Posted on Jan 24, 2018
Our own Bob Gifford told the story of electricity starting from Benjamin Franklin.  Below are a few of the inventions Bob highlighted for us. (The list if from the historical archive web site - I couldn't  take notes fast enough to keep up with Bob)

1752 By tying a key onto a kite string during a storm, Ben Franklin, proved that static electricity and lightning were the same.

1800 First electric battery invented by Alessandro Volta.

1808 Arc lamp invented by Humphry Davy.

1820 Separate experiments by Hans Christian Oersted, A.M. Ampere, and D.F.G. Arago confirmed the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

1821 The first electric motor was invented by Michael Faraday. (Bob didn't mention this but it very important)

1835 Joseph Henry invented the electrical relay, used to send electrical currents long distances.

1837 Thomas Davenport invented the electric motor, an invention that is used in most electrical appliances today.

1876 Charles Brush invented the “open coil” dynamo (or generator) that could produce a study current of electricity.

1879 After many experiments, Thomas Edison invented an incandescent light bulb that could be used for about 40 hours without burning out. By 1880 his bulbs could be used for 1200 hours.

1881 The electric streetcar was invented by E.W. v. Siemens

1882 Edward Johnson first put electric lights on a Christmas tree. (This wasn't in Bob's presentation but I couldn't leave it out.)

1883 Nikola Tesla invented the “Tesla coil”, a transformer that changes electricity from low voltage to high voltage making it easier to transport over long distances.

1893 The Westinghouse Electric Company used an alternating current (AC) system to light the Chicago World’s Fair.

Bob spoke of how Edison and Westinghouse battled to established their preferred approach.  Edison wanted DC distribution and Westinghouse preferred AC.  The AC approach won because it could distribute power much further with greater efficiency.

Bob then brought the discussion closer to home.  He noted that by 1900 Berrien County had an extensive urban rail system to provide transportation.  Power was also available for public lights. 

Bob had to pause his presentation here but promised to return with more local history of electricity through out the area.