The history of electricity

Many great scientists contributed to the discovery of electricity. The Greeks discovered that, when amber was rubbed with cloth, it attracted dust and other light materials.

Benjamin Franklin experimented with lightning to prove his theory that a spark from amber was the same as lightning.

Then, in the late 1800s, two Italian scientists, Galvani and Volta, made discoveries about electricity that led Volta to invent the first battery.

But it is the British scientist Michael Faraday who is credited with working out how to generate an electric current. In 1831, he found that when a magnet was moved inside a coil of wire an electric current was produced. The movement of the magnet caused the electrons in the wire to move. The huge generators in modern power stations work on the same principle.

Faraday's discoveries led to a boom in invention and, in 1879, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Edison invented many other things, including the phonograph, electric typewriter and dictating machine. One of his most visionary ideas was that of generating electricity from a central power plant and distributing it to customers.