History of electricity and electronics

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 2, 2015
Some thoughts, you continue with others and comment true or not

1. Luigi Galvani was dissecting frogs. He noticed that the frog's leg contracted on its own when touched with two different metals
1786 He had discovered the electric current
He thought it was a Vital force.

2. Alessandro Volta continues Galvani's studies and explains that it is a simple physical phenomenon. First "battery".
Instead of the multimeter used the leg of the frog

3.The word electron comes from amber.

4. Thomas Edison is expelled from school after only a few months because the teachers do not consider him good for school.
His mother educates him at home.

5.. Nikola Tesla a very good student drops out of college after having problems with gambling.
He becomes Edison's employee and Edison admits that he is his best employee.

Edison tells Tesla he's giving him $ 50,000 old equivalent to $ 1 million today if he repairs an electric generator on a ship in a timely manner.
Tesla doesn't sleep all night and repairs the generator.
Edison doesn't give him the promised money anymore, he tells him it was a joke he didn't understand.

Tesla leaves Edison's company and works digging ditches for $ 2 a day.

But digging ditches shines the idea of a DC motor and patents it

Tesla becomes rich again but dies in old age in great poverty.
The company he had made rich paid him the rent of a room and brought him food(milk)

Edison supported DC but this did not allow distances greater than a few km, miles of the city to hydropower plant Due to losses on the transport wires.
Tesla supported AC.
Edison pointed what does Tesla want to do (AC) can electric shock even an elephant.

Tesla tried to send the current even without wires. Wireless.

6. At the same time, an Italian Marconi was experimenting with radio transmission in England.
When Marconi filed his patent in the US, he was denied. Repeat what Tesla had done.

Now Edison intervenes with whom Tesla had quarreled

Edison supports Marconi with money to become the inventor of the radio


Joined Jan 27, 2019
You spent far too much time on Tesla and Edison and missed many other people including but not at all limited to:

Thales of Miletus
William Gilbert
Ewald Georg von Kleist
Benjamin Franklin
Hans Christian Ørsted
Michael Faraday
James Clerk Maxwell
Alexander Graham Bell
Oliver Heaviside
George Westinghouse
Heinrich Hertz
Albert Einstein
Edwin Armstrong

And there is no electronics in your history at all. The woefully incomplete list above touches on various points in the history of human development in both understanding and using electromagnetism. Galvani, Volta, Tesla, and Edison belong on the list, but they are not representative of the history alone, nor did they work in electronics at all.

Tesla invented the AC motor, Micheal Faraday invented the DC motor.


Joined Jan 27, 2019
I apologize if my post seemed a bit blunt or dismissive, that wasn't my intention. I have a problem (my own, not some objective thing) with the way that Tesla dominates the popular mind. The history of electricity and electronics has so many critical figures who contributed as much or more than Tesla.

Tesla's biggest contribution to our current technological world was certainly the AC motor. This is often treated as a side note with all of his speculative and impractical work featured and held up as "suppressed". He should have been treated better by Edison, to be sure, but he was no angel himself.

I didn't even have on the list I made: Oliver Lodge, Alexander Muirhead, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and so many others.

Anyway, I'm sincerely sorry if I came off harsh. Please accept my apology.
Last edited:


Joined Mar 19, 2019
An interesting read by an interesting person is "Much Ado About Almost Nothing: Man's Encounter with the Electron" by Hans Camenzind, father of the 555 timer chip.


Joined Aug 27, 2009
This is a name that's often forgotten. He was a 'giant' in the field of AC theory.
The Steinmetz’s (1893) paper that introduces the concept of
phasor was published only four years after presented and the
method developed in it, which Steinmetz named ‘symbolic
method’, remained unknown until 1897, when the author
published a book on the theory of circuits (Steinmetz 1897).
According to Steinmetz himself: ‘there was no money to publish in the Congress paper, and the paper remained unpublished for years, and the symbolic method unknown

Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. According to Scott, Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

Steinmetz, Scott wrote, responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator $1.

Knowing where to make mark $9,999.

Ford paid the bill.


Last edited:

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
Steinmetz was indeed an intellectual giant, undeterred by his physical handicaps.

His contributions to the understanding of electrical science greatly contributed to the AC current’s widespread adoption.


Joined Mar 9, 2011
The running theme in history is that those who make greatest contributions are often forgotten...

For example in genetics everyone knows Watson and Crick. How many know Oswald Avery who verified DNA as genetic material?


Joined Jul 18, 2013
I couldn't find a thumbs up big enough :cool:
That link to a previous post mentions Bletchley Park, where there were many names that are not remembered, Alan Turin is usually the one that is associated with that era.
But there was one that was the subject of a BBC documentary about Gordon Welchman, the forgotten genius.
There were Many others that went unremembered.


Joined Aug 27, 2009
That link to a previous post mentions Bletchley Park, where there were many names that are not remembered, Alan Turin is usually the one that is associated with that era.
But there was one that was the subject of a BBC documentary about Gordon Welchman, the forgotten genius.
There were Many others that went unremembered.
The work those guys did was incredible. Some of the High command German messages were encrypted not once, not twice but three times.

Last edited: