Electricity Timeline

  • Benjamin Franklin

    Benjamin Franklin
    After his many experiments on electricity, he began to think about how buildings and other structures could be protected from lightning. That is how he thought of the lightning rod. He first created an iron rod about 8 to 10 feet long with a pointed tip. The tall rod attracts the electricity, preventing the lightning from striking the building that it is attached to. The electricity travels down to the ground through a copper wire instead of going through the building, causing electrocution.
  • Benjamin Franklin

    Benjamin Franklin
    Benjamin Franklin proved that there was only one type of electricity but it could be positively or negatively charged and that lightning was a for of electricity. To prove to the public that his theory was true, he conducted a dangerous but famous experiment of flying a kite in a thunderstorm. When the kite was hit by lightning, the electricity travelled down the kite string and sparked a metal key which he attached to the end of the string. This led to the invention of the lightning rod.
  • Luigi Galvani

    Luigi Galvani
    Biologist Luigi Galvani conducted experiments during the 1980's at the University of Bologna. While he was cutting a frog leg, his steel scalpel touched the brass hook that was holding the leg. The leg twitched. After some further experiments, Galvani thought that he was seeing the effects of what was called animal electricity.
  • Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta

    Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
    Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta proved Luigi Galvani's theory of animal electricity wrong. He concluded that when moisture came between two metals, electricity was created. He said that the frog leg did not have electricity but the twitching was a result of electricity passing through from the hook and the steel scalpel. The frog leg was a conductor. Based on this, he created the voltaic pile.
  • Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta

    Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
    Count Volta was best known for creating the first "wet cell battery" that could produce a steady, reliable current of electricity called the voltaic pile. It was made with alternating discs of zinc and copper with cardboard soaked in brine in between the metal stacked in a pile. When wires were connected on the ends, electricity flowed through.
  • Hans Christian Oersted

    Hans Christian Oersted
    Hans Christian Oersted was a physicist/chemist who made a discovery with elecctromagnetism. Up to 1820, the only type of magnetism known was that from lodestone and iron magnets. During one of his lectures, he demonstrated an experiment to his students. He was surprised when the compass needle moved every time the electrical current was turned on, proving that magnetism and electricity had a direct relationship. What he had discovered was electromagnetism. They are used today in electromagnets.
  • Andre-Marie Ampere

    Andre-Marie Ampere
    Ampere was known as the founder of electromagnetism. Influenced by Oersteds discovery, he conducted a series of experiments in September and October of 1820 to learn more about the relationship between electricity and magnetism. His experiments led to the creation of Ampere's Law. He was also the first person to develop a way to measure the flow of electricity with a device called the galvanometer, made with a compass. A unit of electrical current was named after him: the ampere.
  • Georg Ohm

    Georg Ohm
    The Ohm's Law was discovered by German physicist Georg Ohm in 1827 through his experiments. Ohm's Law defines the mathematical links between (P) power, (E) voltage, (I) current, and (R) resistance. One ohm is the resistance value when one volt will keep a current of one ampere. His law is a cornerstone in electrical circuit design today.
  • Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans

    Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans
    Even though Thomas Edison is often credited for the invention of the the incandescent light bulb, it was actually first invented by two Canadians; Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Thomas Edison bought the patent of the bulb in 1785, making the light bulb American. Woodward and Evans built the first lamp with a shaped rod of carbon held between electrodes in an glass bulb filled with nitrogen.
  • Alexander Graham Bell

    Alexander Graham Bell
    Alexander Graham Bell (born March 3, 1847 - died August 2, 1922) was most famous for his invention of the telephone in the summer of 1876. To create his device, he used common materials such as a thin sheet of metal, a coil of wire wrapped around a magnet and a battery. The device could convert sound into electricity and back into sound when it got to the other person. The device was first used between Bell and his partner Watson. Today, this invention makes communication a lot easier.
  • Nikola Tesla

    Nikola Tesla
    One of Tesla's most well-known invention is the tesla coil, invented around 1891. It is a high frequency air-core transformer, meaning it can take a normal 120v AC current and raise it to an extremely high voltage. Voltages can go up to well over 1 000 000 volts. Tesla coils also generate large electrical fields. They were used as radio transmitters and wireless telegraphy until about 1920. Nowadays, they are used as ignitors for street lights.
  • Edward Samuel Rogers Sr.

    Edward Samuel Rogers Sr.
    Before 1924, radios ran on batteries, making them unreliable and prone to acid leaks, constant recharging and noisy operation. In 1924, Edward Rogers Sr, invented the first successful alternating current (AC) radio tube which he made a radio for. His radios could produce a much clearer sound than previous radios. His breakthrough is often compared to Henry Ford's "horseless carriages".
  • Donald Lewes Hings

    Donald Lewes Hings
    The walkie-talkie is inventor Donald L. Hings' best-known invention. The first successful walkie-talkie built by Hings was called two-way field radios. His walkie-talkies were ignored until about 1939 when World War II broke out and became valuable war technology and messages could be tranferred over fairly short distances very quickly. Variants of the original were made to support the war effort and were mass produced.
  • Anik A1 Geostationary Communications Satellite

    Anik A1 Geostationary Communications Satellite
    Telesat Canada launched the Anik A1 geostationary communications satellite on November 9, 1972, making Canada the first country to have a satellite for domestic (non-military) uses in orbit. With the satellite, Canadians were brought closer together with improved television and radio broadcasting. It was also easier to communicate with the people of the north. "Anik" means "little brother" in Inuit.