The History of Electricity

Look around your house. Pretty much everything that you own and use operates on electricity. But did you ever wonder how we discovered electricity?

Did you know that lightning is a form of electricity?

Back in 1752, there was a man named Benjamin Franklin who was curious about lightning and did an experiment to prove that it was electrical. He went out into a thunderstorm and tied a metal key to the bottom of a kite and, as he suspected it would, electricity from the storm clouds flowed down the string, which was wet, and he received an electrical shock. This experiment was very dangerous, and he was lucky that all he received was a shock, but this turned out to be one of the most important experiments of all time.

Note: Never fly a kite in a storm - this is a very dangerous activity.

Throughout the next hundred years, many inventors and scientists tried to find a way to use electrical power to make light. In 1879, the American inventor Thomas Edison was finally able to produce a reliable, long-lasting electric light-bulb in his laboratory.

By the end of the 1880s, small electrical stations based on Edison's designs were in a number of cities, but each station was able to power only a few city blocks.

By 1930, the majority of people living in larger towns and cities had electricity, but only 10 percent of Americans who lived on farms and in rural areas had electric power.

In 1935, the Rural Electric Administration was created to bring electricity to rural areas.

By 1939, the percentage of rural homes with electricity had risen to 25%.

Today, nearly everyone is fortunate enough to have electric power at home, school, and at work. In order to maintain this constant and reliable resource, it is important that we use it wisely every day.