Who Discovered Electricity?

What is Electricity?

Electricity is a basic type of energy that can be seen in both forms negative and positive, natural and generated (like in lightning and a generator). It is represented in terms of the motion and connection of electrons.

What does Electricity Mean?

It was the Greeks who discovered electricity for the first time about 3000 years ago. Its name electricity is derived from the word “Elektron

which signifies Amber. Amber can be found in the sap of trees and it is a yellow-colored fossilized rock. Greeks discovered that lightweight objects such as straws and feathers stick to wool if they rub the wool on amber.

William Gilbert (24th May 1544)

William Gilbert was an English Physician in the United Kingdom. He has a keen interest in electricity and because of his eagerness, he started studying electricity. He used the term “electrics” for the first time in the year 1600. He used this term to describe the force that occurs when we rub two objects against one another. Gilbert’s creation of terminology is still in use today even after 400 years of his death. He is credited as the “Father of Electricity” because of his work and documentation of historical knowledge, and experiments, and because of his terminology. He is credited with the invention of the words electricity and electrical force, as well as the ideas of electrical attraction and magnetic poles.

Sir Thomas Browne(19th October 1605)

Sir Thomas was another scientist, an Englishman who was influenced by William Gilbert’s work conducted extensive research, and authored books on his discoveries. Both scientists have employed the term “Electricity” for the first time.

Benjamin Franklin (17th January 1706 )

The phenomenon of electricity is studied and discovered by many scientists but the real discovery of electricity is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. He experimented with his thoughts about natural electricity (lightning) with a kite and key on a stormy day in the year 1752. He proved that electricity and lightning have a relationship. He planned to fly a kite and tied a key with the string and as he was expecting he got an electric shock because of the travel of electricity from stormy clouds to the key.


After Franklin’s exploration and revelation of his experiment, several scientists pay to heed to exploring and comprehending the notion of electricity based on Franklin’s concept. Scientists found out that ancient people had done experiments and explored electricity several centuries before. In 600 BC, ancient Greeks discovered static electricity when they rubbed fur on Amber.


Alessandro Volta (18th February 1745)

Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist, also has some contributions to the field of electricity. He found out that some specific chemical reactions can generate electric current. In the year 1800, he became the first who built the voltaic pile and the first electric battery. He also invented the method of transmitting electricity.

Father of Electricity (22nd September 1791)

Michael Faraday is known as the “Father of Electricity”. He was born on September 22, 1791. Michael was the one who discovered electrolysis, diamagnetism, and electromagnetic induction. He came from a working-class family of blacksmiths. Inadequate financial assistance did not allow him to study further except for basic education. He worked at a book store where he developed his great interest in science and electricity which afterward escorted him to the discovery of electricity.

Michael Faraday invented the electric dynamo during the year 1831. This was the first actual practical use of electricity.


Joseph Swan (31st October 1828)

Thomas Edison (11 February 1847)

Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan were the scientists who started working on Benjamin Franklin’s ideas. They invented the incandescent electric bulb in their lands in the year 1878.  Later Swan and Edison worked jointly where Edison used his Direct Current System.

Nikola Tesla (10th July 1856)

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nikola Tesla made significant contributions to the development of commercialized electricity. He is also known for his work with Poly phase Distribution Systems, AC motors, and Alternating Current (AC).

George Westinghouse (6th October 1846)

After that American entrepreneur and inventor George worked on Tesla’s patented motor to produce Alternating Current. George with other scientists persuaded the American people that the electricity future is with AC instead of DC.

James Watt, a Scottish inventor, Andre Ampere, a French mathematician, and George Ohm, a German physicist and mathematician, were among those who contributed to the development of electrical use.

Thus, electricity was not discovered by a single person. Even though the idea of electricity had been around for thousands of years, it took several brilliant individuals working together to develop it both scientifically and commercially.

Prof.Fazal Rehman Shamil (Available for Professional Discussions)
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