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The History of Electricity


The history of electricity goes back to a number of different discoveries and inventions from various scientists throughout the years.

Electricity is the set of physical phenomena related to the presence of electric charge. Although it was initially considered a phenomenon separate from magnetism, since the development of Maxwell's equations, both are identified as part of a single phenomenon: electromagnetism. There are different common phenomena are associated with electricity, inclusive of lightning, static electricity, and many others. Further, electricity is on the backbone of many modern technologies.

In 1600, an English physician named William Gilbert made a cautious look at energy and magnetism, coining the phrase electricus, this gives rise to the English words electric and electricity, which made their first appearance in print in mid 1600s. Later on, in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin conducted significant research on electricity, which included a risky experiment in which he connected a metallic key to the lowest part of a kite string and flew the kite in a thunderstorm, proving the electric nature of lighting. Around the same time, an Italian physicist Conte Alessandro Volta detected that electricity may be generated whilst moisture comes between two different metals. This discovery was the reason for the invention of the world's first electric powered battery. Conte Alessandro Volta also showed how electricity could be transferred through wire. An Englishman named Michael Faraday made the technology of power a practical opportunity. In 1831, Michael Faraday invented the world's first generator (or dynamo) by means of passing copper coils through a magnetic field. A few years later, in 1879 Thomas Edison was able to produce a reliable, long lasting electrical light bulb and since then our world is shining.

Many countries soon began taking advantage of producing power around this time, specifically Europe, United Kingdom, United States if America, Australia and New Zealand. It became beyond the experimental level, power and energy stations were being built to deliver domestic and commercial consumers, with an abundance of energy.

The first power generating station in the world that served private consumers was the Holborn Viaduct in London, which commenced production in 1882, supplying about 60 kilowatts of electricity. Also in 1882, Brighton in England had its first public supply and in that same year, Crystal Palace, had its first demonstration of electrical light. The Pearl Street Central Power Station in New York City was recorded as the first power station in the United States of America in 1882.

One of the first transmission lines was between Miesbach to Munich in Germany in the year 1882. In New Zealand, the town called Reefton, on the west side of South Island, was the first to have energy in 1887. Wellington, on the North Island was the second town in New Zealand to have its power supply in the year 1888.

Australia was not on the back foot when it came to the usage of electricity and it was recorded that Brisbane was one of the first cities in Australia to use energy commercially, in 1882, making it a crucial event in the Australian records.