with tinfoil. This piece of electrical apparatus will be easily recognized as the well-known Leyden jar, so called by the Abbot Nollet of Paris, after the place of its discovery.
In 1741, Ellicott "proposed to measure the strength of electrification by its power to raise a weight in one scale of a balance while the other was held over the electrified body and pulled to it by its attractive power". The Sir William Watson already mentioned conducted numerous experiments, about 1749, to ascertain the velocity of electricity in a wire, which experiments, although perhaps not so intended, also demonstrated the possibility of transmitting signals to a distance by electricity. In these* experiments an insulated wire 12,276 feet in length was employed and the transmission of a signal from one end of the wire to the other appeared to the observers to be instantaneous. Monnicr in France had previously made somewhat similar experiments, sending shocks through an iron wire 1,319 feet long; About 1737 Hawkesbee and Du Fay independently discovered that there were apparently two kinds of frictional electricity namely, that which is developed by rubbing glass and resin, respectively. The former electricity Du Fay termed "vitreous," the latter "resinous" electricity. Later, these electricities were termed " positive" and "negative" electricity, respectively, by Franklin, Dr. Watson, Lichtenberg and others.
About 1750 various tests were made by different experimenters to ascertain the physiological and therapeutical effects of electricity. Mainbray (or Mowbray) in Edinburgh examined the effects of electricity upon plants and concluded that the growth of two myrtle trees was quickened by electrification. These myrtles were electrified "during the whole month of October, 1746, and they put forth branches and blossoms sooner than other shrubs of the same kind not electrified.. The Abbé Menon tried the effects of a continued application of electricity upon men and birds and found that the subjects experimented on lost weight, thus apparently showing that electricity quickened the excretions. The efficacy of electric shocks in cases of paralysis was tested in the county hospital at Shrewsbury, England, with rather poor success.. In one case reported a palsied arm was somewhat improved, but the dread of the shocks became so great that the patient preferred to forego a possible cure rather than undergo further treatment. In another case of partial paralysis the electric treatment was followed by temporary total paralysis. A second application of this treatment was again followed by total paralysis, whereupon the further use of electricity in this case was stopped. For further accounts of the early use of electricity as a remedial agent the reader may consult De la Rive's 'Electricity.'
In 1752, Benjamin Franklin is frequently confused as the key luminary behind electricity. William Watson and Benjamin Frankilin share the discovery of electrical potentials. Benjamin Franklin promoted his investigations of electricity and theories through the famous, though extremely dangerous, experiment of flying a kite through a storm-threatened sky. A key attached to the kite string sparked and charged a Leyden jar, thus establishing the link between lightning and electricity. Following these experiments he invented a lightning rod. It is either Franklin (more frequently) or Ebenezer Kinnersley of Philadelphia (less frequently) who is considered as the establisher of the convention of positive and negative electricity.
Theories regarding the nature of electricity were quite vague at this period, and those prevalent were more or less conflicting. Franklin considered that electricity was an imponderable fluid pervading everything, and which, in its normal condition, was uniformly distributed in all substances. He assumed that the electrical manifestations obtained by rubbing glass were due to the production of an excess of the electric fluid in that substance and that the manifestations produced by rubbing wax were due to a deficit of the fluid. This theory was opposed by the "two-fluid" theory due to Robert Symmer, 1759. By Symmer's theory the vitreous and resinous electricities were regarded as imponderable fluids, each fluid being composed of mutually repellent particles while the particles of the opposite electricities arc mutually attractive. When the two fluids unite by reason of their attraction for one another, their effect upon external objects is neutralized. The act of rubbing a body decomposes the fluids one of which remains in excess on the body and manifests itself as vitreous or resinous electricity.
Up to the time of Franklin's historic kite experiment the identity of the electricity developed by rubbing and by electric machines (frictional electricity), with lightning had not been generally established. Dr. Wall, Abbot Nollet, Hawkesbee, Gray and Winckler had indeed suggested the resemblance between the phenomena of "electricity" and "lightning," Gray having intimated that they only differed in degree. It was doubtless Franklin, however, who first proposed tests to determine the sameness of the phenomena. In a letter to Peter Comlinson, London, 19 Oct. 1752. Franklin, referring to his kite experiment, wrote, "At this key the phial (Leyden jar) may be charged; and from the electric fire thus obtained spirits may be kindled, and all the other electric experiments be formed which are usually done by the help of a rubbed glass globe or tube, and thereby the sameness of the electric matter with that of lightning be completely demonstrated. Dalibard, at Marley, near Paris, on 10 May 1742, by means of a vertical iron rod 40 feet long, obtained results corresponding to those recorded by Franklin and somewhat prior to the date of Franklin's experiment. Franklin's important demonstration of the sameness of frictional electricity and lightning doubtless added zest to the efforts of the many experimenters in this field in the last half of the 18th century, to advance 'the progress of the science.
Franklin's observations aided later scientists such as Michael Faraday, Luigi Galvani, Alessandro Volta, André-Marie Ampère, and Georg Simon Ohm whose work provided the basis for modern electrical technology. The work of Faraday, Volta, Ampere, and Ohm is honored by society, in that fundamental units of electrical measurement are named after them. Others would also advance the field of knowledge including those workers Watson, Boze, Smeaton, Le Monnicr, De Romas, Jallabert, Beccaria, Cavallo, John Canton, Robert Symmer, Nollet, Winckler, Richman, Dr. Wilson, Kinnersley, Priestley, Aepinus, Délavai, Cavendish, Coulomb, Volta and Galvani. A description of many of the experiments and discoveries of these early workers in the fields of electrical science and art will be found in the scientific publications of the time; notably the 'Philosophical Transactions,1 Philosophical Magazine, Cambridge Mathematical Journal, Young's 'Natural Philosophy,' Priestley's 'History of Electricity,' ' Franklin's 'Experiments and Observations on Electricity,' Cavalli's 'Treatise on Electricity,' De la Rive's 'Treatise on Electricity.' Among the more important of the electrical experiments and researches at this period were those of Francis Aepinus, a noted German scholar (1724-1802) and Henry Cavendish of London, England.
To Aepinus is accorded the credit of having been the first to conceive the view of the reciprocal relationship of electricity and magnetism. In his work 'Tentamen Theoria Electricitatis et Magnetism!,' published in Saint Petersburg, 1759. he gives the fol^ving amplification of Franklin's theory, which in some of its features is measurably in accord with present day views : "The particles of the electric fluid repel each other and attract and are attracted by the particles of all bodies with a force that decreases in proportion as the distance increases; the electric fluid exists in the pores of bodies; it moves unobstructedly through non-electric (conductors), but moves with difficulty in insulators; the manifestations of electricity are due to the unequal distribution of the fluid in a body, or to the approach of bodies unequally charged with the fluid." Aepinus formulated a corresponding theory of magnetism excepting that in the case of magnetic phenomena the fluids only acted on the particles of iron. He also made numerous electrical experimens, amongst others those apparently showing that in order to manifest electrical effects tourmalin requires to be heated to a temperature between 37.5° С and 100° C. In fact, tourmalin remains unelectrified when its temperature is uniform, but manifests electrical properties when its temperature is rising or falling. Crystals which manifest electrical properties in this way are termed pyro-electrics, amongst which, besides tourmalin, are sulphate of quinine and quartz.
Cavendish independently conceived a theory of electricity nearly akin to that of Aepinus.. He also (1784) was perhaps the first to utilize the electric spark to produce the explosion of hydrogen and oxygen in the proper proportions to produce pure water. The same philosopher also discovered the inductive capacity of dielectrics (insulators) and as early as 1778 measured the specific inductive capacity for beeswax and other substances by comparison with an air condenser.
About 1784 C. A. Coulomb, after whom is named the electrical unit of quantity, devised the torsion balance, by means of which he discovered what is known as Coulomb's law; — The force exerted between two small electrified bodies varies inversely as the square of the distance; not as Aepinus in his theory of electricity had assumed, merely inversely as the distance. According to the theory advanced by Cavendish "the particles attract and are attracted inversely as some less power of the distance than the cube."
With the discovery, by the experiments of Watson and others, that electricity could be transmitted to a distance, the idea of making practical use of this phenomenon began, about 1753, to engross the minds of "inquisitive" persons, and to this end suggestions looking to the employment of electricity in the transmission of intelligence were made. The first of the methods devised for this purpose was probably that, due to besage (1774). This method consisted in the employment of 24 wires, insulated from one another and each of which had a pith ball connected to its distant end. Each wire represented a letter of the alphabet. To send a message, a desired wire was charged momentarily with electricity from an electric machine, whereupon the pith ball connected to that wire would fly out; and in this way messages were transmitted. Other methods of telegraphing in which frictional electricity was employed were also tried, some of which are described in the article on the telegraph.
Hitherto the only electricity known was that developed by friction or rubbing, which was therefore termed frictional electricity. We now come to the era of galvanic or voltaic electricity. Volta discovered that chemical reactions could be used to create positively charged anodes and negatively charged cathodes. When a conductor was attached between these, the difference in the electrical potential (also known as voltage) drove a current between them through the conductor. The potential difference between two points is measured in units of volts in recognition of Volta's work.
The first mention of voltaic electricity, although not recognized as such at the time, was probably made by Sulzer in 1767, who on placing a small disc of zinc under his tongue and a small disc of copper over it, observed a peculiar taste when the respective metals touched at their edges. Sulzer assumed that when the metals came together they were set into vibration, this acting upon the nerves of the tongue, producing the effects noticed. In 1790 Prof. Luigi Alyisio Galvani of Bologna on one occasion, while conducting experiments on \"animal electricity,\" as he termed it, to which his attention had been turned by the twitching of a frog's legs in the presence of an electric machine, observed that the muscles of a frog which was suspended on an iron balustrade by a copper hook that passed through its dorsal column underwent lively convulsions without any extraneous cause; the electric machine being at this time absent.
To account for this phenomenon Galvani assumed that electricity of opposite kinds existed in the nerves and muscles of the frog; the muscles and nerves constituting the charged coatings of a Leyden jar. Galvani published the results of his discoveries, together with his hypothesis, which at once engrossed the attention of the physicists of that time; the most prominent of whom, Alexander Volta, professor of physics at Pavia, contended that the results observed by Galvani were due to the two metals, copper and iron, acting as \"electromotors,\" and that the muscles of the frog played the part of a conductor, completing the circuit. This precipitated a long discussion between the adherents of the conflicting views; one set of adherents holding with Volta that the electric current was the result of an electromotive force of contact at the two metals ; the other set adopting a modification of Galvani's view and asserting that the current was due to a chemical affinity between the metals and the acids in the pile. Michael Faraday wrote in the preface to his \"Experimental Researches\", relative to the question whether metallic contact is or is not productive of a part of the electricity of the voltaic pile: I see no reason as yet to alter the opinion I have given; ... but the point itself is of such great importance that I intend at the first opportunity renewing the inquiry, and, if I can, rendering the proofs either on the one side or the other, undeniable to all.\"
Even Faraday himself, however, did not settle the controversy, and while the views of the advocates on both sides of the question have undergone modifications, as subsequent investigations and discoveries demanded, up to the present day diversity of opinion on these points continues to crop out. Volta made numerous experiments in support of his theory and ultimately developed the pile or battery , which was the precursor of all subsequent chemical batteries, and possessed the distinguishing merit of being the first means by which a prolonged continuous current of electricity was obtainable. Volta communicated a description of his pile to the Royal Society of London and shortly thereafter Nicholson and Cavendish (1780) produced the decomposition of water by means of the electric current, using Volta's pile as the source of electromotive force.
In 1800 Alessandro Volta constructed the first device to produce a large electric current, later known as the electric battery. Napoleon, informed of his works, summoned him in 1801 for a command performance of his experiments. He received many medals and declorations, including the Légion d'honneur.
Davy in 1806, employing a voltaic pile of approximately 250 cells, or couples, decomposed potash and soda, showing that these substances were respectively the oxides of potassium and sodium, which metals previously had been unknown. These experiments were the beginning of electrochemistry, the investigation of which Faraday took up, and concerning which in 1833 he announced his important law of electrochemical equivalents, viz.: \"The same quantity of electricity — that is, the same electric current — decomposes chemically equivalent quantities of all the bodies which it traverses; hence the weights of elements separated in these electrolytes are to each other as their chemical equivalents.\" Employing a battery of 2,000 elements of a voltaic pife Humphrey Davy in 1809 gave the first public demonstration of the electric arc light, using for the purpose charcoal enclosed in a vacuum.
Somewhat singular to note, it was not until many years after the discovery of the voltaic pile that the sameness of annual and frictional electricity with voltaic electricity was clearly recognized and demonstrated. Thus as late as January 1833 we find Faraday writing in a paper on the electricity of the electric ray. \"After an examination of the experiments of Walsh, Ingenhousz, Henry Cavendish, Sir H. Davy, and Dr. Davy, no doubt remains on my mind as to the identity of the electricity of the torpedo with common (frictional) and voltaic electricity; and I presume that so little will remain on the mind of others as to justify my refraining from entering at length into the philosophical proof of that identity. The doubts raised by Sir Humphrey Davy have been removed by his brother, Dr. Davy; the results of the latter being the reverse of those of the former. ... The general conclusion which must, I think, be drawn from this collection of facts (a table showing the similarity, of properties of the diversely named electricities) is, that electricity, whatever may be its source, is identical in its nature.\"
It is proper to state, however, that prior to Faraday's time the similarity of electricity derived from different sources was more than suspected. Thus, William Hyde Wollaston, wrote in 1801: \"This similarity in the means by which both electricity and galvanism (voltaic electricity) appear to be excited in addition to the resemblance that has been traced between their effects shows that they are both essentially the same and confirm an opinion that has already been advanced by others, that all the differences discoverable in the effects of the latter may be owing to its being less intense, but produced in much larger quantity.\" In the same paper Wollaston describes certain experiments in which he uses very fine wire in a solution of sulphate of copper through which he passed electric currents from an electric machine. This is interesting in connection with the later day use of almost similarly arranged fine wires in electrolytic receivers in wireless, or radio-telegraphy.
In the first half of the 19th century many very important additions were made to the world's knowledge concerning electricity and magnetism. For example, in 1819 Hans Christian Oersted of Copenhagen discovered the deflecting effect of an electric current traversing a wire upon- a suspended magnetic needle.
This discovery gave a clue to the subsequently proved intimate relationship between electricity and magnetism which was promptly followed up by Ampère who shortly thereafter (1821) announced his celebrated theory of electrodynamics, relating to the force that one current exerts upon another, by its electro-magnetic effects, namely:
Professor Seebeck, of Berlin, in 1821 discovered that when heat is applied to the junction of two metals that had been soldered together an electric current is set up. This is termed Thermo-Electricity. Seebeck's device consists of a strip of copper bent at each end and soldered to a plate of bismuth. A magnetic needle is placed parallel with the copper strip. When the heat of a lamp is applied to the junction of the copper and bismuth an electric current is set up which deflects the needle.
Peltier in 1834 discovered an effect opposite to the foregoing, namely, that when a current is passed through a couple of dissimilar metals the temperature is lowered or raised at the junction of the metals, depending on the direction of the current. This is termed the Peltier \"effect\". The variations of temperature arc found to be proportional to the strength of the current and not to the square of the strength of the current as in the case of heat due to the ordinary resistance of a conductor. This latter is the C2R law, discovered experimentally in 1841 by the English physicist, Joule. In other words, this important law is that the heat generated in any part of an electric circuit is directly proportional to the product of the resistance of this part of the circuit and to the square of the strength of current flowing in the circuit.
In 1822 Sweiprger devised the first galvanometer. This instrument was subsequently much improved by Wilhelm Weber (1833). In 1825 William Sturgeon of Woolwich, England, invented the horseshoe and straight bar electromagnet, receiving therefor the silver medal of the Society of Arts. In 1837 Gauss and Weber (both noted workers of this period) jointly invented a reflecting galvanometer for telegraph purposes. This was the forerunner of the Thomson reflecting and other exceedingly sensitive galvanometers once used in submarine signaling and still widely employed in electrical measurements. Arago in 1824 made the important discovery that when a copper disc is rotated in its own plane, and if a magnetic needle be freely suspended on a pivot over the disc, the needle will rotate with the disc. If on the other hand the needle is fixed it will tend to retard the motion of the disc. This effect was termed Arago's rotations.
Futile attempts were made by Babbage, Barlow, Herschel and others to explain this phenomenon. The true explanation was reserved for Faraday, namely, that electric currents are induced in the copper disc by the cutting of the magnetic lines of force of the needle, which currents in turn react on the needle. In 1827 George Simon Ohm announced the now famous law that bears his name, that is:
In 1831 began the epoch-making researches of Michael Faraday, the famous pupil and successor of Humphrey Davy at the head of the Royal Institution, London, relating to electric and electromagnetic induction. Faraday's studies and researches extended from 1831 to 1855 and a detailed description of his experiments, deductions and speculations arc to be found in his compiled papers, entitled Experimental Researches in Electricity.' Faraday was by profession a chemist. He was not in the remotest degree a mathematician in the ordinary sense — indeed it is a quest on if in all his writings there is a single mathematical formula.
The experiment which led Faraday to the discovery of electric induction was made as follows : He constructed what is now and was then termed an induction coil, the primary and secondary wires of which were wound on a wooden bobbin, side by side, and insulated from one another. In the circuit of the primary wire he placed a battery of approximately 100 cells. In the secondary wire he inserted a galvanometer. On making his first test he observed no results, the galvanometer remaining quiescent, but on increasing the length of the wires he noticed a deflection of the galvanometer in the secondary wire when the circuit of the primary wire was made and broken. This was the first observed instance of the development of electromotive force by electromagnetic induction.
He also discovered that induced currents are established in a second closed circuit when the current strength is varied in the first \"wire, and that the direction of the current in the secondary circuit is opposite to that in the first circuit. Also that a current is induced in a secondary circuit when another circuit carrying a current is moved to and from the first circuit, and that the approach or withdrawal of a magnet to or from a closed circuit induces momentary currents in the latter. In short, within the space of a few months Faraday discovered by experiment virtually all the laws and facts now known concerning electro-magnetic induction and magneto-electric induction. Upon these discoveries, with scarcely an exception, depends the operation of the telephone, the dynamo machine, and incidental to the dynamo electric machine practically all the gigantic electrical industries of the world, including electric lighting, electric traction, the operation of electric motors for power purposes, and electro-plating, electrotyping, etc.
In his investigations of the peculiar manner in which iron filings arrange themselves on a cardboard or glass in proximity to the poles of a magnet, Faraday conceived the idea of magnetic \"lines of force\" extending from pole to pole of the magnet and along which the filings tend to place themselves. On the discovery being made that magnetic effects accompany the passage of an electric current in a wire, it was also assumed that similar magnetic lines of force whirled around the wire. For convenience and to account for induced electricty it was then assumed that when these lines of force are «cut\" by a wire in passing across them or when the lines of force in rising and falling cut the wire, a current of electricity is developed, or to be more exact, an electromotive force is developed in the wire that sets up a current in a closed circuit. Faraday advanced what has been termed the molecular theory of electricity which assumes that electricity is the manifestation of a peculiar condition of the molecule of the body rubbed or the ether surrounding the body. Faraday also, by experiment, discovered paramagnetism and diamagnetism, namely, that all solids and liquids are either attracted or repelled by a magnet. For example, iron, nickel, cobalt, manganese, chromium, etc., are paramagnetic (attracted by magnetism), whilst other substances, such as bismuth, phosphorus, antimony, zinc, etc., are repelled by magnetism or are diamagnetic.
Brugans of Leyden in 1778 and Le Baillif and Becquerel in 1827 had previously discovered diamagnetism in the case of bismuth and antimony. Faraday also rediscovered specific inductive capacity in 1837, the results of the experiments by Cavendish not having been published at that time. He also predicted the retardation of signals on long submarine cables due to the inductive effect of the insulation of the cable, in other words, the static capacity of the cable.
The 25 years immediately following Faraday's discoveries of electric induction were fruitful in the promulgation of laws and facts relating to induced currents and to magnetism. In 1834 Lenz and Jacobi independently demonstrated the now familiar fact that the currents induced in a coil are proportional to the number of turns in the coil. Lenz also announced at that time the important law that, in all cases of electromagnetic induction the induced currents have such a direction that their reaction tends to stop the motion that produces, them, a law that was perhaps deducible from Faraday's explanation of Arago's rotations.
In 1845 Joseph Henry, the American physicist, published an account of his valuable and interesting experiments with induced currents of a high order, showing that currents could be induced from the secondary of an induction coil to the primary of a second coil, thence to its secondary wire, and so on to the primary of a third coil, etc.
These books were departures from the beaten path. As Jenkin states in the preface to his work the science of the schools was so dissimilar from that of the practical electrician that it was quite impossible to give students sufficient, or even approximately sufficient, textbooks. A student he said might have mastered De la Rive's large and valuable treatise and yet feel as if in an unknown country and listening to an unknown tongue in the company of practical men. As another writer has said, with the coming of Jenkin's and Maxwell's books all impediments in the way of electrical students were removed, \\"the full meaning of Ohm's law becomes clear; electromotive force, difference of potential, resistance, current, capacity, lines of force, magnetization and chemical affinity were measurable, and could be reasoned about, and calculations could be made about them with as much certainty as calculations in dynamics\\".
About 1850 Kirchoff published his laws relating to branched or divided circuits. He also showed mathematically that according to the then prevailing electrodynamic theory, electricity would be propagated along a perfectly conducting wire with the velocity of light. Helmholtz investigated mathematically the effects of induction upon the strength of a current and deduced therefrom equations, which experiment confirmed, showing amongst other important points the retarding effect of self-induction under certain conditions of the circuit.
In 1853 Sir William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) predicted as a result of mathematical calculations the oscillatory nature cf the electric discharge of a condenser circuit. To Henry, however, belongs the credit of discerning as a result of his experiments in 1842 the oscillatory nature of the Leyden jar discharge. He wrote: The phenomena require us to admit the existence of a principal discharge in one direction, and then several reflex actions backward and forward, each more feeble than the preceding, until the equilibrium is obtained. These oscillations were subsequently observed by Fcddersen (1857) who using a rotating concave mirror projected an image of the electric spark upon a sensitive plate, thereby obtaining a photograph of the spark which plainly indicated the alternating nature of the discharge. Sir William Thomson was also the discoverer of the electric convection of heat (the \\"Thomson\\" effect). He designed for electrical measurements of precision his quadrant and absolute electrometers. The reflecting galvanometer and siphon recorder, as applied to submarine cable signaling, are also due to him.
About 1876 Prof. H. A. Rowland of Baltimore demonstrated the important fact that a static charge carried around produces the same magnetic effects as an electric current. The Importance of this discovery consists in that it may afford a plausible theory of magnetism, namely, that magnetism may be the result of directed motion of rows of molecules carrying static charges.
After Faraday's discovery that electric currents could be developed in a wire by causing it to cut across the lines of force of a magnet, it was to be expected that attempts would be made to construct machines to'avail of this fact in the development of voltaic currents. The first machine of this kind was due to Pixii, 1832. It consisted of two bobbins of iron wire, opposite which the poles of a horseshoe magnet were caused to rotate. As this produced in the coils of the wire an alternating current, Pixii arranged a commutating device (commutator) that converted the alternating current of the coils or armature into a direct current in the external circuit. This machine was followed by improved forms of magneto-electric machines due to Ritchie, Saxton, Clarke, Stohrer 1843, Nollet 1849, Shepperd 1856, Van Maldern, Siemens, Wilde and others.
A notable advance in the art of dynamo construction was made by Mr. S. A. Varley in 1866 and by Dr. Charles William Siemens and Mr. Charles Wheatstone, who independently discovered that when a coil of wire, or armature, of the dynamo machine is rotated between the poles (or in the \\"field\\") of an electromagnet, a weak current is set up in the coil due to residual magnetism in the iron of the electromagnet, and that if the circuit of the armature be connected with the circuit of the electromagnet, the weak current developed in the armature increases the magnetism in the field. This further increases the magnetic lines of force in which the armature rotates, which still further increases the current in the electromagnet, thereby producing a corresponding increase in the field magnetism, and so on, until the maximum electromotive force which the machine is capable of developing is reached. By means of this principle the dynamo machine develops its own magnetic field, thereby much increasing its efficiency and economical operation. Not by any means, however, was the dynamo electric machine perfected at the time mentioned.
In 1860 an important improvement had been made by Dr. Antonio Pacinotti of Pisa who devised the first electric machine with a ring armature. This machine was first used as an electric motor, but afterward as a generator of electricity. The discovery of the principle of the reversibility of the dynamo electric machine (variously attributed to Walenn 1860; Pacinotti 1864 ; Fontaine, Gramme 1873; Deprez 1881, and others) whereby it may be used as an electric motor or as a generator of electricity has been termed one of the greatest discoveries of the 19th century.
In 1872 the drum armature was devised by Heffner-Altneck. This machine in a modified form was subsequently known as the Siemens dynamo. These machines were presently followed by the Schuckert, Gulcher, Fein, Brush, Hochhausen, Edison and the dynamo machines of numerous other inventors. In the early days of dynamo machine construction the machines were mainly arranged as direct current generators, and perhaps the most important application of such machines at that time was in electro-plating, for which purpose machines of low voltage and large current strength were employed.
Beginning about 1887 alternating current generators came into extensive operation and the commercial development of the transformer, by means of which currents of low voltage and high current strength are transformed to currents of high voltage and low current strength, and vice-versa, in time revolutionized the transmission of electric power to long distances. Likewise the introduction of the rotary converter (in connection with the \\"step-down\\" transformer) which converts alternating currents into direct currents (and vice-versa) has effected large economies in the operation of electric power systems.
Before the introduction of dynamo electric machines, voltaic, or primary, batteries were extensively used for electro-plating and in telegraphy. There are two distinct types of voltaic cells, namely, the \\"open\\" and the \\"closed,\\" or \\"constant,\\" type. The open type in brief is that type which operated on closed circuit becomes, after a short time, polarized ; that is, gases are liberated in the cell which settle on the negative plate and establish a resistance that reduces the current strength. After a brief interval of open circuit these gases are eliminated or absorbed and the cell is again ready for operation. Closed circuit cells are those in which the gases in the cells are absorbed as quickly as liberated and hence the output of the cell is practically uniform. The Leclanché and Daniell cells, respectively, are familiar examples of the \\"open\\" and \\"closed\\" type of voltaic cell. The \\"open\\" cells are used very extensively at present, especially in the dry cell form, and in annunciator and other open circuit signal systems. Batteries of the Daniell or \\"gravity\\" type were employed almost generally in the United States and Canada as the source of electromotive force in telegraphy before the dynamo machine became available, and still are largely used for this service or as \\"local\\" cells. Batteries of the \\"gravity\\" and the Edison-Lalande types are still much used in \\"closed circuit\\" systems.
In the late 19th century, the term luminiferous aether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light. The word aether stems via Latin from the Greek αιθήρ, from a root meaning to kindle, burn, or shine. It signifies the substance which was thought in ancient times to fill the upper regions of space, beyond the clouds.
In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell of Edinburgh announced his electromagnetic theory of light, which was perhaps the greatest single step in the world's knowledge of electricity. Maxwell had studied and commented on the field of electricity and magnetism as early as 1855/6 when On Faraday's lines of force was read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society. The paper presented a simplified model of Faraday's work, and how the two phenomena were related. He reduced all of the current knowledge into a linked set of differential equations with 20 equations in 20 variables. This work was later published as On Physical Lines of Force in March 1861.
Around 1862, while lecturing at King's College, Maxwell calculated that the speed of propagation of an electromagnetic field is approximately that of the speed of light. He considered this to be more than just a coincidence, and commented \\"We can scarcely avoid the conclusion that light consists in the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena.\\"
Working on the problem further, Maxwell showed that the equations predict the existence of waves of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that travel through empty space at a speed that could be predicted from simple electrical experiments; using the data available at the time, Maxwell obtained a velocity of 310,740,000 m/s. In his 1864 paper A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, Maxwell wrote, The agreement of the results seems to show that light and magnetism are affections of the same substance, and that light is an electromagnetic disturbance propagated through the field according to electromagnetic laws.
As already noted herein Faraday, and before him, Ampère and others, had inklings that the luminiferous ether of space was also the medium for electric action. It was known by calculation and experiment that the velocity of electricity was approximately 186,000 miles per second; that is, equal to the velocity of light, which in itself suggests the idea of a relationship between -electricity and "light." A number of the earlier philosophers or mathematicians, as Maxwell terms them, of the 19th century, held the view that electromagnetic phenomena were explainable by action at a distance. Maxwell, following Faraday, contended that the seat of the phenomena was in the medium. The methods of the mathematicians in arriving at their results were synthetical while Faraday's methods were analytical. Faraday in his mind's eye saw lines of force traversing all space where the mathematicians saw centres of force attracting at a distance. Faraday sought the seat of the phenomena in real actions going on in the medium ; they were satisfied that they had found it in a power of action at a distance on the electric fluids.
Both of these methods, as Maxwell points out, had succeeded in explaining the propagation of light as an electromagnetic phenomenon while at the same time the fundamental conceptions of what the quantities concerned are, radically differed. The mathematicians assumed that insulators were barriers to electric currents ; that, for instance, in a Leyden jar or electric condenser the electricity was accumulated at one plate and that by some occult action at a distance electricity of an opposite kind was attracted to the other plate. Maxwell, looking further than Faraday, reasoned that if light is an electromagnetic phenomenon and is transmissible through dielectrics such as glass, the phenomenon must be in the nature of electromagnetic currents in the dielectrics. He therefore contended that in the charging of a condenser, for instance, the action did not stop at the insulator, but that the "displacement" currents are set up in the insulating medium, which currents continue until the resisting force of the medium equals that of the charging force. In a closed circuit conductor an electric current is also a displacement of electricity. The conductor offers a certain resistance, akin to friction, to the displacement, and heat is developed in the conductor, proportional as already stated herein to the square of the current, wh:ch current flows as long as the impelling electric force continues. This resistance may be likened to that met with by a ship as in its progress it displaces the water. The resistance of the dielectric is of a different nature and has been compared to the compression of multitudes of springs, which, under compression, yield with an increasing back pressure, up to a point where the total back pressure equals the initial pressure. When the initial pressure is withdrawn the energy expended in compressing the "springs" is returned to the circuit, concurrently with the return of the springs to their original condition, this producing a reaction in the opposite direction. Consequently the current due to the displacement of electricity in a conductor may be continuous, while the displacement currents in a dielectric are momentary and, in a circuit or medium which contains but little resistance compared with capacity or inductance reaction, the currents of discharge are of an oscillatory or alternating nature.
Maxwell extended this view of displacement currents in dielectrics to the ether of free space. Assuming light to be the manifestation of alterations of electric currents in the ether, and vibrating at the rate of light vibrations, these vibrations by induction set up corresponding vibrations in adjoining portions of the ether, and in this way the undulations corresponding to those of light are propagated as an electromagnetic effect in the ether. Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light obviously involved the existence of electric waves in free space, and his followers set themselves the task of experimentally demonstrating the truth of the theory.
In 1887, Prof. Heinrich Hertz in a series of experiments proved the actual existence of such waves. The discovery of electric waves in space naturally led to the discovery and introduction in the closing years of the 19th century of wireless telegraphy, various systems of which are now in successful use on shipboard, lighthouses and shore and inland stations throughout the world, by means of which intelligence is transmitted across the widest oceans and large parts of continents.
In 1891, notable additions to our knowledge of the phenomena of electromagnetic frequency and high potential current were contributed by Nikola Tesla. Amongst the novel experiments performed by Tesla was to take in his hand a glass tube from which the air had been exhausted, then bringing his body into contact with a wire carrying currents of high potential, the tube was suffused with a pleasing bright glow. Another experiment was to grasp a bulb that was suspended from a single wire attached to a high potential, high frequency current circuit, when a platinum button within the bulb was brought to vivid incandescence, the experimenter at this time standing on an insulating platform. The frequency and potential involved in the experiments made by Tesla at this time were of the order of one or more million cycles and volts. For further information relative to these experiments the reader may be referred to Tesla's Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency.
The electron as a unit of charge in electrochemistry was posited by G. Johnstone Stoney in 1874, who also coined the term electron in 1894. Plasma was first identified in a Crookes tube, and so described by Sir William Crookes in 1879 (he called it "radiant matter"). The place of electricity in leading up to the discovery of those beautiful phenomena of the Crookes Tube (due to Sir William Crookes), viz., Cathode rays, and later to the discovery of Roentgen or X-rays, must not be overlooked, since without electricity as the excitant of the tube the discovery of the rays might have been postponed indefinitely. It has been noted herein that Dr. William Gilbert was termed the founder of electrical science. This must, however, be regarded as a comparative statement.
During the late 1890s a number of physicists proposed that electricity, as observed in studies of electrical conduction in conductors, electrolytes, and cathode ray tubes, consisted of discrete units, which were given a variety of names, but the reality of these units had not been confirmed in a compelling way. However, there were also indications that the cathode rays had wavelike properties.
Faraday, Weber, Helmholtz, Clifford and others had glimpses of this view; and the experimental, work of Zecman, Goldstein, Crookes, J. J. Thomson and others had greatly strengthened this view. Over 35 years ago Weber predicted that electrical phenomena were due to the existence of electrical atoms, the influence of which on one another depended on their position and relative accelerations and velocities. Helmholtz and others also contended that the existence of electrical atoms followed from Faraday's laws of electrolysis, and Johnstone Stoney, to whom is due the term "electron," showed that each chemical ion of the decomposed electrolyte carries a definite and constant quantity of electricity, and inasmuch as these charged ions are separated on the electrodes as neutral substances there must be an instant, however brief, when the charges must be capable of existing separately as electrical atoms; while in 1887, Clifford wrote: "There is great reason to believe that every material atom carries upon it a small electric current, if it does not wholly consist of this current."
In 1896 J.J. Thomson performed experiments indicating that cathode rays really were particles, found an accurate value for their charge-to-mass ratio e/m, and found that e/m was independent of cathode material. He made good estimates of both the charge e and the mass m, finding that cathode ray particles, which he called "corpuscles", had perhaps one thousandth of the mass of the least massive ion known (hydrogen). He further showed that the negatively charged particles produced by radioactive materials, by heated materials, and by illuminated materials, were universal. The nature of the Crookes tube "cathode ray" matter was identified by Thomson in 1897.
In the late 1800s, the Michelson-Morley experiment was performed by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University. It is generally considered to be the evidence against the theory of a luminiferous aether. The experiment has also been referred to as "the kicking-off point for the theoretical aspects of the Second Scientific Revolution. Primarily for this work, Albert Michelson was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1907. Dayton Miller continued with experiments, conducting thousands of measurements and eventually developing the most accurate interferometer in the world at that time. Miller and others, such as Morley, continue observations and experiments dealing with the concepts.A range of proposed aether-dragging theories could explain the null result but these were more complex, and tended to use arbitrary-looking coefficients and physical assumptions.
By the end of the 19th century electrical engineers had become a distinct profession, separate from physicists and inventors. They created companies that investigated, developed and perfected the techniques of electricity transmission, and gained support from governments all over the world for starting the first worldwide electrical telecommunication network, the telegraph network. Pioneers in this field included Werner von Siemens, founder of Siemens AG in 1847, and John Pender, founder of Cable & Wireless.
The late 19th century produced such giants of electrical engineering as Nikola Tesla, inventor of the polyphase induction motor. The first public demonstration of a "alternator system" took place in 1886. Large two-phase alternating current generators were built by a British electrician, J.E.H. Gordon, in 1882. Lord Kelvin and Sebastian Ferranti also developed early alternators, producing frequencies between 100 and 300 hertz. In 1891, Nikola Tesla patented a practical "high-frequency" alternator (which operated around 15,000 hertz). After 1891, polyphase alternators were introduced to supply currents of multiple differing phases. Later alternators were designed for varying alternating-current frequencies between sixteen and about one hundred hertz, for use with arc lighting, incandescent lighting and electric motors.
The possibility of obtaining the electric current in large quantities, and economically, by means of dynamo electric machines gave impetus to the development of incandescent and arc lighting. Until these machines had attained a commercial basis voltaic batteries were the only available source of current for electric lighting and power. The cost of these batteries, however, and the difficulties of maintaining them in reliable operation were prohibitory of their use for practical lighting purposes. The date of the employment of arc and incandescent lamps may be set at about 1877.
Even in 1880, however, but little headway had been made toward the general use of these illuminants; the rapid subsequent growth of this industry is a matter of general knowledge. The employment of storage batteries, which were originally termed secondary batteries or accumulators, began about 1879. Such batteries are now utilized on a large scale as auxiliaries to the dynamo machine in electric power-houses and substations, in electric automobiles and in immense numbers in automobile ignition and starting systems, also in fire alarm telegraphy and other signal systems.
The World's Columbian International Exposition was held in a building which was devoted to electrical exhibits. General Electric Company (backed by Edison and J.P. Morgan) had proposed to power the electric exhibits with direct current at the cost of one million dollars. However, Westinghouse, armed with Tesla's alternating current system, proposed to illuminate the Columbian Exposition in Chicago for half that price, and Westinghouse won the bid. It was an historical moment and the beginning of a revolution, as Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse introduced the public to electrical power by illuminating the Exposition.
The AC motor helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution. The rapid advance of electrical technology in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries led to commercial rivalries. In the War of Currents in the late 1880s, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison became adversaries due to Edison's promotion of direct current (DC) for electric power distribution over alternating current (AC) advocated by Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Tesla's patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution systems.
Several inventors helped develop commercial systems. Samuel Morse, inventor of a long-range telegraph; Thomas Edison, inventor of the first commercial electrical energy distribution network; George Westinghouse, inventor of the electric locomotive; Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and founder of a successful telephone business.
In 1871 the electric telegraph had grown to large proportions and was in use in every civilized country in the world, its lines forming a network in all directions over the surface of the land. The system most generally in use was the electromagnetic telegraph due to S. F. B. Morse of New York, or modifications of his system. Submarine cables connecting the Eastern and Western hemispheres were also in successful operation at that time.
When, however, in 1918 one views the vast applications of electricity to electric light, electric railways, electric power and other purposes (all it may be repeated made possible and practicable by the perfection of the dynamo machine), it is difficult to believe that no longer ago than 1871 the author of a book published in that year, in referring to the state of the art of applied electricity at that time, could have truthfully written: "The most important and remarkable of the uses which have been made of electricity consists in its application to telegraph purposes". The statement was, however, quite accurate and perhaps the time could have been carried forward to the year 1876 without material modification of the remarks. In that year the telephone, due to Alexander Graham Bell, was invented, but it was not until several years thereafter that its commercial employment began in earnest. Since that time also the sister branches of electricity just mentioned have advanced and are advancing with such gigantic strides in every direction that it is difficult to place a limit upon their progress. For a more adequate account of the use of electricity in the arts and industries.
AC replaced DC for central station power generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and improving the safety and efficiency of power distribution. Edison's low-voltage distribution system using DC ultimately lost to AC devices proposed by others: primarily Tesla's polyphase systems, and also other contributors, such as Charles Proteus Steinmetz (in 1888, he was working in Pittsburgh for Westinghouse). The successful Niagara Falls system was a turning point in the acceptance of alternating current. Eventually, the General Electric company (formed by a merger between Edison's companies and the AC-based rival Thomson-Houston) began manufacture of AC machines. Centralized power generation became possible when it was recognized that alternating current electric power lines can transport electricity at low costs across great distances by taking advantage of the ability to change voltage across the distribution path using power transformers. The voltage is raised at the point of generation (a representative number is a generator voltage in the low kilovolt range) to a much higher voltage (tens of thousands to several hundred thousand volts) for primary transmission, followed to several downward transformations, to as low as that used in residential domestic use.
The International Electro-Technical Exhibition of 1891 featuring the long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electrical current. It was held between 16 May and 19 October on the disused site of the three former “Westbahnhöfe” (Western Railway Stations) in Frankfurt am Main. The exhibition featured the first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electrical current, which was generated 175 km away at Lauffen am Neckar. As a result of this successful field trial, three-phase current became established for electrical transmission networks throughout the world.
Much was done in the direction in the improvement of railroad terminal facilities, and it is difficult to find one steam railroad engineer who would have denied that all the important steam railroads of this country were not to be operated electrically. In other directions the progress of events as to the utilization of electric power was be expected to be equally rapid. In every part of the world the power of falling water, nature's perpetual motion machine, which has been going to waste since the world began, is now being converted into electricity and transmitted by wire hundreds of miles to points where it is usefully and economically employed.
The extensive utilization of falling water was not limited to natural water falls. In hundreds of places where a fall of 40 to 400 feet extends over 10 to 50 miles, and where in the aggregate hundreds of thousands of horse power, by suitable hydraulic methods, are available, the power was usefully employed, thereby in large measure conserving the limited quantity of the world's coal. It has for instance been proposed to dam Niagara River at the foot of the gorge whereby another source of water power equal to that at the present falls would be available. The Jchlun River in Kashmir, India, too, has a fall of 2,480 feet in 80 miles with a minimum flow of 30,000 gallons per second, and a beginning has been made to develop the 1,000,000 electric horse power here represented, я considerable portion of which it is proposed to utilize in the production of nitrate of lime for fertilizer purposes, by combining by means of powerful electric currents the limestone that abounds in this region with the nitrogen of the air, a combination which Danish engineers have shown to be commercially possible, and which inexhaustible product may in time be economically available to replenish the failing powers of the farm lands of America and other countries. The dreams of the electrical engineer was that the direct production of electricity from coal without the intervention of the steam engine with its wasteful methods was to be realized.
The first windmill for electricity production was built in Scotland in July 1887 by Prof James Blyth of Anderson's College, Glasgow (the precursor of Strathclyde University. Across the Atlantic, in Cleveland, Ohio a larger and heavily engineered machine was designed and constructed in 1887-1888 by Charles F. Brush, this was built by his engineering company at his home and operated from 1886 until 1900. The Brush wind turbine had a rotor 56 feet (17 m) in diameter and was mounted on a 60 foot (18 m) tower. Although large by today's standards, the machine was only rated at 12 kW; it turned relatively slowly since it had 144 blades. The connected dynamo was used either to charge a bank of batteries or to operate up to 100 incandescent light bulbs, three arc lamps, and various motors in Brush's laboratory. The machine fell into disuse after 1900 when electricity became available from Cleveland's central stations, and was abandoned in 1908.
Various units of electricity and magnetism have been adopted and named by representatives of the electrical engineering institutes of the world, which units and names have been confirmed and legalized by the governments of the United States and other countries. Thus the Volt, from the Italian Volta, has been adopted as the practical unit of electromotive force, the Ohm, from the enunciator of Ohm's law, as the practical unit of resistance; the Ampere, after the eminent French scientist of that name, as the practical unit of current strength, the Henry as the practical unit of inductance, after Joseph Henry and in recognition of his early and important experimental work in mutual induction.
Between 1900 and 1910, many scientists like Wilhelm Wien, Max Abraham, Hermann Minkowski, or Gustav Mie believed that all forces of nature are of electromagnetic origin (the so called "electromagnetic world view"). This was connected with the electron theory developed between 1892 and 1904 by Hendrik Lorentz. Lorentz introduced a strict separation between matter (electrons) and ether, whereby in his model the ether is completely motionless, and it won't be set in motion in the neighborhood of ponderable matter. Contrary to other electron models before, the electromagnetic field of the ether appears as a mediator between the electrons, and changes in this field can propagate not faster than the speed of light. Lorentz theoretically explained the Zeeman effect on the basis of his theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1902. A fundamental concept of Lorentz's theory in 1895 was the "theorem of corresponding states" for terms of order v/c. This theorem states that a moving observer (relative to the ether) in his "fictitious" field makes the same observations as a resting observers in his "real" field. This theorem was extended for terms of all orders by Lorentz in 1904. Lorentz noticed, that it was necessary to change the space-time variables when changing frames and introduced concepts like physical length contraction (1892) to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment, and the mathematical concept of local time (1895) to explain the aberration of light and the Fizeau experiment. That resulted in the formulation of the so called Lorentz transformation by Joseph Larmor (1897, 1900) and Lorentz (1899, 1904).
Continuing the work of Lorentz, Henri Poincaré between 1895 and 1905 formulated on many occasions the Principle of Relativity and tried to harmonize it with electrodynamics. He declared simultaneity only a convenient convention which depends on the speed of light, whereby the constancy of the speed of light would be a useful postulate for making the laws of nature as simple as possible. In 1900 he interpreted Lorentz's local time as the result of clock synchronization by light signals, and introduced the electromagnetic momentum by ascribing to electromagnetic energy the "fictitious" mass . And finally in June and July 1905 he declared the relativity principle a general law of nature, including gravitation. He corrected some mistakes of Lorentz and proved the Lorentz covariance of the electromagnetic equations. Poincaré also found out that there exist non-electrical forces to stabilize the electron configuration and asserted that gravitation is a non-electrical force as well. So the electromagnetic world view was shown by Poincaré to be invalid. However, he remained the notion of an ether and still distinguished between "apparent" and "real" time and therefore failed to invent what is now called special relativity.
In 1905, while he was working in the patent office, Albert Einstein had four papers published in the Annalen der Physik, the leading German physics journal. These are the papers that history has come to call the Annus Mirabilis Papers:
All four papers are today recognized as tremendous achievements—and hence 1905 is known as Einstein's "Wonderful Year". At the time, however, they were not noticed by most physicists as being important, and many of those who did notice them rejected them outright. Some of this work—such as the theory of light quanta—remained controversial for years.