Have you ever lived through a power cut late at night? If you have you’ll know just how much it affects our everyday lives. We can no longer go out onto the street in the light or even light our own homes.
Our entertainment is limited by the lack of internet and television and we’d struggle to cook for ourselves or even order in food using an app.
It’s easy to wonder how people lived without electricity or when was electricity first used in homes.
The discovery of electricity was a long time coming. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about electricity.
In Ancient Times
The concept of electricity and our awareness of it dates back over two thousand years to 500BC. Thales of Miletus rubbed fur on amber, creating static electricity. This technically who discovered electricity.
The links between these experiments and the ability to produce a power source, however, were not joined up until the seventeenth century. As the philosophical, political and intellectual revolution proceeded in earnest across Europe, William Gilbert published De Magnete which theorized about a power source conducted through lightening or other high voltage electricity.
Later in the century, Robert William Boyle published Experiments and Notes about the Mechanical Origin or Production of Electricity. He was one of the leading lights of the seventeenth century.
18th and 19th Century
In the 18th century, everything started to heat up, literally! Francis Hauksbee created a famous glass ball that lit up with a spark when he rubbed it with a fiber cloth. This was an extension of the experiment that Thales of Miletus stumbled upon 1,000 years previously.
In the 19th Century, Thomas Edison took these experiments one step further to create a D.C – Direct Current system that enabled electricity to be channeled for the first time. This is who discovered electricity.
In 1882, a Wisconsin home became the first home to run on electricity, albeit it hydroelectricity.
Edison had a student named Nikola Tesla who argued that alternating current (AC) was a better system because the voltage could be alternated, allowing it to be used in homes safely.
The argument about AC vs DC would become personal between Edison and Tesla and would play out for years until Telsa’s AC was eventually adopted.
It was in the 20th century that electricity really transformed our lives as we learned how to do more complex things with electricity such as transforming kw to kj.
By the 1950s most houses across the Western world had access to an electricity supply for their own personal use.
When Was Electricity First Used in Homes? 1882 Was a Key year
It’s hard to say exactly when was electricity first used in homes as it depends on how you constitute what was electricity? If you include hydroelectricity then the general consensus was that it was 1882.
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