1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Timeline of Electronics


Benjamin Franklin Experiments With Kite

Benjamin Franklin Experiments With Kite & Lightening


600 B.C.

Thales of Miletus writes about amber becoming charged by rubbing - he was describing what we now call static electricity.


English scientist, William Gilbert first coined the term "electricity" from the Greek word for amber. Gilbert wrote about the electrification of many substances in his "De magnete, magneticisique corporibus". He also first used the terms electric force, magnetic pole, and electric attraction.


Otto von Guericke invented a machine that produced static electricity.


Robert Boyle discovered that electric force could be transmitted through a vacuum and observed attraction and repulsion.


Stephen Gray's discovery of the conduction of electricity.


Charles Francois du Fay discovered that electricity comes in two forms which he called resinous(-)and vitreous(+). Benjamin Franklin and Ebenezer Kinnersley later renamed the two forms as positive and negative.


Georg Von Kleist discovered that electricity was controllable. Dutch physicist, Pieter van Musschenbroek invented the "Leyden Jar" the first electrical capacitor. Leyden jars store static electricity.


Benjamin Franklin experiments with static charges in the air and theorized about the existence of an electrical fluid that could be composed of particles. William Watson discharged a Leyden jar through a circuit, that began the comprehension of current and circuit. Henry Cavendish started measuring the conductivity of different materials.


Benjamin Franklin invented the lightening rod - he demonstrated lightning was electricity.


Joseph Priestley discovered that electricity followed Newton's inverse-square law of gravity.


Italian physician, Luigi Galvani demonstrated what we now understand to be the electrical basis of nerve impulses when he made frog muscles twitch by jolting them with a spark from an electrostatic machine.


First electric battery invented by Alessandro Volta. Volta proved that electricity could travel over wires.


First energy utility in US founded.


Relationship of electricity and magnetism confirmed by Hans Christian Oersted who observed that electrical currents effected the needle on a compass and Marie Ampere, who discovered that a coil of wires acted like a magnet when a current is passed thorough it.

D. F. Arago invented the electromagnet.


First electric motor invented by Michael Faraday.


Ohms Law written by Georg Simon Ohm states that "conduction law that relates potential, current, and circuit resistance"


Joseph Henry's electromagnetic experiments lead to the concept of electrical inductance. Joseph Henry built one of the first electrical motors.


Principles of electromagnetism induction, generation and transmission discovered by Michael Faraday.


First industrial electric motors.


First fuel cell invented by Sir William Robert Grove, a Welsh judge, inventor and physicist.


J. P. Joule's law of electrical heating published.


James Clerk Maxwell wrote equations that described the electromagnetic field, and predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves traveling with the speed of light.


Edison Electric Light Co. (US) and American Electric and Illuminating (Canada) founded.


First commercial power station opens in San Francisco, uses Charles Brush generator and arc lights. First commercial arc lighting system installed, Cleveland, Ohio.

Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent lamp, Menlo Park, New Jersey.


First power system isolated from Edison.

In Grand Rapids Michigan: Charles Brush arc light dynamo driven by water turbine used to provide theater and storefront illumination.


Niagra Falls, New York; Charles Brush dynamo, connected to turbine in Quigley's flour mill lights city street lamps.


Edison Company opens Pearl Street power station.

The first hydroelectric power station opens in Wisconsin.


The electric transformer is invented. Thomas Edison introduces the "three-wire" transmission system.


Steam turbine invented by Charles Parsons.


William Stanley develops transformer and Alternating Current electric system. Frank Sprague builds first American transformer and demonstrates use of step up and step down transformers for long distance AC power transmission in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The Westinghouse Electric Company is organized. 40 to 50 water powered electric plants reported on line or under construction in the U.S. and Canada.


In San Bernadino, California, the High Grove Station, first hydroelectric plant in the West is opened.


Rotating field AC alternator invented by Nikola Tesla.


Oregon City Oregon, Willamette Falls station, first AC hydroelectric plant.

Single phase power transmitted 13 miles to Portland at 4,000 volts, stepped down to 50 volts for distribution.


60 cycle AC system introduced in U.S.


General Electric Company formed by the merger of Thomson-Houston and Edison General Electric.


Westinghouse demonstrates "universal system" of generation and distribution at Chicago exposition.

In Austin, Texas, the first dam designed specifically for hydroelectric power built across Colorado River is completed.


Electron discovered by J. J. Thomson.

Continue > 1900

  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Inventors
  4. Technology Timelines
  5. Electricity Milestones - Electronics Timeline

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.