is some information on the book, Electrical History
by Tom Henry. This book was written in appreciation of the
more than 15 million men and women that work in the electrical industry
to keep the lights burning every second, every minute, 24 hours a day,
Did Edison invent the light
bulb, Marconi the radio, Bell
the telephone, Morse the telegraph? The answers are
no. They didn't invent the wheel.
They were instrumental in making it better and, in some cases,
obtaining the patent.
Electrical history goes back before Christ and brings us to the
computer age. Along this journey you will discover it took several
people, along the way, to make the light bulb glow.
The journey won't end with this book, as we are constantly discovering
new inventions that will someday even take us to the stars.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
kite experiment demonstrated that lightning is electricity. He was the
first to use the terms positive and negative charge.
was one of seventeen children. He quit school at age ten to become a
printer. His life is the classic story of a self-made man achieving
wealth and fame through determination and intelligence.
(1736-1819) was born in Scotland. Although he conducted
no electrical experiments, he must not be overlooked. He was an
instrument maker by trade and set up a repair shop in Glasgow in 1757.
Watt thought that the steam engine would replace animal power, where
the number of horses replaced seemed an obvious way to measure the
charge for performance. Interestingly, Watt measured the rate of work
exerted by a horse drawing rubbish up an old mine shaft and found it
amounted to about 22,000 ft-lbs per minute. He added a margin of 50%
arriving at 33,000 ft-lbs.
Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) was best known in his invention
of a new temperature scale based on the concept of an absolute zero of
temperature at -273°C (-460°F). To the end of his life, Thomson
maintained fierce opposition to the idea that energy emitted by
radioactivity came from within the atom. One of the greatest scientific
discoveries of the 19th century, Thomson died opposing one of the most
vital innovations in the history of science.
Thomas Seebeck (1770-1831) a German
physicist was the discoverer of the "Seebeck effect".
twisted two wires made of different metals and heated a junction where
the two wires met. He produced a small current. The current is the
result of a flow of heat from the hot to the cold junction. This is
called thermoelectricity. Thermo is a Greek word meaning heat.
Faraday (1791-1867) an Englishman, made one of the
most significant discoveries in the history of electricity:
Electromagnetic induction. His pioneering work dealt with how electric
currents work. Many inventions would come from his experiments, but
they would come fifty to one hundred years later.
never discouraged Faraday. He would say; "the failures are just as
important as the successes." He felt failures also teach. The farad,
the unit of capacitance is named in the honor of Michael Faraday.
James Maxwell (1831-1879) a
Scottish mathematician translated Faraday's theories into mathematical
expressions. Maxwell was one of the finest mathematicians in history. A
maxwell is the electromagnetic unit of magnetic flux, named in his
Today he is widely regarded as secondary only to Isaac Newton and
Albert Einstein in the world of science.
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was
one of the most well known inventors of all time with 1093 patents.
Self-educated, Edison was interested in chemistry and
electronics.During the whole of his life, Edison received only three
months of formal schooling, and was dismissed from school as being
retarded, though in fact a childhood attack of scarlet fever had left
him partially deaf.
was born of Serbian parents July 10, 1856 and died a broke and lonely
man in New York City January 7, 1943. He envisioned a world without
poles and power lines. Referred to as the greatest inventive genius of
all time. Tesla's system triumphed to make possible the first
large-scale harnessing of Niagara Falls with the first hydroelectric
plant in the United States in 1886.
October 1893 George Westinghouse (1846-1914)was
awarded the contract to build the first generators at Niagara Falls. He
used his money to buy up patents in the electric field. One of the
inventions he bought was the transformer from William Stanley.
Westinghouse invented the air brake system to stop trains, the first of
more than one hundred patents he would receive in this area alone. He
soon founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company in 1869.
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
born in Scotland, was raised in a family that was interested and
involved in the science of sound. Bell's father and grandfather both
taught speech to the deaf. A unit of sound level is called a bel in his
honor. Sound levels are measured in tenths of a bel, or decibels. The
abbreviation for decibel is dB.
Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) a German
physicist, laid the ground work for the vacuum tube. He laid the
foundation for the future development of radio, telephone, telegraph,
and even television. He was one of the first people to demonstrate the
existence of electric waves. Hertz was convinced that there were
electromagnetic waves in space.
Otto Hahn (1879-1968), a
German chemist and physicist, made the vital discovery which led to the
first nuclear reactor. He uncovered the process of nuclear fission by
which nuclei of atoms of heavy elements can break into smaller nuclei,
in the process releasing large quantities of energy. Hahn was awarded
the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1944.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Einstein's
formula proved that one gram of mass can be converted into a torrential
amount of energy. To do this, the activity of the atoms has to occur in
the nucleus. E = energy, M = mass, and C = the speed of light which is
186,000 miles per second. When you square 186,000 you can see it would
only take a small amount of mass to produce a huge amount of energy.
more in the Electrical
History book by Tom Henry.