The Greeks first discovered electricity about 3000
years ago. Its name came from the word "elektron",
which means amber . Amber is the yellow,
rock you find in tree sap. The Greeks found that
if they rubbed amber against wool, lightweight
objects (such as straw or feathers) would stick to
it. This form of electricity is known as "static"
Benjamin Franklin started working
with electricity in the 1740s. He performed a lot
of different experiments to try to understand more
about it. Mr Franklin believed that lightning was
like water (ie. a fluid). To test this, he tied a
metal key to a kite and flew the kite during a
thunderstorm. When the key became charged with
electricity he had proof that lightning flowed
like water. Mr Franklin's experiments led to his
invention of the lightning rod. We still use many
of the words he help develop to describe
electricity today: charge, discharge, conductor,
electrician and electric shock.
English scientist Michael Faraday discovered how
to make an electrical current. He found that when
a magnet spins inside a coil of copper wire, a
tiny electrical current flows through the wire,
creating an electrical charge. This is the
principal of how electricity is made today, but to
make the copper wire spin to produce enough
electricity for us to use each day, we need to
force this to happen.
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