6
$\begingroup$

There are references of Greeks discovering static electricity around 600 BC. Mediterranean's were also thought of having the understanding of rubbing amber rods to attract light objects like feather.

My question is when was it first used productively for the first time, after having understood it's properties ?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "After having understood its properties"? It took more than 2000 years to understand its properties, and it was of course used before its properties were fully understood. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Nov 14 '14 at 3:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Would "lightning rods" be considered an use of electricity? $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Nov 14 '14 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @SJuan76 The use of "Lightning Rods" is just to allow the electricity to pass by to ground. To avoid(protect from) the damage to the structure/object to which it is attached. I don't see it as a productive use. Because we are not using the electric energy for anything productive. Rather we are letting it pass by. $\endgroup$ – Amit Tyagi Nov 14 '14 at 17:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And on my opinion, it is more "productive" than all other uses: it saves lives and property. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Nov 14 '14 at 18:11
1
$\begingroup$

I do not know of any practical use of static electricity except for many funny demonstration experiments which were popular in 18-th century. Only after the invention of a battery (by A. Volta, around 1800) serious applications became possible, and the earliest that comes to my mind is telegraph. Wikipedia mentions 1809 as the date of the earliest experiments with electric telegraphy. So I guess that telegraph was the first practical application of electricity.

EDIT. I agree with SJuan that lighting rods was the first use. I would say, important use, because it saves lives and property.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree that it saves lives. But, as a device what output are we getting after consuming the electric energy ? That's why i have mentioned the word "productive" in my question. $\endgroup$ – Amit Tyagi Nov 14 '14 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ I would also like to add some information regarding the invention of battery. Though a bit controversial, the "Baghdad Battery" or "Parthian Battery" (refer en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad_Battery ) found in Baghdad(Iraq) are said to be dated roughly 250 BC to AD 250. $\endgroup$ – Amit Tyagi Nov 14 '14 at 18:29
0
$\begingroup$

Arguably, the "founding father" of electricity (as well as of the United States), was Benjamin Franklin.

He was the first to discuss positive and negative "electricity," (charges), as well as the electric charge conservation law analogous to Newton's conservation laws of mass and energy. These represented "keystones" in the foundation of understanding electricity, and eventually led to productive uses.

Franklin "proved" his ideas through his well-known experiment flying a kite in lightening.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ This answer just repeats the comment of SJuan76. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Nov 14 '14 at 18:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TomAu I meant something besides Wikipedia. I'e heard the exact things you've said, and I have no doubt that they're accurate, but the community seems to be trying to move away from using just Wikipedia as a source. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 14 '14 at 18:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have never found evidence that this "well-known" experiment of flying a kite ever happened. Do you have any? $\endgroup$ – Mark Fantini Nov 15 '14 at 18:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MarkFantini I'll do you one better: I've never heard of this experiment! Tom, would you care to expand your answer? $\endgroup$ – Danu Nov 18 '14 at 21:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MarkFantini - Here's some. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 18 '14 at 22:14
0
$\begingroup$

Long before people had knowledge about electric shock from electric ray(2750 B.C.).

Ancient cultures around the Mediterranean knew that certain objects, such as rods of amber, could be rubbed with cat's fur to attract light objects like feathers. Thales of Miletus made a series of observations on static electricity around 600 BC, from which he believed that friction rendered amber magnetic, in contrast to minerals such as magnetite, which needed no rubbing.Thales was incorrect in believing the attraction was due to a magnetic effect, but later science would prove a link between magnetism and electricity.

Electricity would remain little more than an intellectual curiosity for millennia until 1600, when the English scientist William Gilbert made a careful study of electricity and magnetism, distinguishing the lodestone effect from static electricity produced by rubbing amber. He coined the New Latin word electricus ("of amber" or "like amber", from ἤλεκτρον, elektron, the Greek word for "amber") to refer to the property of attracting small objects after being rubbed. This association gave rise to the English words "electric" and "electricity", which made their first appearance in print in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1646.

Source: Wikipedia

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Your answer explain the history of how the facts associated with electricity were understood and established. It doesn't answers the actual question "first productive usage of electricity". $\endgroup$ – Amit Tyagi Nov 17 '14 at 19:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.