Writers who only tell part of the story as they attempt to elevate an individual or country have confused the history of electricity. This book attempts to locate the individuals and situations that allowed the science and production of electricity to reach the present state. Edison received too much of the credit. In recent years the Internet, television, and books credited Tesla with the invention of alternating current. Tesla was an interesting character but for sure he did not invent alternating current.
One of the problems in understanding electricity is word. Webster defines it as: "The class of physical phenomena arising from the existence and interactions of electrical charge." There are many forms of electricity and the term should be used as a branch of physics with many sub titles.
The use of useful electricity as we know it started when Pieter van Musschenbrock of Leyden, Holland in 1745 constructed the Leyden jar. A partly filled water jar with a nail projecting from its cork could was used to store an electric charge. Sparks from static electricity machines had been produced for a long time.
This discovery led to the modern capacitor. A capacitor is simply two conducting surfaces separated by an insulator. These surfaces can store potential electrical energy. The amount of energy they can store is a function of the size, frequency, and voltage applied. This device became a key component for the induction melting systems Northrup would develop and patent in 1916.
Benjamin Franklin and his two close friends, Peter Collinson and Philip Syng, took great interests in the science of electricity and began their studies. In 1749 Franklin's group was credited with making another electrical capacitor they called a battery. His publications about electricity and other items of science led the thinkers of the world to understand that nature obeys rules. The popular press steered man away from superstition and opened a study of the true character of natural forces. He was the first to put into print for the masses the idea that electricity was like water flowing through pipes.
It was Franklin's experiments with lightning that made him famous. You are familiar with the story of how he attached a key to a kite and went out into a storm in order to prove that lightning and electricity were of the same natural force.
Italian anatomist Luigi Galvani received the credit for introducing the modern study of electricity. When scalpels touched the muscle it caused the legs of the frog to move. Galvani was convinced that the muscles or nerves were the source of the electricity. Volta felt it was in the metals and became interested in this amazing phenomenon. The investigations that followed became the source of one of the greatest scientific rivalries of the time. In the end there was truth on both sides but Volta's ideas would prevail. Galvani died in 1798 and never knew the outcome of the debate.
All the records concur that electricity as we use it today had its beginning with:
On the 20th of March 1800 a professor of science in Pavia, Italy, Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Volta announced in that two different metals in a conducting solution produced electricity. In a letter, with a drawing attached, to the Royal Society in London he described his "pile" as "a crown of cups" ("colonne" and "couronne de tasses" in French).
"I have the pleasure of sending you some striking results at which I have arrived in pursuing my experiments on the electricity produced by the simple mutual contact of different metals. É The chief result is the construction of apparatus having the properties (such as ability to give shocks) of Leyden jars which operate continuously, or whose charge is restored automatically after each discharge.
The apparatus of which I speak, and which doubtless will astonish you, is nothing but the assembly of a number of good conductors of different kinds, arranged in a certain manner, 30, 40, 60 pieces, or more, of copper or silver, each placed next to a piece of tin or, better, zinc, and an equal number of layers of water, or some other conducting liquid such as salt water, or pieces of leather or card soaked in these liquids, are placed between each pair of different metals. É Behold, this is all that makes up my novel instrument, which imitates, as I have said, the effects of a Leyden jar."
For the first time there was a steady source of useful electrical current at low voltage.
You can find a complete story of Volta at: http://chem.ch.huji.ac.il/~eugeniik/history/volta.htm
Nicholson and Carlisle read Volta's experiments before they were presented at the Royal Society. They constructed a pile and were able to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen. They were also the first to observe that "voltaic" battery current would decompose metal.
William Cruickshank used copper and zinc plates soldered together in pairs and then sealed with wax in a wooden box to produce the batteries for the market. Today it would be hard to imagine the world without a cell to produce an electric current. We take flashlight and automobile batteries for granted until they are discharged.
Many thought that electrical currents could be used to bring life to the recent dead. Several experiments were carried out using executed criminals Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, used this idea.
The canal proposed by Robert Fulton connecting the Hudson River to Lake Erie was under construction. The Niagara Canal Company had been incorporated to build a canal between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The state of North Carolina gave land from the Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi to the federal government. The young country was looking north, south, and west for expansion.
The map of Poland extended down to the Ukraine. The Ottoman Empire controlled large parts of Eastern Europe. The French, British, Spanish and Portuguese were looking for new colonies.
With the decline of Ottoman rule, absentee landlords owned Israel. The forests of Galilee and the Carmel mountain range were turned into stumps. British, French and American scholars launched studies of biblical archaeology. Britain, France, Russia, Austria and the United States opened consulates in Jerusalem. The Suez Canal was under construction.
Twelve metals were in common use in 1800. They were Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Iron, Tin, Platinum, Antimony, Bismuth, Zinc, and Arsenic.
In 1801 Sir Humphry Davy was selected as the laboratory professor of the Royal Institution in London. Using a battery he began a serious examination of the chemical effects of electricity. He found that electrical forces could generate current only when the fluid in the battery was capable of oxidizing the metal. He observed that the intensity of this reaction was directly related to the reactivity of the corrosive fluid with the metal. He was the first to record that the actions of electrolysis and of the current flowing from a battery were the same. His work led him to propose that the elements of a chemical compound were held together by electrical forces. He wrote:
"In the present state of our knowledge, it would be useless to attempt to speculate on the remote cause of the electrical energy; its relation to chemical affinity is, however, sufficiently evident. May it not be identical with it, and an essential property of matter?"
In 1802 Gian Domenico Romagnosi discovered that the magnetic needle of his compass moved when he placed a wire connected to a battery near it. The results were not noticed because they were published in a small newspaper.
Some materials stored magnetic energy that made them a semi permanent magnet (loadstone). Some records show that in the eleventh century the Chinese were heating iron to a red hot temperature before placing it a north-south direction during cooling to produce a man made magnet.
Gen. Horatio Gates wrote to President Thomas Jefferson, July 18, 1803. "Let the Land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a Song." The Louisiana Purchase was the greatest real estate deal in history. In 1803 the United States paid Napoleon's France $15 million for 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. This purchase made the United States one of the largest nations in the world. The city of Atlanta and the ports of Savanna and New Orleans began their steady growth in the south. King cotton had room to grow. This new territory gave the occupiers the legal right to kick out more native Americans. Men of substance were in control of all the power of government and the "one person one vote" was a sham.
Robert Fulton sailed up the Hudson River in 1807 using a steam driven ship.
Davy's first success in producing pure metal using electricity came in 1804 with the production of potassium from molten potash. Davy continued his work and produced sodium from common table salt. Chemist then had sodium and other reactive metals to reduce other oxides and separate other metals.
The Creator's pecking order of the elements has some "believe it or not" features. Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements and its best reducer. Oxygen is sixteen times heavier and its best oxidizer. Combined they burn and become water with enough energy to lift their weight 1000 miles.
In1808 Davy demonstrated that high voltage produced a brilliant arc between two carbon rods. He was able to sustain an arc four inches long. The carbon rods he used were charcoal cut out of carbonized wood and were rapidly consumed. In an attempt to solve this problem he mixed powdered charcoal with thick tar to make carbon rods that were compacted before baking in an oven.
There is no evidence that he considered using this as an arc lamp even though some history books record that he invented the arc lamp. The electric age began the race to produce a better carbon to use with electricity and later the use of electricity to produce a better carbon.
Davy was the first to demonstrate that a current flowing through a thin wire (filament) became hot enough to produce light.
There is no evidence that he considered using this as a light.
An explosion in his laboratory while trying to prove that chlorine gas was an element temporarily blinded Davy. In 1811 he hired Michael Faraday as an assistant to carry on his work. Davy twice opposed the election of Faraday to a fellowship in the Royal Society. At one point he objected to honoring Faraday for achieving the first liquefaction of chlorine, claiming that he deserved the credit. Another time his opposition was due to his belief that William Wollaston had preceded Faraday in discovering electromagnetic rotation.
The French Revolution and its aftermath placed Kings at risk all over Europe. The Czar in Russia sent people who opposed him to the harsh prison camps of Siberia. Napoleon's first defeat was in Egypt where he wanted to become the second Alexandra the Great. His purpose was to cut off England's trade route to India. He stopped looking south and decided that Russia would be his prize. On June 24, 1812 he invaded Russia with a force of one-half million men.
"I have come to finish off, once and for all, the Colossus of Northern Barbarism. The sword is drawn. They must be thrust back into their snow and ice, so that for a quarter of a century at least they will not be able to interfere with civilized Europe."
Napoleon's army found that all the houses, foods, and fields of grain had been burned before the Russians retreated. In September 1812 Napoleon captured Moscow and found only a few thousand Russians. Facing the Russian winter without supplies Napoleon was forced to retreat.
Two Books written by Leo Tolstoy are a must read for anyone wanting to understand why the Communist revolution took place. The first is War and Peace and the second is Anna Karenina. These books are a hard read in the translation, but to a Russian his books made the reader's feelings tingle, because he captured the very heart of the Russian soul in his words. The movies based on these books reflect America's view of this period, but they miss their critical points. This very popular writer planted the seeds for the revolution.
The Grand Duchy of Warsaw was killed during the retreat from Moscow in November 1812 where Polish troops had taken a prominent part in the invasion of Russia. After Russia occupied Warsaw a new constitution was signed and the kingdom of Poland was united to Russia. Roman Catholicism was recognized as the religion of the state. The new united Russia had the largest population of Jews in the world. This was to become The Jewish Problem for the Czars.
The War of 1812 declared against Britain by the young United States failed to capture Canada and became one of the forgotten wars. The British army was successfully stopped when they attempted to capture Baltimore and New Orleans. On December 24, 1815 the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the war. The war confirmed the United States as a nation.
In 1812 Simeon Denis Poisson described electrification as the separation of the two kinds of electricity. He also pointed out the usefulness of the positive and negative function for electrical systems.
In 1813 George Stephenson (English) built the first practical steam-driven railroad locomotive. The age of building railroads across parts of America and Europe would soon begin with a fever.
Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 and King Louis XVIII was returned to the throne. The French revolution was put on hold but the idea for communism remained in many minds.
Using the new battery Baron Jons Jakob Berzelius discovered cerium, selenium, and thorium, silicon, zirconium, and titanium. He created the chemical notation system that is still used.
Silicon metal would become the backbone of the electronics and electrical industry in the late 1900's.
Hans Christian Oersted placed a wire with flowing battery current over and parallel to a magnetic needle. On July 21, 1820 he published his observations. This publication also announced that an electric current in a conductor created a circular magnetic field around the conductor.
The connection between magnetism and electricity was confirmed. If an electrical field moved a magnetic needle then moving a magnetic needle would produce an electrical field. It was now only a matter of time before man would produce electricity.
In the same year AndrŽ Marie Ampre heard of the work of the Oersted. His paper on the subject was presented to the AcadŽmie des Sciences shortly afterwards. He applied mathematical formulas to the reactions between magnets and electric currents that formed the basis for the science of electrodynamics. He invented the needle that led to the development of the galvanometer.
The "astatic needle" was constructed by using two magnetic needles pointing in opposite directions on the same shaft to eliminate the effect of the earth's magnetic field. Some records give the credit for this to Ampere and some to give it to the Italian Leopoldo Nobili.
During the same period Jean Baptiste Biot and Felix Savart devised the formula for the strength of the magnetic effect produced by a short segment of current carrying wire.
J.S.C. Schweigger studied the Oersted experiment in 1821 and found that if he wrapped the current carrying wire into a coil around the magnet needle the deflection was greatly increased. This discovery opened the door for the future of the electromagnet, telegraph, solenoid coil and later the transformer. James Cumming used the solenoid idea to make an instrument to detect the flow of electric current that was named the Galvanometer.
In 1821 Faraday was asked to write an historical account of electromagnetism for the Annals of Philosophy. He repeated all the important experiments on the subject and became convinced that he should be able to produce a continuos circular motion by using a circular magnetic force around a wire. He preformed two very simple experiments that used two mercury filled basins with a fixed magnet mounted in one basin and a free magnet in the other. He completed the circuit using a battery with a conductor in the mercury that could rotate around the fixed magnet and a fixed conductor in the mercury filled basin with the free magnet. To his delight he recorded that the magnet moved in circles around the wire as current flowed. Using another connection he was able to show that the free conductor moved in circles around the magnet. This could be called the first electric motor.
A British mathematician, Peter Barrow, built the first electromagnetic engine in 1821. His star shaped wheel was mounted between the poles of a horseshoe magnet. The wheel dipped into a pool of mercury and when current flowed between the center of the wheel and the mercury the wheel rotated.
In 1823 Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that the junctions of two different metals produced a current when heated to different temperatures. This became the basis of a thermocouple and when many units were connected they were called a thermopile.
The first known electromagnet was constructed in 1823 when William Sturgeon wrapped wires connected to a battery around an iron bar bent in the shape of a horseshoe.
This shape brings places the north and south poles of the magnet near each other. I have not found records that show permanent magnets constructed in this shape at an earlier date. Perhaps Coulomb used this shape in 1785 in his detailed studies of magnetic forces.
In 1824 Dominique Franois Jean Arago recorded that a magnet mounted on a pivot turned as he rotated another magnet around it.
The results of experiment were not spectacular or even unexpected. Mankind had surely observed this reaction of loadstones for centuries. This was the essence of the induction motor patented by Tesla in 1888.
Oersted successfully isolated aluminum in a pure form in 1825.
While useful for some purposes it was too expensive. Mass production would have to wait until there was a large amount of cheap electricity.
In 1825 Faraday attempted to prove that current flowing through one wire could cause a current in another wire. He used two wires three foot long separated by a thin paper. One wire was connected to a battery and the other to a galvanometer but he observed nothing.
Battery current does not induce from one wire to another.
Later that year Arago recorded that turning a copper plate under a compass caused the needle to move in the direction of rotation.
Georg Simon Ohm began his study of electric currents flowing through conductors in 1827 and published the results in German. He found that the current flowing through a circuit was proportional to the applied electromagnetic force and inversely proportional to the resistance. Current (I) is equal to the voltage (E) divided by the resistance (R) of the conductor in ohms. I=E/R has withstood the test of time.
Joseph Henry presented a paper on the electromagnets in October1827. His paper described a better and more powerful electromagnet that he produced. He did this by winding a magnet with about 400 tight turns of a wire 35 feet long. To prevent short-circuiting of the windings, he varnished the iron core and separated the turns of wire with silk thread to keep them from touching. Henry discovered that a single battery cell could be used to produce a magnet. He found that he could wind a parallel coil with another battery and so on. If batteries were connected in series he had to use a longer wire. He noted that too many turns reduced the power of magnet.
Henry did not understand Ohm's law but found the optimum by trial and error. His magnet consumed power when it lifted a weight. Power is volts times amperes. The conductor that carries current also consumes power. The amount of the loss in the conductor is determined by the resistance of the conductor times the length divided by the area. To carry more current the wire size must be increased or the voltage raised.
In 1828 George Green introduced the concept of potential and formulated what is now known as Green's Theorem relating to the surface and volume distributions of charge.
The first railroad in the United States was built in 1829 in Baltimore and quickly followed by one in Charleston. Using the Lewis and Clark route to the Pacific Ocean people traveled along wagon roads across Nebraska to the West Coast. People that talked about building a railroad to the Pacific were called dreamers. Very few thought it was possible to build such a road and still fewer believed that they would ever live to see it built.
In 1830 an Italian, Salvatore dal Negro, used the electromagnet to produce a rotary motion. He suspended a permanent magnet above an electromagnet using a rod connected to a shaft. On each oscillation a contact broke the circuit to give the swinging magnet another kick. The shaft was connected to a rack and pinion to convert the swing into rotation. This has been called the first electric motor but it was a toy.
In the summer of 1831 Henry published his "On a Reciprocating Motion Produced by Magnetic Attraction and Repulsion". The simple device was an electromagnet that could pivot on a horizontal axis. Its polarity was reversed automatically by its motion as two pairs of wires projecting from its ends made connections in mercury cups alternately with two batteries. Permanent magnets alternately attracted the ends of the electromagnet, making it rock back and forth at 75 times per minute. He wrote about his new motor in 1831."I have lately succeeded in producing motion in a little machine by a power, which, I believe, has never before been applied in mechanics - by magnetic attraction and repulsion. Not much importance, however, is attached to the invention, since the article, in its present state, can only be considered a philosophical toy; although, in the progress of discovery and invention, it is not impossible that the same principle, or some modification of it on a more extended scale, may hereafter be applied to some useful purpose."
Henry's colleague, Philip Ten Eyck, built the "Albany magnet" that supported a 750 pounds. Henry's paper describing this large electromagnet was published in the American Journal of Science in January1831. A few months later Henry built the "Yale magnet". With a core weighing 59 pounds, it supported the weight of 2,063 pounds.
After much thought Faraday decided to use the "Schweigger multiplier" (coil) to increase the intensity of his experiment that failed in 1825. He wound two multi layer wire coils around an iron ring about 36-inches in diameter. (A rough estimate from the photograph is about 1,000 foot of wire per coil).
The ends of the coils were very near each other. Beside the sketch in his notebook, where he labeled coils A and B, he recorded the following on August 29, 1831.
"Charged a battery of 10 pr of plates 4 inches square. Made the coil on B side one coil and connected its extremities by a copper wire passing to a distance and just over a magnetic needle. Then connected the ends of one of the pieces on the A side with battery. Immediately a sensible effect on the needle. It oscillated & settled at last in original position. On breaking connection of A side with battery again disturbance of the needle."
Faraday and others used the William Cruickshank battery for experiments during this period.
In his fiction Northrup who was born one year after Faraday's death in 1865 gave the credit to Faraday for the electrical age.
"In August 1831 Faraday established the principles of electromagnetic induction and the reaction between magnets and electric current-carrying conductors. Then followed the Electrical Age. But note that electricity is not power; it is only a distributor of power. There must be a prime mover to set electricity in motion: a chemical battery cell or an engine. When in motion it performs a function analogous to that of a leather belt. It transmits generated power from one place to another."
Almost every account of the history of electricity records this date as the discovery of magnetic induction. Even some record this as the invention of the transformer. It was neither. When the battery was connected to the coil this produced a surge and a spark at the contact point. The second coil was an extension of the galvanometer recording the transient condition. Battery current does not induce from one coil to another. Standing alone this experiment was meaningless.
This experiment did not produce electricity so he continued. On September 24, 1831 he arranged two bar magnets and a piece of soft iron in a triangle. Around the iron bar he wound a wire coil connected to a galvanometer. The needles moved as he pulled the iron away from the magnets. He recorded the following in his journal. "Hence here distinct conversion of magnetism into electricity." This was the first recorded production of electricity by moving a conductor in a magnetic field.
On October 17, 1831 he wound wire coils connected to a galvanometer around a two inch cardboard tube about ten inches long. He produced an electrical current by sliding a magnet into the tube. This was the first device that could have produced alternating current.
A magnet has north and south poles. In simple terms these poles are the positive and negative of the magnetic forces. When the magnet was pushed into the coil the current started at zero and built to a peak of positive when the magnet was at the center of the coil and returned to zero as the magnet was at the end of the coil. On the return stroke the same current was generated in the opposite potential. If plotted on a graph paper it is a "s" shaped curve known as the sine wave.
The magnet was the passive device in this experiment that provided the means to convert the energy of motion to the energy of electricity.
On October 28, 1831 Faraday rotated a copper disc between the poles of a horseshoe magnet. The horseshoe magnet appears to be two bar magnets connected at the bottom by cast lead. Faraday connected the galvanometer to wire brushes rubbing on the center and edge of the copper disc and observed an uninterrupted current produced by the motion of a conductor in a magnetic field.
This was magnetic induction and a crude DC motor in reverse.
Faraday described these experiments in a paper presented to the Royal Society on November 24,1831. This was the first part of his "Experimental researches into electricity" in which he gave his, "Law which governs the evolution of electricity by magneto-electric induction". Later Faraday built an electromagnet to study magnetic fields.
Three months after Faraday published his work on induction Joseph Henry was devastated by what he read. Almost one year earlier he claimed he had observed induction but was reluctant to publish until he was absolutely sure of his findings. America needed a man of Henry's caliber to offset European criticism of the lack of culture and science in the New World. Americans did not sympathize with Henry when he finally published. The press called him a copycat.
Henry reminds me of a joke that came in my e-mail. A young beaver was at the bottom of the Hoover Dam with his grandfather looking things over. The young beaver asked, "Grandpa did you build that?" The answer was, "No, but it was based on my idea."
In 1832, after the publication of Faraday's experiments, Hippolyte Pixii (Italian) constructed a device in which a rotating permanent magnet induced an alternating current in the field coils of a stationary horseshoe electromagnet. This was the first machine to use the coil configuration so the output as compared to the Faraday single conductor was multiplied by the number of turns in the coil. Pixii called it a "magnetoelectric" machine.
This hand-cranked device produced an alternating current with a frequency in proportion to the speed of rotation. Assuming a speed of 120 revolutions per minute the output frequency of 2-cycles per second.
The purpose of the Pixii generator was to experiment with the decomposition of water. It did not work as planned because with alternating current the hydrogen and oxygen evolved from the surface were mixed. To solve this problem Ampre suggested a crude commutator to convert the alternating current into direct current. The "see-saw" switch worked mechanically from the shaft so for one half of a revolution the output wire was in a mercury bath and for the other half of the revolution a spring pushed it out. This produced a half cycle with the current flowing only in the positive mode.
Pixii later connected his machine with more turns to a lathe at 600 revolutions per minute producing 10 half cycles per second and enough power to separate hydrogen from oxygen. It was a toy compared to batteries of the time but it found a use in the study of electricity.
In 1832 Faraday completed a series of experiments to confirm that battery current, thermocouple current, static current, generated current all had the same properties. His meter was the measurement of the volume of hydrogen and oxygen decomposed by the electric force.
In 1834 Thomas Davenport, a Vermont blacksmith, constructed an electric motor that had all the essential elements of today's motor including a rotating armature, field magnets, and a commutator. He was issued US patent 252,644 in 1837.
The English scientist Sir William Snow Harris constructed a device for measuring the attractive forces between two charged discs in 1834. This device was later improved by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) in 1855 to become an effective voltmeter.
An important milestone in the use of electricity was in 1836 when John Fredric Daniell produced a battery that did not polarize. The Daniell cell used two fluids in different chambers with one containing a zinc plate in sulfuric acid and the other contained a copper plate in a copper sulfate solution. This cell did not release hydrogen as the flow of electrons came from the acid dissolving the lead and the deposit of copper from the copper sulfate on the copper plate.
An American, Charles G. Page, was issued US patent number 252,673 for the "induction coil" in 1838.
When an alternating current is applied to a coil it is a transformer. Any conductor of the correct size and resistance for the applied alternating frequency will have a flowing current in it when placed in the magnetic field of the coil.
The principle of reversing electrolysis using oxygen and hydrogen was first demonstrated in 1839 by Welsh scientist and later a justice of the High Court Sir William Grove.
Producing electricity by this method would not be used until space age requirements needed a fuel cell in the 1960's.
By the late 1830's scientist and tinkers and many countries experimented with the magnet and electromagnet engine. The new Daniell battery was simple and not too expensive so big devises could be tested. There were hundreds of the machines built and some were magnificent.
Professor Moritz Hermann Jacobi, Russia, constructed an electric motor in 1839. It was used to drive a boat using a large number of battery cells. It carried 14 passengers at a speed of three miles per hour. Robert Davidson of Scotland used the same type system to drive an electric railway car 16 feet long that weighed six tons at four miles per hour.
In 1840 Emil Stohrer constructed a multipole magneto-electric generator using three horseshoe permanent magnets with six coils in the rotating armature with wires arranged so he could hook one, two or three coils in series. Stohrer could have hooked up the outputs for three-phase but he was trying to make a better magneto for electrolysis.
One year later Sir Charles Wheatstone patented a magnetoelectric machine whose output was "not to be distinguished from a perfectly continuous current". He planned to use his new machine to replace the battery. He used five magnets to produce five waves and when converted to DC produced a battery like current.
There was no instrument to observe the shape of the current in the waveform until near the end of the 1800's. Scientists used very sensitive galvanometers during this time to compare the smoothest output.
In 1842 Henry observed that he could magnetize needles in a basement with an electric spark from two floors above. Henry compared the effect with the generation of light and foresaw microwaves.
Wheatstone presented a paper to the Royal Society in 1843 described an instrument he called the "Differential Resistance Measurer" based on a circuit discovered by S.H. Christie earlier. This circuit was later named the Wheatstone Bridge. Christie observed that he had different readings on the galvanometer when he plunged and withdrew a magnet from an iron and copper coil. He sought to understand the reason and devised the circuit for measurements. Wheatstone built a better circuit using an "astatic needle" and a microscope for more precision in the reading.
Another milestone in boosting the output of current-generating equipment was the substitution of electromagnets for the permanent magnet, patented by in 1845 Wheatstone started using electromagnets in his telegraph magneto. The idea did not catch on because permanent magnets were used for another twenty years.
During this time period water gas was burned for lighting and fuel for some industrial and laboratory furnaces. Water gas was produced when water was sprayed into a furnace containing very hot coal or charcoal. During the process a small amount of free carbon was released and this coated on the stacks as glaze carbon. This pyrolitic carbon was limited but very useful for experimenters as elements in battery fed electric furnaces. The first patent for the production of carbon electrodes from pulverized coke and sugar was issued in 1846. Pyrolitic graphite was on the export control list when it was first issued in 1979.
Samuel Findlay Breeze Morse did not understand the basic principles of electricity but began the search for a practical telegraph to win the $30,000 prize offered by Congress for a thousand-mile system. Leonard Gale saw one of Morse's gadgets and offered to help him. From Henry's papers he showed Morse how to insulate the windings of his electromagnets and how to arrange the battery circuit.
Morse traveled to Princeton to obtain Henry's advice where he learned that a single battery could not send a signal over a distance. The workable solution was the "Henry relay". Stephen Vail agreed to invest $2000 if Morse would hire his son. Alfred Vail completed the final form of Morse's code and designed the famous telegraph key. He perfected the machine in compact form and invented the printing telegraph that was patented in Morse's name. Hard times came in 1837 dashed Morse's hopes of financial aid from the government. He traveled to Europe to secure patent protection. In England Wheatstone had already invented the electromagnetic telegraph. Russia's Baron Schilling had beaten Morse to the punch. In Europe Morse was told that the device could be found at any railroad station. In 1840 Morse was issued a US patent for his telegraph system.
The dots and dashes later became the worldwide system for communications. The famous, SOS, May Day distress signal was finally abandoned in February 1999 by international agreement.
The industrial revolution shifted the balance of power. The rulers that had controlled the masses living from the soil now had the landlords of the growing factories to contend with. British monarchy under Victoria lost some power in 1841 when a general election for the first time selected a Prime Minister. The monarchy in France was almost powerless.
Nicholas I in Russia was increasing the absolute power of the monarchy in military and civil areas using brutal means. The "Pale of Settlement" area where Jews were allowed to live was enlarged. In this area the Jews were approximately one-ninth of the population. As their number increased due to the high birth rate and better medical care there was growing poverty. The Jews were better educated and the number of artisans was three times higher than the general population. Although the government encouraged Jews to engage in agriculture, the special settlements allotted for this purpose in Southern Russia could not absorb the tens of thousands who were driven out of the villages.
Although Jews were allowed to enter general schools, not many did because instructions were given in Polish, Russian or German but not in Yiddish, which was by far the most widely spoken. From 1844 onward, special schools for Jews were established with the purpose of bringing them "nearer to the Christians and to uproot their religion. The number of students attending the Jewish State schools was very small. Some entered the mainstream of the Russian intelligentsia, and in this respect the schools fulfilled their purpose. A number of these students later joined the protest movement against the oppressive regime.
In America ladies and gentleman were enjoying their Victorian life while their slaves grew tobacco and cotton. The American West was opening up with law and order becoming a casualty. Jacksonian democracy was spreading with a mounting interest in politics by the common man in the north. Spitting of tobacco in public was common in the recklessness and fast developing country. Railroad collisions and steamboat explosions were frequent. Dueling and lynching became common. Law was undependable, so Bowie knives and pistols became the law of the land. Coal was fast becoming the fuel the fuel of choice to make steam throughout the industrial world and immigrants poured into Pennsylvania to dig the black gold.
By mid century scientists agreed that electricity was a common force and began to define it. Many investigators began to search for a unified field theory to demonstrate the essential unity of all natural forces. James Prescott Joule demonstrated in 1843 that heat behaved similarly with respect to the conservation of energy, and when Faraday explored the rotation of the plane of polarization of light by magnetism in 1845.
In 1846 Sir William Grove wrote "On the Correlation of Physical Forces" as a statement of conservation of energy. His views on the interchangeability of forces led him to question the role of cause and effect. He was the first to record hysteresis heating in iron when poles of an electromagnet were reversed by an alternating current.
A simple model defines the molecules of iron as small magnets that heat by friction as the magnetic field reverses direction when AC current is used.
Faraday experimented with diamagnetism and recorded that some materials turned across the lines of magnetic force while others aligned with the field. This was the first journal entry where the term "magnetic field" was used. He also suggested that light might be a disturbance of lines of electric or magnetic force.
Darwin's theory of evolution was being debated at the time. The majority of the scientists held to the "creation" theory taught by religions. Magnetic force that generated electricity was considered "a force from afar". Faraday continued his argument that the field was local to the magnet and the electrical energy came from the work of the motion.
Faraday is credited with moving the age of science out of the metaphysical age to one of observation and reasoning.
Congress declared was on Mexico in 1846 and in 1848 a treaty was signed to settle border disputes. "Remember the Alamo" was the cry after the legendary Jim Bowie and Davy Crocket lost the battle at the Alamo in 1836. The Texas area was the property of Mexico due an agreement reached with the Spanish that gave Florida to the States. Americans living in the area were illegal aliens.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, German Socialists, attended a meeting of the Communist League in 1847 and were commissioned to write for publication a detailed theoretical and practical program for the Party. This small group was founded based on ideas for a new form of government that came out of the French Revolution. The name came from "commune" that was used to describe small cells of local government that had existed in Europe for several centuries. The Manifesto that was produced called for "workers of the world to unite" and to replace all existing private ownership of property of the Bourgeoisie with common ownership of the Proletariat. Marx defined the Bourgeoisie as capitalists and the Proletariat as the working man.
An act of Congress in 1846 established the Smithsonian Institution using the proceeds from a will of the estate of an Englishman, James Smithson, for "an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Joseph Henry was named as the first Secretary.
The museums of the world store archives that have proved useful in finding the documents and pictures for this essay. I have found conflicts between the records that have led writers to tell different stories about the history of electricity. Truth is hard to find. Beware of entries on the Internet!
In 1847 L.BrŽguet (Paris) produced the Jamin magnet. Thin sheets of iron were magnetized separately and stacked in a horseshoe shape. This method produced a magnet much stronger than others had to date.
Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company founded in Berlin by Werner Ernst von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske on October 1, 1847. His brother Carl Wilhem Siemens was already in England promoting electroplating. Years later he would become a British citizen and be knighted Lord William Siemens. Another brother, Carl, settled in Russia to set up the Siemens telegraph system in greater Russia.
After years of conflict in December1848 the Second French Republic was formed with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as the constitutional president. Marx was deported from France shortly afterwards.
"Go West young man" was the cry when Gold was discovered in California in 1849. That year the United States Commissioner of Patents, Thomas Ewbank, included in his annual report some thoughts on the subject of electric motors.
"The belief is a growing one that electricity, in one or more of its manifestations, is ordained to affect the mightiest of revolutions in human affairs. When, in addition to what it is now performing as a messenger it can be drawn rapidly from its hiding place, and made to propel land and water chariots then we may begin to think the genius of civilization is vaulting rapidly toward the zenith.
But these experiments, interesting as they certainly were, have brought no marked results, nor afforded any high degree of encouragement to proceed. It might be imprudent to assert that electromagnetism can never supersede steam; still, in the present state of electrical science the desideratum is rather to be hoped for than expected. Great, however, will be his glory who in the face of these discouragements succeeds."
In 1850 the Philosophical Magazine noted that "One grain of coal consumed in the furnace of a Cornish engine lifted 143 pounds one foot, whereas one grain of zinc consumed in a battery lifted only eighty pounds. The cost of one hundred weight of coal is under nine pence, the cost of one hundred weight of zinc is above 216 pence, therefore under the most favorable conditions, the magnetic power must be nearly twenty-five times more expensive than steam power. The conclusions being that the attention of engineers and experimentalists should be turned at present, not to contriving more perfect ways for applying electromagnetic power but to the discovery of more effectual means of disengaging the power itself from the conditions in which it exists stored up in nature."
Morse's partner Alfred N. Vail observed that a spiral coil of wire pulled a soft iron core into its center with considerable force when an electric current was applied.
Page observed the centering of soft iron in a solenoid coil and came up with the idea of using that force in an electric motor. Metals like iron, nickel and cobalt are magnetized when placed in a magnetic field. These metals move to the center of the magnetic field until the two ends are equal in magnitude but in opposite directions so as to cancel.
In 1850 Vail constructed a machine that developed over 10 horsepower. Congress appropriated money for Page to construct an electric locomotive and send it on an experimental trip from Washington, DC, to Bladensburg, MD, on April 29, 1851. The battery powered solenoid engine reached a speed of 19 miles per hour on level ground. Page wanted more money to build large ship motors but Congress refused.
Page's workshop and models were destroyed by Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Hundreds of fantastic electromagnetic machines were built during this period and they all were commercial failures.
In 1850 Morse opened a telegraph line between New York and Philadelphia.
The corner stones had been laid for the understanding of electricity in the first half of the century. Most of the electric gadgets that had been build were useless but they taught the elementary use of conductors, insulation, coils, capacitors, resistors, and iron for the upcoming electrical revolution.
Application of the telegraphs instant means of communications sparked the rapid information age. This was the catalyst that provided the funds for the study of whole electromagnetic spectrum.
In 1850 a right of way one-mile wide from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean was given to those who would build a railroad. States began to argue over where the rails should be laid. The dispute was fierce It appeared that no road would be built because the states would never agree on its route. During this period rails were being laid and trains were operating in much of the east.
The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled differences between the North and South over states' rights and the extension of slavery. California was admitted to the Union as a free state and the territories of Utah and New Mexico were permitted to practice slavery.
Russia had sought a warm water port in the south for centuries. During the 1850's Czar Nicholas attempted to accomplish this by splitting the Ottoman Empire. The result was the Crimean War in which Russia suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of a coalition of Great Britain and Turkey. The Czar blamed the Poles and Jews in the army for his defeat and began to punish them.
Floris Nollet, in Brussels, first demonstrated the use of generated electric power for lighting in a round about way. In 1850 he patented a magneto-electric generator driven by steam power that decomposed water into hydrogen and oxygen. Burning hydrogen with oxygen in the presence of lime produced a brilliant light that was used for theater stage lighting. Thus; "To be in the limelight."
Battery circuit interrupters for the purpose alternating magnetic poles were used to produce sparks for the medical profession. It was found that these crude AC currents could be transformed into high voltage. The first patent for an alternating current transformer was issued in 1851 to Heinrich D. Ruhmkorff.
A transformer is a device that increases or decreases the voltage of alternating current. Alternating current is electric current that is produced by moving a conductor through the north/south poles of a magnetic field.
In 1851 Lord Kelvin published the paper, "On the Dynamical Theory of Heat". This work contained his ideas and version of the second law of thermodynamics as well as recognition of James Joule's idea of the mechanical equivalent of heat.
It was in 1724 that Gabriel Fahrenheit, an instrument maker in Amsterdam, calibrated the scale of a mercury thermometer. He marked zero as the coldest temperature he could find, 30 as the melting point of ice and 96 as the temperature of a healthy man. Using this scale he determined that water boiled at 212. To keep the span at 180 he moved the freezing point of water to 32. In 1745, Carolus Linnaeus made a scale in which the freezing point of water was zero, and the boiling point 100, making it a centigrade scale. Anders Celsius used the reverse scale in which 100 represented the freezing point and zero the boiling point of water. Looks like politics got his name related to this system.
Kelvin made calculations using the relationship of temperature to the volume or pressure of gases. He set Absolute Zero using the Celsius scale with the freezing point of water at 273 degrees absolute. This became the Kelvin scale. He started work in 1854 on the project to lay transatlantic telegraph cables. His idea was that electrical current flow was similar to heat flow and by applying this logic he helped in the problem of transmitting electrical signals over long distances.
Kelvin's publications about electricity later led EH Hall to search for the third direction voltage that became the "Hall effect".
Every encyclopedia has the Hall effect described but not one of them has his photo image. FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU CAN SEE HIS MUG SHOT.
By the year 2000 I was on a roll searching for the truth and thought Hall was my Gold Mine. http://www.ioa.com/~zero/343-RobertsHallEffect.htm
Kelvin's observations that a spark could be maintained using a battery and a capacitor led Maxwell to predict radio waves and Tesla to his spark gap Tesla coil. The Queen gave Kelvin a reward for his work in electricity but it was really the fortunes he made in the underwater cable business that allowed him to become a Lord.
William Talbot patented the first linear motor in 1852. He used a row of horseshoe electromagnets that were energized successively to make an iron cylinder to roll across them. This was an improvement on a Wheatstone device built in 1841 that is in a museum.
Northrup experimented with large linear motors. His fiction, Zero to Eighty, uses these ideas to travel to the moon and return. Another kind of linear and levitation devices are detailed at:http://www.coilgun.info/home.htm
In 1855 Joseph Wilson Swan, a British chemist, completed his studies for the production of a thin carbon conductor that could be used as the element for the incandescent lamp. About thirty years ahead of Edison in 1848 he carbonized paper by packing strips in charcoal powder and heating them in a fireclay crucible in a pottery kiln.
Swan mounted these carbon filaments in a glass container closed with a rubber stopper through which the conductors were passed. The air was removed using a piston pump. When a battery was connected the carbon became hot and produced light. Swan gave up because the vacuum pump did not remove enough air to keep the carbon from burning and because it was then public knowledge that battery power was too expensive.
The first carbon-carbon products were produced when he used syrup, tar and other liquids on the paper that converted to carbon when heated.
In 1856 Siemens patented the H-armature for a generator he planned to use in his telegraph and electroplating businesses.
Wax impressions were made of small objects, such as coins and medals, and coated with a conducting carbon paste before electro-depositing metal.
In 1857 Englishman Fredrick Hale Holmes modified the Nollet dynamo design and used it in the South Foreland lighthouse near Dover, England. The machine weighed two tons and had 120 coils arranged in five rings of twenty-four. The rotor had thirty-six compound permanent magnets arranged on six discs. The output for the light was DC. Ten years later he built another for the Souter Point lighthouse that had 96 coils and eight discs that produced alternating current.
In 1859 Raimond Louis Gaston Plante produced the first lead and sulfuric acid storage battery.
Today the automobile battery is an improved version of the Plante cell but it works on the same principle. When the battery is not fully charged the acid dissolves the lead and free electrons are stored. When the lights are turned on these electrons flow through the wires and meet the resistance of the wires in the lamp that become enough to produce light. The car engine drives a generator that produces a flow of electrons into the acid that puts the lead back to be dissolved again when needed.
Salt was in critical supply at this time because of the increased demand for sodium chloride for electrolysis of sodium and the general increase in use for the growing chemical industry. New salt was usually found near "salt licks" where wild animals drank water. Deep drilling for salt led to the discovery of petroleum oil.
In 1859 the first seventy-five barrels per day oil gusher in the United States was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania. This oil was refined at the Samuel Kerr distillery that he built for the destructive distillation of bituminous shale to produce illuminating oils.
This new oil came just in time because the world's supply of whales could not keep up with the demands for lamp and lubricating oils. The plight of the whales as described in "Moby Dick" was printed in 1851.
In 1860 cotton and tobacco grown by the slave based labor force of the south was the primary export of the United States. From this cash southern gentlemen imported their goods from Europe. In order to improve the manufacturing economy of the north trade tariffs on imports were needed to cause the south to buy from the north. During his election campaign Abraham Lincoln promised to enact tariffs on imports.
This situation was the root cause of the Civil War. Slavery had not reached a high enough level of social outrage to cause the war.
After the election of Lincoln in January1861 the South Carolina legislature called a state convention and voted to remove the state from the union. The states of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina followed and formed the Confederate States of America. The northern states would not allow the union to be dissolved and a bloody war was started.
In Russia world and local opinion against slavery forced Czar Alexandra II to free the serfs in 1861. For Russian Jews this was a period of great expectations because the most oppressive measures against them were relaxed. On the first anniversary of Alexander's coronation the hated army draft system that required Jews to serve 25 years was repealed. Small groups of Jews were allowed to settle in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa where they started to participate in the intellectual and cultural life. The appearance of Jewish lawyers, journalists and businessmen in everyday life caused anti-Semitic feelings to grow.
In 1862 James Clerk Maxwell published his theoretical work on electricity and magnetism. He used Faraday's experiments to derive equations to describe electro-magnetic properties. "The amount of electricity produced by magnetism was equal to the rate of increase or decrease of the seminal (seed or originating) force." Maxwell proposed the existence of electro-magnetic waves traveling at the speed of light. In 1864 he presented what are now known as Maxwell's equations.
On April 9, 1865 the Confederate States agreed on the terms of surrender. Six days later President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth who was avenging the Confederate defeat.
The elimination of slavery in the USA and the elimination of a states right to withdraw from the union was the result of the Civil War. Freedom from slavery did not guarantee an equal chance and this continues to cause turmoil in the twentieth first century.