Do you remember the first time you received an electric shock?

Thread Starter

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,704
I will never forget the surprise I got when I received my first electrical shock.

At the time I was a little under 5 years old. We lived in California where the electric power is 120 VAC @ 60 Hz. We had a pop-up toaster on the kitchen counter upon which I often sat and sometimes gazed into the back of the AM table radio and admired the glowing vacuum tubes and watched the tuning capacitor, wondering how it changed stations.

One day morning my dad was making toast and when it was time for the toast to pop up, it got stuck, so my father got out a dinner knife and dug it out. Sometime later I was in the kitchen up on the counter next to the toaster with the dinner knife in my hand. I had failed to notice that my father had unplugged the toaster before using the knife...
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
2,350
I was in my early teens when I got my first electric shock. At the same time I learned the the Aquqdag coating on a TV CRT can hold a 25KV charge for quite a long time.
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
267
5-ish years old. I stuck my finger into the socket of a C7 night light. It felt like a bee had stung me. I also remember being awed by the burn marks made on the duplex receptacle when a poorly assembled repair plug popped because frayed/loose wires on the screws eventually touched and shorted.

Interesting to note that while those experiences did not turn me off to working with electricity, they DID make me more cautious.
 

panic mode

Joined Oct 10, 2011
2,129
5-ish....
overheard my mom talking about my year younger brother who was found trying to insert belt buckle pin into an extension cord.
got me wondering how electricity worked. couple of days later i was trying to see if a large AC motor that happened to be in the garage would move a little if connected to batteries. that seemed safe, i touched batteries before. so there i was using bare wires trying to make the connection... i saw a little spark but no motion was observed... but then the circuit was open and i got a jolt. got me wondering why would that happen after...
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,188
Old aluminum bodied electric drill in the early 60s. It was fine one-handed wearing Keds, but if you touched ground with the other hand, you got quite a tickle.
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,593
5 years old - 220V 50 Hz, playing trying to plug a Phillips radio (those with a magic eye).

My right hand had a strange reaction. Nowadays, branding a soldering iron or not, it does the same but the reason is quite another: essential tremor.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,642
I haven't considered this but your question set me to it.

First, why don't I remember it as a special thing. I think because I never played with mains voltages as a kid. I had some kind of natural concern about doing it. I knew I could get a shock so I avoided the receptacles. I must have been warned, and I was always very safety conscious for whatever reason.

I do recall my first significant shock, though. It wasn't terrible, just a surprise and a discovery. I was about 8 years old.I had a small transformer, probably a 12V center tap low current thing. I was playing around and I connected a 9V battery to the secondary through a toggle switch. I knew it changed voltages and, and that it worked in a ratio either way, and wanted to see if I could increase the battery voltage.

I don't recall what I was using as the load but I had twisted the wires and they wouldn't stay well so I held down the two twisted joints with one hand and operated the switch...

And jumped! I was very surprised and after a little experimentation I discovered that it only produced the higher voltage when I operated the switch, for a short time. I reasoned out that it had something to do with electromagnets because I knew how a transformer was made but I couldn't figure out how it worked.

It wasn't a very large shock but getting any shock from a 9V battery was... shocking.

I think maybe my caution around things that might hurt me stemmed from something I do remember my first of: self-inflicted burn. I was about 5 years old and fascinated by the car's cigarette lighter. I loved how if you pushed it in, it would pop out after a while.

My mother left me in the car to run into the store and I pushed it in, and it popped out. I puled it out and looked at the end. There was a fascinating spiral that was emitting a red glow. So, I curiously touched it. It took a moment to realize it was a terrible mistake. It left a smelly, spiral burn on my fingertip that hurt quite a bit. I put it back and never told anyone about the stupid thing I had done. It healed up of course.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
4,884
The earliest I remember was from about 12. I was playing with a transformer. Connected it to a D cell by holding the bare wires on with my fingers. Discovered inductive kick when I released it. The shock was mild enough that I kept experimenting with it.

Edited to add: On second thought, I had experienced static shocks many times before that.

Bob
 
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shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,370
Old aluminum bodied electric drill in the early 60s. It was fine one-handed wearing Keds, but if you touched ground with the other hand, you got quite a tickle.
That is the same one I remember, my old mans Homart(Sears low price tools) 1/4" drill.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,319
I was in my 20s and thought I was safe. I wasn’t even working on electricity. It’s a miracle that I’m still alive, as the shock went from one hand to the other.

I was working in a dug out dirt basement of a home built in the 1600s and remodeled and remodeled many times. The electrical wiring was run through armored cable. I was standing on a stool and holding onto a steam pipe for balance. I slightly toppled and grabbed the armored cable which was hit. I became paralyzed until I pulled my hand away from the steam pipe.

Yikes! The pain was intense and my hand was paralyzed for quite some time.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
4,884
Then there is the first, and only, shock that knocked me off my feet. I was about 17 and working on an unplugged tube TV and became a part of a capacitor discharge circuit. Have respected unpowered devices since then.

Bob
 
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