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Power StrugglesScientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195829

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195829.001.0001

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Technological Transitions

Technological Transitions

(p.11) 2 Technological Transitions
Power Struggles

Michael Brian Schiffer

The MIT Press

This chapter describes the technological transitions from the invention of a multitude of electrical devices to “the first age of electricity.” It begins with a description of the different types of electrical inventions and devices that were the precursors of modern day electrical technology. Benjamin Franklin invented a lightning rod and two different types of electric motor; the works of Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta in the field of static electricity are described next. Galvani, an obstetrician, performed a number of experiments using small animals such as frogs to demonstrate that static electricity is present in the bodies of animals. The chapter concludes with a description of the contribution made by Humphry Davy in the field of galvanism.

Keywords:   electrical devices, Benjamin Franklin, lightning rod, electric motor, Luigi Galvani, Alessandro Volta, static electricity, galvanism, Humphry Davy

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