Electricity today is taken for granted in many developed nations. While a few countries still do not have reliable electricity, many do. In this fascinating article we’ll look at how we went from the dark ages of candles and reliance on the sun for light to innovative technologies that allow us to power electronics, tools and even automobiles, trucks and planes with batteries and solar power and what tomorrow will bring.
In the dark ages, people were very reliant on candles and torches for light. These items used either animal fat or beeswax as fuel. While they provided some light, they were not very efficient and produced a lot of smoke and heat. In addition, these forms of lighting could only be used in small areas and posed dangers due to fire risk and smoke inhalation.
Discovery of electricity
The discovery of electricity was a monumental moment in human history. Lightning had been observed for thousands of years, and it is likely that ancient Egyptians and Greeks were aware that electrified fish could deliver shocks. Around 600 BC the Greek philosopher Thales discovered static electricity by rubbing amber with fur, which caused an electric charge to appear on the surface of the amber. After this discovery, many other philosophers and scientists experimented with electricity using various materials. In 1600 English scientist William Gilbert coined the word “electricity,” which is derived from the Greek word for amber (electron).
In 1752 Ben Franklin discovered that lightning was a form of electricity, proving his theory by flying a kite during a thunderstorm. This experiment showed that the electricity in lightning was capable of illuminating a light bulb and moving an electric motor, which Franklin demonstrated using a toy model.
In 1800 Alessandro Volta invented the first battery (the voltaic pile). The battery provided a continuous flow of electricity for the first time, and it could be used to experiment with the flow of electricity.
In 1831 Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, which describes the relationship between electricity and magnetism and explains how electric motors work.
After this discovery, scientists began to develop theories about electrical energy as a form of motion or vibration. However, more discoveries had to be made before they could figure out how to harness this energy for practical use.
Electricity at home, work, and everywhere!
In 1879 Thomas Edison developed the light bulb, which could be powered by electricity. This invention meant that people no longer had to rely on candles or gas lamps for light, and homes could be lit using electric lights.
Edison also invented the first electric power station in 1882. This was an important invention because it demonstrated that electricity could be used to distribute power from a central location, making it possible for people to get electricity from their local utility company instead of having to generate it on their own.
One of the other most famous inventors in this era was Nikola Tesla. He developed Alternating Current (AC) which could be transmitted over long distances and then used to power machines. This was a major advancement over Edison’s Direct Current (DC) system, which could only be transmitted over short distances and many stories and documentaries have been written about both with Nikola Tesla just recently receiving renewed recognition for his contributions.
In the next few decades, many electric appliances were invented, including irons and toasters. Electric ovens and refrigerators soon followed, making it possible for people to have all of the appliances they needed in their homes without having to use any other form of energy to power them, but also making food last longer, improving hygiene and health.
It has been used to develop and power machines that have changed the world in how we travel from place to place, how we manufacture goods, and what entertainment options are available. In fact electricity paved the way for the development of the modern world.
Electricity at work
The use of electricity in the workplace was also pioneered by Thomas Edison. In 1876 he installed the first electric power plant at a gold mine in California. This invention improved the quality of life for many miners by providing them with light and heat, and it also made their jobs easier because they didn’t have to spend as much time digging underground looking for gold.
Electricity was soon used in factories around the world, allowing workers to use electric motors instead of manual labor to power electrical machines and tools. This was a major step forward in the industrial revolution, as it allowed factories to become much more productive and efficient.
These technologies are still in use today, but have been refined to the point where we can produce electricity from a variety of sources including hydro, nuclear, wind and solar power, as well as traditional fossil fuel sources such as coal or natural gas. These advancements allow us to have more reliable electric grids and provide cleaner energy for society.
Electricians at a trade and well paying in demand job
The dawn of electricity created many jobs over the centuries and paved the way for the role of an electrician. New buildings require electricity to be wired, circuit breakers to be installed, outlets to be installed and so forth. With all the new work came the demand for electrician tools to help professionals do their jobs – this is turn started industries providing tools. Existing buildings need to be renovated and refurbished and wiring needs to be updated every few decades.
21st century electricity production and the shift towards renewable energy
In the 21st century, most of our electricity is still produced using fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. However, there are now many other sources of energy that can be used to produce electricity, including wind, solar and hydro power.
Renewable energy is becoming more and more important as we strive to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and it is likely that in the future most of our electricity will be produced from renewables.
The future is bright for electricity, as technologies such as Nuclear Fusion are being developed to make it even more reliable and efficient. One of the most interesting areas of research relates to batteries and how they can be used in cars or other vehicles to provide power without having an electric grid.
Elon Musk and have company Tesla have been leaders in this area – producing all electric cars and high quality batteries. Another exciting area relates to the possibility of fusion power, which could provide a virtually unlimited supply of electricity for mankind.
The dark ages are over and now we can live in the light. Electricity is part of our daily lives and will continue to be so in the future. Hopefully this article has provided you with some interesting information about how electricity changed the world and what tomorrow may bring.
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