The Complete History of Electricity |

The History of Electricity from Ben Franklin through Today

When a show or movie falls into the apocalyptic genre, one of the first luxuries to go is electricity. Why? Probably because this is one of the most common luxuries that people take for granted.

Being able to flip on a switch and generate light instantly took time.

Every moment of electricity that we have today began from one person, or a group of people, working tirelessly to make it happen. Now, we live in an era with electric cars, heating and cooling systems, and we’re able to turn lights on and off with our phones. While all these advancements in society have been innovative and extraordinary, it is important to remember that all these moments started from a singular moment back in history. This is why we created the graphics below, to outline these extraordinary moments in history, and also to remember that we started small, but we’re always heading somewhere bigger.

Ben Franklin's kite was the first experiment in the history of electricity.
Pavel Yablochkov was the first to use electricity in streetlights.
Nikola Tesla was a pioneer in the history of electricity.
The IBEW was the first major electricity union.
Peter Hewitt invented the first fluorescent lamp in electricity history.
Joseph Swan invented the first incandescent bulb in electricity history.
Thomas Edison is often credited as the father of modern electricity in history.
A power plant from 1919 in the history of electricity.
Nuclear power revolutionized the history of electricity.
Nick Holonyak invented the first LED in electricity history.

These colorized graphics take a walk through the history of electricity, beginning with Benjamin Franklin discovering electricity through lightning, all the way to Nick Holonyak Jr.’s more modern invention of the LED light. All of these moments outline an important discovery, and when comparing these inventions to today’s innovations, it’s fascinating to see how far we’ve advanced in such a short time.

Through these discoveries we are able to light entire buildings, power our cars, and heat and cool our houses. Electricity is a major factor into how we function in society. As you can see through this timeline, discovering new ways to use electricity did not take as long as you think.

Imagine the advancements we will see in the future if we keep finding new ways to use electricity.