Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 19, 2010

It's electric

January 19, 1883: Thomas Alva Edison begins service at Roselle, New Jersey. He had the first electric lighting system employing overhead wires. We take our modern lifestyle with myriad electrical gadgets for granted. But not so long ago, there was no home powered with this energy source.

In about 600 BC, Thales of Miletus described static electricity. The “Baghdad Battery” dating from 250 BC resembled a galvanic cell and may have been used for electroplating. In 1660 Otto von Guericke invented an early electrostatic generator. In 1729, Stephen Gray classified materials as conductors or insulators.

Benjamin Franklin experimented with electricity in the 1740s, sparking follow up studies by Michael Faraday, Luigi Galvani, Alessandro Volta, Andre-Marie Ampere, and Georg Simon Ohm – most of which have names that we use today in electrical studies.

Then next century saw electrical studies continue by Nikola Tesla [induction motor], Samuel Morse [telegraph], Antonio Meucci [telephone], Thomas Edison [1st commercial electric energy distribution network], George Westinghouse [electric locomotive], Charles Steinmetz [theoretician of AC], and Alexander Graham Bell [telephone].

Our mechanized and technological society relies heavily on the transmission of an electrical charge from a power station to our homes and businesses. The culmination of centuries of wonder, is our electric-based society made possible by the painstaking research by these and many other great men. Electrical power to houses has been in use for barely one-and-a-quarter centuries and we are so dependant on it today that when the power goes out, it is an emergency.

“Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide.” – Mark Twain

“When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.” – George Carlin

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Thomas Alva Edison

“Why, sir, there is every possibility that you will soon be able to tax it!” – Michael Faraday  (to PM William Gladstone, on the usefulness of electricity)

Also on this day, in 1983 the Apple LISA computer was announced.

One Response

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  1. Not Commando « Little Bits of History said, on January 19, 2011 at 6:10 am

    […] on this day: Electrifying – In 1883, Roselle, New Jersey became the first electrified community. LISA – In 1983, the […]

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