Energy Through The Years

  • Jun 29, 600

    Electricity Event - 600 BC

    Electricity Event - 600 BC
    Thales, a Greek, found that when amber was rubbed with silk, it became electrically charged and attracted objects. He had originally discovered static electricity.
  • Jun 29, 600

    Hydropower Event - BC

    Hydropower Event - BC
    Hydropower was used by the Greeks to turn water wheels for grinding grains more than 2,000 years ago.
  • Period: Jun 29, 600 to

    Through The Years

  • Coal Event - 1673-1674

    Coal Event - 1673-1674
    The first record of coal in the United States was shown on a map prepared by Louis Joliet. The map notes charbon de terra (coal of the earth) along the Illinois River in northern Illinois.
  • Coal Event - 1748

    Coal Event - 1748
    The first commercial U.S. coal production began near Richmond, Virginia.
  • Electricity Event - 1835

    Electricity Event - 1835
    Joseph Henry (United States) invented the electrical relay, which could send electrical currents long distances.
  • Solar Thermal Event - 1860

    Solar Thermal Event - 1860
    Auguste Mouchout (France), a mathematics instructor, was able to convert solar radiation directly into mechanical power.
  • Solar Thermal Event - 1878

    Solar Thermal Event - 1878
    William Adams (England) constructed a reflector of flat-silvered mirrors arranged in a semicircle. To track the sun's movement, the entire rack was rolled around a semicircular track, projecting the concentrated radiation onto a stationary boiler.
  • Hydropower Event - 1880-95

    Hydropower Event - 1880-95
    Hydropower was beginning to be used for electricity. The first hydroelectric plants were direct current (DC) stations used to power nearby arc and incandescent lighting.
  • Nuclear Event - 1895

    Nuclear Event - 1895
    Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, discovered X-rays.
  • Nuclear Event - 1901

    Nuclear Event - 1901
    Rutherford and Soddy published the theory of radioactive decay.
  • Geothermal Event - 1904

    Geothermal Event - 1904
    The first dry steam geothermal power plant was built in Larderello in Tuscany, Italy. The Larderello plant today provides power to about 1 million households.
  • Photovoltaic Event - 1904

    Photovoltaic Event - 1904
    Wilhelm Hallwachs (German) discovered that a combination of copper and cuprous oxide was sensitive to light.
  • Solar Thermal Event - 1921

    Solar Thermal Event - 1921
    Albert Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his theories that explained the photoelectric effect.
  • Nuclear Event - 1938

    Nuclear Event - 1938
    The process of splitting uranium atoms, called nuclear fission, was demonstrated by scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman (Germany).
  • Hydropower Event - 1949

    Hydropower Event - 1949
    Almost one-third of the Nation's electricity came from hydropower.
  • Coal Event - 1973-74

    Coal Event - 1973-74
    The OPEC oil embargo focused attention on the energy crisis and resulted in an increase in demand for U.S. coal.
  • Geothermal Event - 1984

    Geothermal Event - 1984
    Utah’s first commercial geothermal power plant began operating at Roosevelt Hot Springs with a 20 megawatt capacity.Nevada’s first geothermal binary power production plant began operating at Wabuska Hot Springs.
  • Coal Event - 1986

    Coal Event - 1986
    The Clean Coal Technology Act passed.
  • Coal Event - 1990

    Coal Event - 1990
    United States coal production topped 1 billion tons a year.
  • Electricity Event - 2004

    Electricity Event - 2004
    With the full color range of the high-power LEDs, more advanced architectural designs and stage and studio lighting were developed. Colored LEDs reduce power consumption.